homemade bread and croutons

Around the same time that I was reading Silverstone’s Kind Diet, Elli Metz was sharing her thoughts about Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Her post made me get up and check the label on my favorite store-bought bread. It didn’t have 32 ingredients, but it did have 16, most of which I couldn’t pronounce.

I decided to pull out my bread machine and we’ve been eating homemade ever since. When I bake bread in the oven, I use the Artisan Bread recipe and make small loaves. It’s too hot in my kitchen during the summer months to use the oven, and the bread machine makes such large loaves. It’s hard to finish it before it goes stale.

One day last week I made a big batch of hummus and realized I had nothing for dipping. Then I thought: stale end of bread = croutons! I made mine really big and now I’ve also eliminated store-bought pita chips for snacks.

Thrifty Crispies (or just really big croutons)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a serrated knife, cut that stale hunk of bread into dipping-sized pieces. Watch your fingers! Depending on how much bread you have, put 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl and add some seasonings. I use a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Add the bread to the bowl and toss until lightly coated.

Place them single layer in a baking pan or cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Stir once and then bake the other side for 3-4 minutes. The time will depend on how big you cut your pieces. Don’t let them burn!

Cool and store in an air tight container.

These don’t last very long in our house. I like them with hummus, but my husband and daughter snack on them straight out of the container.

thrifting: I got my first bread machine on freecycle. It was a little dusty, but with some elbow grease, it cleaned up nicely. Plus, it was free! My current machine came from a garage sale and was a little pricey relatively speaking, but it matches my kitchen appliances. You can usually find them “as-is” at the thrift store for around $10.

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