Have you found yourself throwing away crusts from loaves of whole wheat, white, or any variety of bread – and feeling slightly guilty? Throw that guilt away instead, and save that leftover bread for future use. You can make bread crumbs for casseroles that call for flavored bread crumbs, or you can make flavored croutons to throw on top of salads, pasta dishes, or to give a new twist as a topping on casseroles.
To begin with, dedicate a large freezer bag that will be stored in your freezer where you can store leftover bread and crusts, keeping them frozen until needed. Once the bag is full, take a few minutes to make either bread crumbs or croutons.
How to Make Bread Crumbs:
- You will need: a blender and a storage container.
- While the bread is still frozen, break into small pieces (about 2” x 2”) for easier blending.
- Place a handful at a time into the blender and, on a high speed, blend the bread until the consistency of bread crumbs.
- Pour into a container and repeat until all the bread is crumbled.
- Store in the freezer for future use on casseroles.
How to Make Buttered Bread Crumbs:
- In a small bowl, melt about 2 T of butter.
- Stir in about 2 cups of frozen bread crumbs until coated.
- This is a perfect amount for a casserole in a 9” x 13” pan.
How to Make Croutons:
- You will need: bread knife, cutting board, and cookie sheet.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- While the bread is still frozen, cut into 1/2” to 1” cubes.
- Place cubes, in a single layer, on a greased cookie sheet and place in oven.
- Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until croutons crisp up.
How to Make Flavored Croutons:
- Place about 2 cups of cubed bread into a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup olive oil, 1 t garlic powder, dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle over cubed bread and toss.
- Bake as above.
With both bread crumbs and croutons, creativity is always possible. When making the flavored bread crumbs, you can add powdered spices such as garlic, a touch of cayenne, or onion, or herbs such as dried parsley or oregano, mixed in the melted butter before tossing with the crumbs. When making the flavored croutons, the same spices and herbs can be used.
Experiment and find the mix you and your family likes.