Stop! Don't toss out that loaf of stale bread that's sitting on your counter. Instead, give it a new life by transforming it into shatteringly crisp croutons — it only takes a few minutes, and the results are far tastier than store-bought varieties. Whether you have half a loaf of bread leftover or only a few slices, the technique is simple and scalable.
Use Day-Old Bread If Possible
Day-old bread has lost some of its moisture and is sturdier, making for a better crouton.
Slice the Bread
For generous-size croutons, cut the bread into 1-inch slices.
Cube the Bread
Cut each slice into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip into 1-inch cubes. Alternatively, tear the bread into chunks that are roughly 1-inch by 1-inch.
Season the Bread
For every two slices worth of bread cubes, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the bread and toss with your hands to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt (the bread should taste slightly salty) and add fresh or dried herbs, if desired. For dried herbs (such as herbes de Provence), add 1/4 teaspoon per two slices worth of bread. For fresh herbs (such as minced thyme or rosemary), add 1/2 teaspoon per two slices worth of bread.
Toast Them Up
Cook on a half-sheet pan at 400°F for about 15 minutes or until crisp, shaking the pan halfway through cooking to ensure the croutons are cooking evenly.
If you want smaller croutons, adjust the slice width, cook time, and seasoning amounts accordingly. The size of the croutons isn't crucial — what's more important is that they are similarly sized for even cooking.