Why You Should Stop Cutting Bread For Croutons

There's nothing like a loaf of bread that becomes stale enough to be repurposed in other culinary ways. Rather than feeding your trash bin with such a treasure, try making some bread pudding, spring stratas, or one of many classic gazpacho dishes. Not feeling too chef-y today? Many other home cooks feel the same way, which is why they take stale bread and transform it into savory croutons fit for soups, salads, and straight-up snacking.

A crouton, as MasterClass puts it, is made by taking small pieces of bread, seasoning them, and then cooking them, typically via baking or sautéing. Sure, you can use fresh bread, but it won't have that texture, that crispy bite that we all crave in croutons. To that, it's best to use days-old sourdough, Italian, or French boule bread, per Taste of Home, though you can also get creative and try your hand with pita bread or cornbread.

Let's say you've got your bread of choice, as well as some olive oil and spices, and you're ready to start slicing and chopping away. Not so fast! Put down that knife and take some advice from Cook's Country on how to achieve better with croutons with just your hands.

Tear away!

A knife is usually used to cut stale bread into small pieces for the ultimate homemade croutons. But Cook's Country believes that it's way better (and more fun) to use your hands to tear the bread apart.

Here's why. A knife will make croutons look a little too "perfect," with nice and neat edges. Using your hands will most likely result in imperfect pieces that look a little rough around the edges. As the source explains, you'll get a super crispy texture and more flavors of the salad dressing throughout the crouton due to its enhanced surface area. The Washington Post also supports this bread-tearing method because the resulting crispy textures will be offset by some softer areas of the crouton, which will elevate that whole mouth-feel experience.

All you have to do is take some bread and tear it away! You're aiming for small pieces that will (obviously) look like the size of a crouton. And if they don't look perfect, pat yourself on the back, because croutons look and taste better when their flaws are showing. After the tearing process is over, proceed as normal with your favorite crouton recipe. MasterClass suggests seasoning the bread pieces with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then baking them on a sheet pan for up to 10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next time you're making croutons, ditch the knife and use your hands to break, tear, and assemble some stale bread into crunchy pieces of magic.