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I've made homemade croutons a few times now and experimented with using more or less olive oil and cooking shorter/longer.

My first batch was the best tasting, however they were a little chewy inside, which is great if that's what you're going for, but I want them to be consistently crunchy throughout.

I wondered after first batch if I used more olive oil if it would soak in more and cause the inside to cook more like the outside. I tried but I also was experimenting with temp and time (I'm using a convection oven for the first time) so it was hard to tell if it worked because on the one hand I did get the desired texture that I wanted but on the other hand I over cooked them just a little. If you like a tinge of that burnt flavor then they are perfect but I don't.

I'd love to not have to expirement for too much longer before finding my answer so hope you guys can help! What's the best way to get a consistent crunch throughout without burning your croutons?

Oh, also I'm just using regular sliced bread. I think just using some other kinds of bread would solve the problem, but I want to be able to do it with this kind of bread so I can salvage stale bread in the future.

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It's easy to make croutons crunchy: Just dry the bread pieces in a dehydrator or low-temperature oven (around 125°C) for a couple of hours. This should be done before adding oil or seasonings, since the process would cook off a lot of their flavor. Afterwards, drizzle on the olive oil and seasonings, and bake or fry as desired. (Be careful with the oil: the dried bread cubes will absorb it much more quickly than fresh or stale bread cubes would.)

  • This worked perfectly. My convection oven has a "keep warm" mode with a minimum temperature of 150 degrees. So I used that for about an hour. Then I bake for about 6 minutes on 325 after adding seasonings and they come out just the way I dreamed. Thanks! – BVernon Aug 28 at 1:23
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My method of getting extra crispy croutons is to cube the bread rather small (~1cm or a bit less), add butter to the pan and melt(i guess, ~20g for two slices of bread, but it's hard to say.), add the bread cubes, and pan fry them gently over low(!) heat, stirring occasionally. It takes quite a while. When they take on a crispy outside and golden color, I take them off the heat and let them cool completely. This allows them to dry out and any left over moisture to evaporate. (If you want them warm or hot for your purposes, you can quickly warm them up in the pan.)

The choice of bread also plays a role in the final outcome of course, but not knowing where you're from, I can't really recommend anything. I'm from Germany, and my favorite croutons are made from a moist and chewy "Bauernbrot" (translates to "Farmer's bread"), which is a mix of wheat and rye. It's a bit heavier and get's crispy rather quickly int he pan. It has a nice roasted flavor profile as it is baked rather dark, which i really love in my croutons. However, I also use regular white toast for croutons. Here, in my experience at least, the drying and cooling process is even more important.

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The method described by @Sneftel will certainly work. However, if you do not have a dehydrator, this can easily done in the oven. I regularly oil and season bread cubes first, then place on a sheet pan in a low oven 225F (107C). If you have a convection function on your oven, you use a slightly lower temperature. Shake or mix every 15 minutes or so. Total time will depend on the type of bread you are using. So, keep and eye on them. Also realize that they will become more crunchy as they cool.

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