Tag Archives: bread

homemade croutons

there’s been a lot of talk about homemade croutons lately. oh wait, i think pretty much all instigated by me. a friend on twitter was lamenting the demise of a loaf of bread i’m sure she had spent the better part of a day mixing, kneading, rising, and baking. my first thought was ‘croutons!’.  in my mind, the baking gods had closed a door and opened a window for her. now, no one wants to spend the day making a batch of croutons, and thankfully you don’t have to. but it’s nice to know one is only ever 15-20 minutes away from a batch if there’s ever an emergency. homemade croutons are a completely different animal than store-bought. i can’t even remember the last time i bought a bag of croutons at the store–i have always loved to make them from leftover or stale bread. this is not a mind-blowing recipe, nor will it change your life. it’s just a method for baking glorious cubes of toasted bread that i’m glad i know of and would like to share. it also pleases the taurus in me to use up every last scrap of food.

homemade croutons (makes about 3-4 cups)

this is more of a method than a recipe. you can pretty much use whatever bread, oils, or herbs you have on hand.

approximately 1/3-1/2 loaf stale bread

several glugs good quality olive oil

1 tbsp fresh herbs (i used thyme)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

kosher salt and pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees. cut bread into large cubes. you can leave the crust on or not. i prefer to leave it on for a more rustic taste and feel. place in a large bowl with all other ingredients and toss. you want to add enough oil to coat the bread but  not make it soupy. pour onto a baking sheet with enough room in between the pieces so they brown freely. bake 13-15 minutes, turning once of twice for even browning.

allow to cool and store in a covered container or plastic bag for up to a week.


Filed under salad

soft yogurt sandwich rolls


yogurt rolls6

 you’ve probably noticed that i don’t do a lot of baking for this blog. there’s a good reason for it: i’m just not very good at it. my cooking style of ‘a little of this, i’m outta that so throw in those’ just doesn’t bode well for the baking up of beautiful french baguettes or jaw dropping popovers. but i had made a new year’s resolution (to myself) to at least attempt more than the occasional cupcake or quick bread, so here goes nothin’.

yogurt rolls1

since i hadn’t baked any bread-type item in centuries, i thought i would start with this yeast roll recipe, as it seemed simple enough. no real time commitment necessary (just a few short rises) and i calculated that if successful,  it had enough of a wow factor to stand up to our pulled pork sandwiches and to keep me drawn in to whole baking thing. but what i really loved was the name: it had me at ‘yogurt’. i will make virtually anything that includes some sort of cultured dairy product (you know- sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.). the yogurt does not directly translate as flavor in the rolls, just as buttermilk is not detected in cakes. it just makes for a more tender crumb. this concept, and recipe, come from a great site called baking bites, that i can tell i will be visiting often, if this whole baking thing turns out alright. 

yogurt rolls2

cutting the prepared dough into roll-size pieces.

yogurt rolls3

making smooth tops on rolls by pinching corners together before final rise.

yogurt rolls4

yogurt rolls5

final product: north carolinian pulled pork with super vinegary slaw on fresh baked rolls.

yogurt rolls7

yogurt sandwich rolls (makes 10-12)

adapted from baking bites


3 1/2-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp active dry yeast

3 tbsp honey

1 cup warm water (between 100-110 degrees farenheit)

1 cup plain yogurt (i used full fat, but low fat would work just fine here)

1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment), combine 1/2 cup flour, yeast, honey, and warm water and mix thoroughly. allow to stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy on top.stir in yogurt, oil, salt, and 2 cups of the remaining flour. gradually stir in more flour until you have a soft, cohesive dough that no longer sticks to your hands or the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary to obtain a smooth elastic ball, about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free environment (i have always used the microwave for this step of rising bread, don’t know where i got the idea from) until doubled in size, about an hour.

line a baking sheet with parchment paper. remove dough from bowl and punch down lightly to deflate. press into a rectangle. divide dough into 10-12 equal pieces. i cut mine with a pizza wheel. remember these will rise so make them about 75 percent of the size that you would like to have as your final product after baking. make a smooth top on the roll by stretching and pinching the four corners together (see picture). place on parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten each roll softly. cover with a clean dish towel or flour sack and allow to rise  for an additional 25 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees. bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on tops and bottoms of rolls. allow to cool on a wire rack  for at least 5 minutes before consuming (if you can!).


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