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The Accidental Crouton - What I Did When My Bread Raised and then Fell


Saturday morning I mixed up ingredients for homemade bread, formed two loaves and set them into the oven for an 'out of the way' place to rise. It was also my youngest daughter's birthday and before I knew it we were out the door to the mall where she was oh-so-excited to get her ear pierced and start to spend some of the Christmas money she had received.

Needless to say the bread was forgotten.

When we returned home that evening I found the bread had raised beautifully... and then fell into an airy, pretty much flat, wide mess. But ever frugal, I carefully scooped the sides together a little so they weren't six inches wide, watched it fall flat and decided to bake it anyway. When they were done they were still shaped exactly as I had carefully molded them.

More importantly they were pretty hard, condensed and rather dry. I got out the knife and started to slice. They were the perfect size for a baguette style appetizer but I had no need to serve such a dish and it would not last in the freezer as they were already a bit hard and dry. Instead, creativity took over.

Croutons!

I sliced the failed bread into cubes and poured a bit of olive oil in a pan to heat. A single layer of croutons with a bit more olive oil drizzled, a garlic seasoning mix with herbs and parsley was sprinkled and stirring over medium high heat I found my mouth watering with the aroma!

As each batch started to get golden I placed them on a baking sheet. They were about 75% dried and crisp but I wanted to finish them completely in the oven so they would keep in storage. When they were all finished in the pan, I left them on a tray in the oven until I would baking something again.

The next day I had the oven on to bake pork chops so I popped the croutons in to 'finish' them. In another moment of creativity I sprinkled them all with freshly grated parmesan and baked. After letting it all cool after baking I placed them in a gallon sized Ziploc to store but I couldn't help but snitch a couple.

They are the best tasting croutons I have ever had and I'm afraid I've spoiled myself for the store bought versions!
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