Food, Home & Lifestyle

Stale Bread: Crouton Variations

Apollonia Poilâne

Lesson time 05:49 min

Apollonia demonstrates two techniques for turning stale bread into delicious croutons: one oven-baked, the other pan-fried.

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Topics include: Over-Baked Brioche Croutons · Pan-Cooked Pain de Mie Croutons


WOMAN: People often think that stale bread is good to go to waste. But why not use it? When bread is stale, it is a good time to turn it into croutons, especially if you've made it yourself. There's no reason to waste that bread. [MUSIC PLAYING] I'll be presenting two ways of preparing croutons. One is an oven-dried one. And the other one is using a pan. You can use any type of bread to make a crouton. In front of me, I have some brioche because you can use very soft breads or some harder breads like the pain de mie, which is a good standard bread to make sweet or savory croutons. I have fresh herbs, butter, oil, salt, and pepper. So to make the brioche croutons, just cut through the slices. You need to make them thick. And I remove the crusts in this case. But the trick here is that your brioche needs to be really stale because it's easier to work. And it has less of the moisture. I usually cut six pieces out of one slice. Spread it out on your baking sheet. I'm going to put a little bit of oil on it, a small drizzle, little bit of salt. It's just a pinch. It helps dry out your croutons. And some freshly milled black pepper. I'm going to put this into the oven and let it dry. What I'm doing to these croutons is really taking out all the hydration it still has in it. These are nice croutons. They're nice because they have this golden color. But they're not overly baked. They might even be a little white in some centers. Those croutons are dry. If you just throw them on the baking sheet, you'll hear they're kind of like small, little pebbles that has soaked up a little bit of oil and has completely dried out with the spices in the oven. Et voila-- beautiful homemade croutons. [MUSIC PLAYING] Another way we can work through croutons is by pan baking them. I'm going to take the pain de mie for this demonstration. I'm going to remove the crust as thinly as I can and then do just as thick slices. When it comes to croutons of whether you decide to put them in a pan or dry them in the oven, it's really discretionary. For me, it's about the time I have at hand to make them as well as the types of spices that I want to bring to the croutons. I'm just going to use a little bit of oil to heat up and set my stove to medium. The advantage of using a pan is that you can add some fresh herbs to it. When you put some fresh herbs on croutons that you're going to dry in your oven, the herbs also will dry out. And in that case, there's just no point in putting fresh herbs. So the oil is ready. I'm just going to pour those in. Toss them around so that they can absorb all the oils. They're taking the nice, yellowy color of this olive oil here. If you use butter, the difference is you'll have a crouton that will tend to brown much faster. Once they start getting golden, that's when I would add the fresh herbs. Now here I just used parsley. You could use chives. Try and use herbs that are not too delicate because those will t...

About the Instructor

As a third-generation baker and CEO of the renowned Parisian bakery Poilâne, Apollonia Poilâne keeps time-honored traditions alive with every loaf. Now she’s sharing the joy of making bread from scratch with her recipes and hands-on demonstrations. Learn how to make your own starter and a variety of French breads, including rustic wheat, rye, and brioche. Taste, smell, and feel your way to fresh, warm bread at home.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Apollonia Poilâne

Poilâne CEO Apollonia Poilâne teaches the renowned Parisian bakery’s philosophy and time-tested techniques for baking rustic French breads.

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