I grew up in a country crock house. It was the 80’s-90’s and butter substitutes were the rage and thought to be healthy compared to the real thing. I still remember with fondness the brown tub with the friendly looking barn logo, and smearing the golden spread on warm slices of amish friendship bread. I’m sure until the end of time we will continue to learn and have new theories popping up about what is healthy, so I’m not judging (hi mom!). I’m just thankful now we know that soybean and palm oils are not great for our bodies or the environment.
I actually remember the first time I tasted butter. I’m sure I technically tasted it before at our house or somewhere else, but I’m talking about the first time I really tasted it. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade and my family was at a graduation party for a high school student from our church. I remember standing at the buffet table out in the yard, streamers and balloons weighted down with 2-liters of pop to keep them from blowing away. I remember looking at the assortment of cake, veggie platters, chips and dips, sloppy joe simmering in a crock pot, and then there were dinner rolls with butter in a glass butter dish.
The butter wasn’t too soft or hard. It spread perfectly on the roll and it was then I noted it’s absolute superiority to butter spreads. It was like a wave. First I tasted the salt, then quickly followed by sweet cream all of which rolled over and through the soft and yeasty dinner roll. This was one of those “When I grow up moments” where I internally promised my middle school aged self that when I grew up I would always have real butter in my house. So I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t grow up during World War II where butter was carefully rationed. To this day I still have a bit of a love affair with the real thing and thankfully it still tastes like a treat whether spread on toast, a ham and cheese sandwich, or melted to make these croutons.
This is also a great way to stop bread from going into the trash. Sometimes I’ll make these as soon as I notice a partial loaf of bread has been hanging around for a while. I can promise that these won’t go to waste.
2 c. bread (your favorite kind, diced or torn into pieces)
1/4 c. melted butter
Salt (to taste)
1.) Preheat oven to 350 f.
2.) Line a sheet tray (aka cookie sheet) with a silpat, parchment or foil (easy clean up!)
3.) Toss bread and melted butter in a bowl.
4.) Spread out into a single layer onto the sheet tray.
5.) Sprinkle with salt.
6.) Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until croutons are crisp and golden brown.
Component in Action
-sprinkle on soups and salads
-use odds and ends of bread hanging around your kitchen…a great way to stop them from going to waste.
-when tossing bread with butter, add various spices and/or grated hard cheese for a flavor boost:
-add grated parmesan cheese before baking for tomato soup
-add dried oregano for a salad of tomato, cucumber + feta
-add a bit of cinnamon and black pepper for a butternut squash soup