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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Croutons, or what you make when life gives you bad bread brain.

I am temporarily on a low iodine diet. That means I can't have any dairy products, soy products, fish or sea salt products, or anything packaged with red dye or added salt.  I should be losing lots of weight since that list includes just about everything! The problem is  peanut butter, olive oil, unsalted nuts, Jennies Coconut Macaroons, and other vegan goodies!   I haven't attempted making bread in about eight or nine years, but if I want to eat bread, I need to make bread. I went out to the trusty Internet to look for no-knead (I have bad arms) vegan bread recipes.   I was hit in the face with hundreds of no knead recipes!  I settled on an excellent recipe from Baking Bites.  It was a flavorful, easy recipe that I didn't follow correctly :(
I thought whole wheat pastry flour could easily be substituted for whole wheat flour.  (You bread makers are probably laughing and shaking your fingers at me right now!)  I made a tasty bread, but it crumbled a bit when cut... not enough gluten in pastry flour to hold the bread together.
Lesson learned. But I made lemonade out of my lemon! I made the best croutons I've ever had (other than those fabulous homemade croutons at Ruby Tuesday's)!
Did you know they taste fantastic floating in tomato or chicken soup??...just throw them in right before you eat it.

Vegan whole wheat croutons

Here is the recipe as loosely as possible adapted from the Food Network:
Preheat oven to 400°
Line a cookie sheet with foil

You will need:
1 loaf whole wheat bread cubed (I like using fresher bread...then you get crispy on the outside and still a little chewy on the inside)
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (I used 1/2 cup extra-virgin because I was out of  regular olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pour the bread cubes into a large bowl. Set-aside. Blend the next four ingredients until incorporated, approximately 10 or 15 seconds. (Or if you want an aerobic workout you can shake it up in a watertight container for a few minutes.)  You might want to taste the oil to make sure it has enough seasonings before you drizzle.
Drizzle the mixture over the bread cubes and then gently stir to make sure they are coated.  Pour them onto a foil lined pan, spread them out, and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until they begin to brown.
Most importantly: Resist the urge to eat them all right out of the oven!


  1. Good luck with your new diet! The croutons look really yummy. I wanted to answer your question about if I freeze my stuff for the fair--yup, I freeze almost everything. And yes, I freeze the cakes unfrosted (wrapped well in plastic, then in foil) and frost them the day of or the day before I bring them to the fair. There are very few things that are badly affected by freezing, and I have yet to find out what they are. :)

  2. Your new diet sounds hard. Unless I really had to for health reasons, it would probably be impossible. You must be doing a lot of cooking (from scratch)? I wish you all the best!!
    Those croutons look great!! Glad your loaf of bread didn't go to waste. Maybe you need to buy a bag of vital wheat gluten (natural food section at Cub). That probably would have compensated for the lack of gluten in your pastry flour.

  3. Ahh. I hope everything is going okay with your new diet. That must be a hard transition. The croutons do look delicious though!

  4. Thank you Veronica, Hanaa, and The Honey Nut! So far, so good. I found vegan macaroons and vegan semisweet chocolate..melted the chocolate and dipped macaroons in it. Not losing any weight! I do miss eggs and dairy, especially my cold cereal and milk. Oh well, it is a small price to pay for the scan that will hopefully tell me I'm thyroid cancer free...

  5. Bread is on my list of to-dos, especially now that I'm all moved out and looking to be as cheap as possible :). I love the idea of no knead, but I feel like it's cheating since I haven't learned how to do it the "right" way.
    And I hope everything goes well with the diet and the tests, it seems like such a menial thing to say, but I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

  6. Thank you Adam! I say do the knead when you are young and strong! I have bad elbow and hand tendonitis so thankfully there is another way!