We love croutons in homemade tomato soup. We really love homemade croutons in homemade tomato soup.
Our favorite bread for making croutons is a dense, heavy white bread but anything will work. Start with some melted butter and olive oil in a baking dish. A cookie sheet could be used but I like to be able to stir them and flip them with a spatula while they’re still baking without having them hop out of the pan so I use a 10 x 13 glass pan with sides.
Add whatever herbs/spices you desire. For tomato soup, I add a bit of oregano, a lot of dried basil, a lot of onion powder and a few parsley flakes. At some point after the croutons are baking, I will taste them and add salt if necessary. Adding salt is optional and depends on the bread you’re using and whether your butter is salted.
Cut the bread into small cubes. For soup, we like our croutons to be small enough to fit into the spoon with a good bite of soup. Add the bread cubes to the herb/butter mix and stir to coat. Don’t worry if some don’t seem to be coated well. You will stir more during the baking process.
Bake at 250° (or 300° if you want to watch them carefully) for maybe 40 minutes to an hour. I never time them but stick them in the oven while I’m doing other things in the kitchen and I can watch them.
Get them as brown and crunchy as you like them. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before using.
Because someone is going to ask . . the tomato soup is very simple and very good. I had canned some tomato soup during the summer but I’m out of that now. I still have quite a few quarts of whole tomatoes so I use those for soup now and may continue to do that and not can any soup this year.
Start with 2 quarts of tomatoes. I use a stick blender and stick it down into the wide mouth jars and blend the tomatoes/liquid til it looks almost like a very thick tomato juice.
In a pot large enough to hold 2 – 3 quarts, melt 2 T. butter. Add 2 T. flour and stir but do not brown. Once the flour and butter are blended, add 1 chopped onion. Continue cooking and stirring til the onion is clear. Add the 2 jars of tomatoes, stirring constantly till the butter/flour mixture is blended with the tomatoes. Gently simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Use the stick blender again to blend til the onions are no longer seen. Add a handful of sliced fresh basil, salt, cracked black pepper and continue simmering until the soup is reduced by about 1/3 or 1/2, depending on how much liquid was in the tomatoes.
Shortly before serving, add 1 cup Half & Half. Heat and serve.