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The Melted Butter Tip Jacques Pépin Swears By When Making Croutons

jacques pepin headshot and melted butter
jacques pepin headshot and melted butter - Nungning20/Getty Images

Renowned French chef Jacques Pépin has a clever tip for making the crispiest homemade croutons, and all it takes is a little bit of melted butter. This trick will have you whipping up deliciously restaurant-worthy croutons in no time and the best part is it's incredibly simple.

First, melt a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil on a baking sheet in the oven. While that's melting, slice up some baguette bread into crouton-sized bits. Once you have a nice pool of melted butter on the baking sheet, use your hands to toss the pieces of bread in the butter to evenly coat each piece. The melted butter not only imparts a rich, savory flavor to the bread but also helps to achieve a perfectly crispy exterior when baked. As the butter-infused bread bakes in the oven, it transforms into golden, crunchy croutons.

Pépin's melted butter method offers a foolproof way to create homemade croutons that are far superior to store-bought varieties in both flavor and texture. Whether tossed atop salads, soups, or pasta dishes, these buttery croutons add a nice crunch and depth of flavor. Pépin's ingenious technique proves that with a little butter and creativity, even simple ingredients can be transformed into chef-level creations.

Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

The Other Key To Perfectly Crunchy Croutons

baked croutons on cookie sheet
baked croutons on cookie sheet - ChefJacquesPepin / Facebook

Although the melted butter tip is one part of recreating Pépin's croutons in your own kitchen, the other key to perfectly crunchy croutons lies in the bread. He recommends using day-old bread, preferably a rustic loaf with a dense texture like baguette or ciabatta. The staleness of the bread ensures that it will absorb the butter without becoming soggy, resulting in the perfect end product that is equal parts crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Pépin also advises cutting the bread into uniform cubes, roughly 3⁄4 to one inch in size, to ensure even toasting. This uniformity allows each crouton to achieve the ideal level of crunchiness without any pieces becoming overly burnt or undercooked. Pépin even has a specific way of cutting the bread to avoid squishing it. He starts the cut with the sharp end of the knife and sort of rocks it back to complete the slice, rather than just pressing down evenly and applying pressure. This way, all the slices end up the same thickness.

Spice Up Your Croutons

tray of spices
tray of spices - Sydney James/Getty Images

Sad, store-bought croutons are a thing of the past thanks to Pépin's tips, but you can even take it a step further and give your homemade croutons a little extra flavor punch. Imagine a warm salad adorned with parmesan-infused golden cubes. Or picture a steaming bowl of tomato soup garnished with garlicky paprika croutons.

Gone are the days of one-dimensional flavor, and croutons are the perfect vehicle for experimentation. Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes or za'atar before baking for a flavor infusion. Craving sweetness? Cinnamon sugar-dusted croutons are a welcome addition as a fruit salad or yogurt parfait topping.

But flavor isn't the only frontier. You can also explore the diverse textures bread offers. Pumpernickel croutons give an earthy depth to creamy soups, while the more airy brioche provides a lightness to dips. Don't shy away from leftovers, either. Crush up those leftover seasoned croutons and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese for a contrasting crunch.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.