Using a bread knife cut the bread into uniform bite-size cubes (or tear the bread with your hands) to make about 3 cups of bread cubes.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Season with kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Add two cloves of smashed garlic to the seasoned melted butter and olive oil mixture. Simmer until the garlic is fragrant; about 1 minute, but DO NOT BROWN. (Browning garlic makes it bitter.) Remove from saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.
In a large bowl, slowly pour the seasoned oil mixture over the bread cubes. Toss the bread until well combined.
Line a sheet pan large enough to spread the croutons out with parchment paper. Turn the croutons out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread the croutons out in a single layer, allowing as much space as possible between the bread cubes.
Start out baking for 10 minutes. Then give the bread cubes a stir. This will give you an idea of how things are going. Continue to bake the cubes, until dry and light golden brown in color, an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve the croutons immediately for hot soups and casseroles, but allow them to cool before adding to cold salads, or they could cause your lettuce to wilt.
Make the cubes any size you prefer, but usually, the cubes are bite-size and uniform. Cutting the cubes the same size is crucial so that the croutons bake evenly.Cut off any excess crust from the bread. Heels or end pieces of bread tend to have lots of crust, so if you don’t want extremely crunchy croutons then shy away from using the ends or cut off the crust completely.Baking times may vary depending on the type of loaf and the size of the bread cubes. Storage and freezing the croutons:Allow the croutons cool completely and store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.Alternatively, you could add them to a freezer bag or freezer safe container and freeze for several weeks to a year! To use from the freezer, heat them in the oven on a sheet pan until they are warm in crisp again.Recipe adapted from StripedSpatula.com
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