Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Avoid Bread Weight Gain (Kind of)

I have been making a lot of bread recently. This means, of course, tasting a lot of bread. So how do I avoid gaining massive amounts of weight from all the bread (especially because a recent New York Times article [1] points to carbohydrates rather than fat as the primary culprit in weight gain)? Well, I make croutons. Croutons last a lot longer that bread and make it less appealing to eat on its own [2] and more appealing to eat in a salad. Around my house, we eat a lot of salad so the croutons will definitely get eaten. Finally, croutons make less-appealing bread (either because it's slightly too dense or not flavorful enough) appealing in another context.

When I was baking bread at my Alma Mater, I used to make croutons out of my loaves to send to my parents. This was a way that I could share my fabulous bread with them so that it was still edible by the time they got it. I would send little zip-lock bags of croutons in packages for them to taste.

My Crouton Recipe

  • Stale bread, cut into approximately 1" cubes [3]
  • 1/2 cup olive oil [4]
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed in a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (to enhance flavor)
Left-over mixture

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  2. Put the bread pieces in a large oven-safe pan so that they are 1-2 bread pieces thick, but no more.
  3. Pour the mixture over the breadcrumbs, stirring so that they become evenly coated
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes (or until golden-brown), stirring every two minutes.
  5. Cool on a cooling rack over paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  6. When cool, serve in a salad.

Note: I think the most creative use of breadcrumbs I have ever seen comes from Wild Yeast.

  1. I searched for the article but I can't seem to find it. I will look again.
  2. Servia is the only person I know who actually snacks on croutons.
  3. If the bread is not stale, cut it and leave it in an open bowl on the counter or stale it at a low temperature in the oven.
  4. If you do not have enough bread crumbs for this much oil, you can save the rest of the mixture in the refrigerator for later.


  1. If you're ever needing a place to send your unwanted bread...we're here! Also your whole wheat hearth bread looked really beautiful.

  2. Thanks! The hearth bread was lovely fresh and warm, but it's a little heavy. I think I might experiment with the recipe a little bit. I might also try the multigrain hearth bread in the Reinhart book.

    I am trying to learn how to make more artisan-looking loaves since I watched an amazing video (on youtube) on how to slash bread to make it look like leaves and all sorts of things.

    The scoring video and the finished product video.