1 loaf country bread
canola or vegetable oil (evoo works too)
5 crushed, peeled garlic cloves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Cut the crusts off the loaf of bread. Tear the bread into irregular pieces no larger than 2 inches. You need about 3 cups of croutons; reserve any remaining bread for another use.
Pour 1/8 inch of oil into a large saute pan, add garlic cloves, and heat over low heat until the garlic cloves are golden brown, flipping the cloves from time to time. Remove the garlic cloves (reserve two for the soup) and use the oil for the croutons.
Heat garlic oil over medium heat until hot. Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan (or cook them in two smaller pans). Add the butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling, but if you hear sizzling, the heat is too high. Adjust the heat as necessary, and stir the croutons often as they cook. Cook until the croutons are crisp and a beautiful rich golden brown on all sides, 5 minutes. Move the croutons to one side of the pan and keep warm until ready to serve. Torn croutons should be used the day they are made; you can reheat them in a low oven before serving if necessary.