The most basic croutons are baguette rounds brushed with melted butter and baked for a short time until golden.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a baking sheet with butter. Place bread slices on sheet. Brush top of each slice with remaining butter.
Toast in oven until crisp and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer croutons to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
These classic croutons can be used in salads and soups -- plain or covered with melted cheese -- or as appetizers topped with spreads and vegetables.
Flavor with butter or olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, or Gruyere or other cheeses.