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Halachot of Berachot  

Q36) What bracha do you make on soup croutons?

A36) That is a great and tricky question. The answer is that it depends on how they are made.

(First off, let me note that we are discussing bread-like croutons and not just those yellow mandel bits.)

Some are baked, some are baked twice and others are baked and then fried. As you may know, one of the definitions of Pas Haba Bekisonin, or a mezonot food, is crunchy toasted bread. However, crunchy toasted bread is only mezonot when it was baked to the crunch from the beginning. If, on the other hand, the bread dough was first baked normally and then re-baked into toast - the hamotzei bracha would remain (See How Bread Loses its Bracha for more on this).

Therefore, if the croutons were baked to the crisp in the original baking - it would be mezonot.

If they were baked into normal bread and then subsequently diced up into pieces smaller than a kazayis and then baked again to be crispy - it technically should be hamotzei. I say technically, because there are many achronim that hold if they are made commercially, then it would still be mezonot. They reason that since they obviously intended for the final product to be a crouton snack - the intermediate normal bread step is overlooked. Therefore, it isn't a case of bread losing its status but rather bread that never had the status. Many hold by these very valid opinions while others choose to avoid the safek by eating bread in that meal.

Lastly, if the bread was baked and then diced up to pieces smaller than a kazayis and then fried - it would be mezonot. In general it is unclear if frying is more similar to baking or cooking, but in this case, it is safe to assume the frying was used to give flavor and it would be considered cooking and not baking.

One last piece of advice - if you are able to add the croutons to the kli rishon (the soup pot that was one the fire) - then the croutons would cook then and there and would be mezonot. (NOT for Shabbos Use)

(On making a bracha on croutons with regards to the laws of ikar and tofel - See Soups)



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