When shopping for strawberries I prefer ones that are on the smaller side, fragrant, and a deep red in color. The bread you see in the above photo is a loaf of Acme Bread's walnut levain. I suspect their whole wheat seeded loaf would be perfect as well. Use a serrated bread knife to cut the bread into cubes. To veganize the recipe toss the bread cubes with olive oil / brown sugar (but don't heat it) before baking, and skip the yogurt.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar OR brown sugar*
couple pinches of fine grain salt
1 pound loaf of hearty, substantial day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1+ pint basket of ripe strawberries, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
a 7 or 8 ounce container of plain (Greek) yogurt
poppy seeds for garnish
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a large pot melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves and remove from the heat. Add bread cubes and toss, coating the bread cubes. Toss for a minute or so to get decent coverage. Pour the bread out onto a baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. Toast for about 15 minutes or until bread is well toasted, tossing every 5 minutes to make sure all bread surface areas get golden and crunchy.
In the meantime, place half the chopped strawberries in a small bowl and mash them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. I found a potato masher works well for this. Keep mashing until berries are super juicy and appetizingly chunky - this is your dressing.
When the bread cubes are done toasting (and have had a few minutes to cool and crisp up), toss them in a big bowl with the mashed berries. Add the remaining chopped strawberries and toss a bit more. Give the yogurt a good stir, and serve on the side garnished with poppy seeds (feel free to sweeten it a bit to your liking).
Serves 6 or so.
*I use one of my favorite raw brown sugars in this recipe to get the best brown sugar flavor (alternately, seek out a great muscavado sugar), but for those of you who want to swap in honey or agave nectar - I suspect it would be equally tasty.
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