What Bracha are the Croutons that are really just dried pieces of bread separately and when there in my instant soup and is there a difference?
The way it works:
Bread that is cut into pieces retains its status of bread (i.e. Hamotzi) no matter how small the pieces get. So if you or anyone would cut the bread and then bake it again, it wouldn't matter and it would still be Hamotzi [unless you cut it less than a K'zayis an cook it in water to a certain degree... but not so practical]
However, there's a famous shitah (R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach) that holds that if companies make croutons - even though it's bread at an intermediate stage - since the end product will be croutons (which should be Mezonos for its own reasons) the entire product is Mezonos. In other words, it doesn't get a status of bread if the end-game is to make it into something else.
So in short:
- If it's homemade from bread it's Hamotzi (even in Salad - because it cannot become a Taful)
- If it's manufactured (like the way you say - i.e. made from bread) we have the above Machlokes
- If it's deep fried then it would appear everyone agrees it's mezonos.
- If it's a "yellow-type" crouton (i.e. deep fried and no where near bread) it's a clearcut Mezonos.
I'm not sure about the one's in instant soup (I've never personally come across them), but is seems they're like the second type mentioned above.
The Yalkut Yosef in Siman 168 in the Berakhot English Edition Halacha 43 states
If the Bread is not boiled, but someone placed small pieces in a bowl and they became fused together with honey or hot broth, the Halacha depends on the size of the original pieces. If they are as large as Kazayit, the blessing remains Hamotzi. If they are smaller than Kazayit, it then depends on their appearance.
As such, it seems that the size only matters when it becomes fused together with honey or hot broth, not when they are separate pieces.