The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stuffing

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Floydm's picture
Floydm

Stuffing

Yet another miche I baked last night...

miche

The sad thing is I'm just going to chop this up and let it dry out to make stuffing out of it. Yes, it is cheaper and easier for me to do this than go buy a bag of bread crumbs at the store. Besides, this will taste considerable better I am sure.

Comments

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

that Miche is way too pretty to be chopped up for stuffing!!

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I am not cooking thanksgiving this year, but I still thought about baking a loaf to bring with me just to donate for the stuffing :)

I am bringing the bread--pretty sure I'm going to do your sweet potato rolls, and probably a sourdough loaf or two for leftover turkey sandwiches!

Lovely miche, by the way!

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Lovely - and I'm sure it will taste better.  When I first moved to the land of cornbread dressing,  I was amazed that the stores didn't sell bags of  bread cubes for stuffing, so I bought nice bread, cubed and dried it. All that work! ;~)  These days I make my stuffing with a mix of wheat bread and cornbread, though with plenty of sage  and other herbs, like a "yankee" stuffing.

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Hi Floyd,
I agree the taste and texture of homemade bread crumbs if far superior to those bought; but have you considered the energy cost against that of the loaf (or are you using driftwood in a wood-fired oven?).

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Floyd & Maggie, you've both used the term "bread crumbs".  Is that what is commonly used for stuffing in your area?  Are you both in New England? In Wisconsin, it's definitely dried bread cubes, about the size of salad croutons.  In Texas, most people use crumbled up cornbread, more like the crumbs you mention. And they nearly always make "dressing", not "stuffing".  Regional cooking differences always intrigue me.

browndog's picture
browndog

My dad grew up in Connecticut and always used bread 'crumbs' despite the fact that they were clearly little cubes. To this day the term confuses me if the recipe isn't very clear--do I use little cubes or actually 'crumb' the bread? I'm sure a little research would enlighten me but where's the fun in that?

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

and we always made the base of our stuffing with "Pepperidge Farm Herb Dressing", which came in crumbs and cubes. We always used the crumbs. The crumbs are dry bready crumbs as compared to "Progresso Bread Crumbs" which are very fine. I will have to try making stuffing with homemade bread. Do you dry the crumbs or use them fresh? I do use fresh bread cubed when I make breakfast stratas. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

browndog's picture
browndog

Paddyscake, that's what my dad always used-- Pepperidge Farms. (He did all the holiday cooking.)

Nowadays I cube and freeze old bread, and use it straight from the freezer. But I've never made stuffing. 

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Hello Kippercat,
I'm down here in NZ. Here we write breadcrumbs really as one word. Stuffing is from English cuisine which NZ was loyal to for years but have become more cosmopolitan in our gastronomic preferences now!. Before the advent of food processors, bread for stuffing was staled, decrusted, and soaked with water. It was then 'mashed' up by hand along with the other ingredients. We dress hams, but we don't stuff them! A salad dressing is a mock mayonnaise made with condensed milk, malt vinegar, salt, sugar and mustard (which has now long gone out of fashion - thank goodness!) as we tend to use commercial mayonnaises and vinaigrettes or DIY. I make our own breadcrumbs here by processing slightly staled bread into smallish crumbs, depending on the use. The slowly baked crumbs covering fried turbot (a deep sea flat fish peculiar to the South Island West Coast) is heaven as they are crisp and tasty. I commented to Floyd about the energy cost as I brought home 3 leftover loaves of commercial bread from my cafe recently and it took 5 hours in a slow oven dehydrate the lot in 2 batches; but it was worth it. I tend to fall back on bulk production for convenience but was trained in bulk cooking management as a dietitian many moons ago. Having a cafe serves my predisposition well! M

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Maggie,  thanks for the culinary lesson! I remember having that type of salad dressing as a child.  My Mom didnt make it, but I think I often had it at potluck dinners or friends' houses.

I often do bulk cooking also, partly because I grew up cooking for a large family. I've also had far too many weeks when I couldn't cook, and eaten far too many frozen dinners and fast food as a result. So I like to keep my freezer stocked with prepared and/or cooked foods that I can quickly combine with something else to have a good meal.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Floydm,

My wife was disappointed this year because I forgot to make some "bad bread" for stuffing. I have in the past generally made a dense, overproofed, and therefore relatively sour miche that is about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour. It is then cut up to about 1 cm on a side cubes and dried in the oven at low heat to get very dry, hard, dense, brown sourdough cubes. Those are used in the stuffing along with some cornbread made similarly. It has been a great favorite for stuffing over the last few years. Some of the cubes are reserved in a bag and used as crackers for turkey soup, too. Since I forgot, we had to go with only cornbread, which was fine, but the sourdough does add a very nice slightly sour tang to the overall flavor of the stuffing that we were missing this year. At least I did not forget to make the "good bread" that was not overproofed, much lighter, and mild to go with our TG dinner.

Bill

edh's picture
edh

I don't know if Bell's Seasoning (that's a brand name) is just a New England thing, or if it's everywhere, but nothing else is allowed in my husband's family!

This year, thanks to this site, I had lots of good bread to use in the stuffing, and it has been declared the best ever. A mix of leftover sourdough and sourdough rye, cubed and left to dry for a couple of days seems to be the perfect base.

Browndog, if you decide to try making your own stuffing, look at the grocery for Bell's, and follow the directions on the box. It's made in Weymouth, Mass., so I imagine you can get it in Vermont. It's really just a mix of all the standard spices, ground up together for your convenience...

edh

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Browndog..I forgot to mention besides the Pepperidge Farm we always used Bell's seasoning. Did your Dad use that too?

browndog's picture
browndog

No, no Bell's--I'm sure that any pre-mixed seasoning would have activated my dad's capricious sense of food snobbery. But the pretty package still catches my eye at the supermarket.

leemid's picture
leemid

I told my wife to stay out of my kitchen, find a comfy spot on some padded seat, read, snooze, whatever, and I was cooking with the kids. Well, what could she do, being roughly half my size and all?

So I saved a loaf of Franco sourdough in the freezer from the week before, dragged it out, cubed it, put it on a cookie sheet in the oven to dry/toast, with the aid of my youngest. She and I carefully watched it. When it was just almost perfect we decided another 5 minutes... something distracted us... 20 minutes later I could smell something burning. It didn't catch flames but it was too done for stuffing. So I went to the store and bought some bagged crap.

The turkey was wonderful, as was the company, the potatoes, yams, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, apple crumble (yes, I'm bragging). Even the ice cream and whipped cream were great, although that's not my fault.

So what is a man's word worth? Having told my youngest we could have ham for Christmas dinner, do I have to wait for some other reason to do a turkey before I can try sourdough stuffing? I would appreciate your opinions on both the stuffing and whether I shouldn't use my centuries old tradition of male dominance of the fairer sex and have a turkey for Christmas. Oh, how about a ham inside a deboned turkey? That would take some lengthy baking. Maybe I should smoke the turkey first, then bake the combination for 8 hours at 250-275F. Wrap the ham in bacon and orange slices with whole cranberries and brown sugar. Maybe I should try this before Christmas. In my spare time.

That's my story,

Lee

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Or you could really think outside the box and make stuffing when it's not a holiday. ;~)  Bake it in a casserole to accompany a roast chicken or a nice pork roast.

ejm's picture
ejm

This is what we do with left-over bread. We have a container in the fridge (yes, I know, bread goes stale in the fridge) that we throw heels or leftover slices into. It makes terrific stove-top stuffing.

-Elizabeth 

P.S. For Thanksgiving (or Christmas) stuffing, we like to use fine dry bread crumbs.

Excuse the shameless self-promotion, but as far as we're concerned, this is the ONLY dressing (stuffing) to use in a roast bird: http://etherwork.net/recipes/granschicken.html#roast 

browndog's picture
browndog

rustic porcini onion stuffing

Unlike many stuffings, which are cooked inside the turkey and/or include chicken broth, this wild mushroom version is completely vegetarian. Packed with the robust essence of dried porcini, it will win the approval of everyone at the table.

Active time: 1 hr Start to finish: 1 3/4 hr

Servings: Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients 1 1/2 (1-lb) Pullman or round loaves, torn into 1-inch pieces (20 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter plus additional for greasing dish
4 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (sometimes called cèpes; 54 g)
10 oz fresh white mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (3 cups)
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
4 large shallots, quartered
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper Preparation Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread bread in 2 large shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until dry, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer bread to a large bowl.

Increase oven temperature to 450°F and butter a 13- by 9-inch baking dish (3-quart capacity).

Pour boiling-hot water over porcini and soak 20 minutes, then drain in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, squeezing porcini and reserving soaking liquid. Rinse porcini under cold water to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop.

While porcini soak, heat butter (1 stick) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook white mushrooms, onion, and shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Add celery, carrots, garlic, and porcini and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper, then add vegetables to bread, tossing to combine.

Add 1 cup reserved porcini-soaking liquid to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Add remaining soaking liquid and salt and pepper to taste and pour over bread mixture, tossing to coat evenly.

Spread stuffing in baking dish and cover tightly with buttered foil (buttered side down), then bake in upper third of oven until heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake stuffing until top is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.

--from Gourmet Magazine 

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Browndog, I respect vegetarianism significantly but can't get there entirely myself. The rustic porcini onion stuffing looks magnificent and I'll have to use it for Christmas dinner; but inter rather than extra bird. Our ever increasing extended family will be very appreciative. Thank you. M

browndog's picture
browndog

Hi, Maggie,

I used to be more of a zealot but age has softened my edges pretty much. It seems to me nowadays that the way an animal is raised is more important than whether you eat it or not.

That being said, I find that not eating meat forces me to look at food with a broader perspective. For example, I never would have tried potato-fennel stew if I could've made  meatloaf instead!

Your pro-planet remarks always catch my attention.

Good luck with the stuffing. 

 

leemid's picture
leemid

So the recipe linked to above by ejm says to roast the turkey at 350F for 1/2 hour per pound. Wow. I did a 13-14 lb bird this Thanksgiving at 325 or 350, I can't remember for sure but no hotter, and in 3 hours it was falling off the bones. I can't imagine what state it would have achieved at 6 1/2 - 7 hours. My internal stuffing temp was even at 180F at that time. Juices ran wild, my wife stood at the counter and nibbled before I had to make her sit down and actually eat what I had sliced onto the serving platter. Doubling the baking time makes me think of pemmican...

That's my question,

Lee

ejm's picture
ejm

Thanks for the headsup, leemid. I confess that it has been years since I have roasted anything larger than 5 lbs (we usually roast chickens or capons) but those instructions were from my mom - it was always 30 minutes per lb if the bird was stuffed; 20 minutes per lb if the bird is not stuffed at 325-350.

I probably neglected to add that Mom always put a foil hat on the turkey around half way through the roasting - to make sure it didn't get completely dried out.

Having said all that, please don't let that stop you from trying the Scottish dressing. It is phenomenally good.

One year, just before Thanksgiving, a colleague and I were discussing what we would be making for dinner. I said that there was only one dressing: Mom's. He heartily disagreed. He said it was HIS mom's! I asked him what the ingredients were and it turned out that they were virtually the same as our recipe - the only difference being that his mother used soft bread crumbs rather than dried. It was amazing! I have never met anyone but our family who makes this dressing.

A word of caution: under no circumstances does the dressing work in a "butterball" turkey. And the inner pieces of fat on the bird should be removed before stuffing it.

-Elizabeth 

leemid's picture
leemid

and for the sake of knowledge itself, at the risk of sounding like a butterball fan, why won't it work with a butterball turkey?

Lee

ejm's picture
ejm

The dressing gets gummy if there is the added fat from the "butter" in the butterball turkey. (Is that actually butter they inject?) I suppose that one could reduce the amount of butter/olive oil in Mom's dressing but it's WAY easier to take the inside huge globs of fat out of the bird. (Put the fat on top of the breast to use as a basting agent.)

maggie664's picture
maggie664

Thank you for the compliment. I too was a bit of a zealot re radical feminism (am still married to the same old sweetie) and alternative lifestyle practices but now accept more compromises!
Can you or someone tell me what a butterball turkey is?
We were given 2 turkeys to have as pets on our property but when I opened the sacks I found they came with 6 turkey chicks, all but one female! We have no plans to eat them. We have located all the girls' nests in the scrub and have substituted eggs (one had 17 eggs under her) with white round quartz stones which seem to keep them happy. What the next plan is to be awaits decision. Maybe we should call the cob Butterball. The whole concept of a butterball turkey fascinates me. M

browndog's picture
browndog

Maggie, you're a dear.

A Butterball is a name brand grocery store turkey that has been injected with something you would think is, but is not in fact, butter. The company says 'Butter'ball actually refers to the breed of turkey they use. 

"Butterball LLC, which sells about 12 million whole turkeys for Thanksgiving, injects its frozen whole turkeys with a solution to 'keep the turkey moist and help prevent it from drying out during cooking, and for flavor,' according to the company. Additives include salt, natural flavors, modified food starch and sodium phosphates."

The quote is from Mother Earth News, quoting Dow Jones.

But anyway, if you do call the cob 'Butterball', don't tell him why.

It must be lots of fun at your house.

 

kitchenaddiction's picture
kitchenaddiction

 That's beautiful scoring on your miche you made to cut to pieces, and it shows the love you have for baking! Thanks for such a fantastic site!

 

http://kitchenaddiction.blogspot.com