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Nov 15, 2012 09:57 AM

Another stuffing/dressing question!

In the past, I've used packaged bread crumbs (such as Brownberry or whatnot) for my stuffing and have always eyeballed the amounts of everything else - celery, onions, mushrooms, etc.

I want to start with fresh bread this year and wonder if there is a rule of thumb for how much liquid (stock plus beaten eggs) to add to how much freshly dried out bread to achieve a stuffing/dressing that isn't WET, but does stick together when spooned out of the casserole dish. Or in my case, the giant sized disposable aluminum roaster!

If it makes a difference, I'm planning on a combo of white bread and corn bread.

OH and I want to use fresh herbs, too. Parsley, sage, thyme, I think. Any rules of thumb there for something that's not overly herby but has good flavor?

Thank you so much!

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  1. Sorry, I always just go by feel. If I can pick up a handful and it holds its shape without completely mushing apart, it's fine. If it totally crumbles then it needs more liquid. I don't use eggs. I use butter and chicken stock. Like you, I bake mine in the disposable roaster. :)

    1. I just happened to see Trisha Yearwood's show last week and she made just what you are describing. Maybe this link will help:

      1. I've never used the dried packaged bread cubes for my dressing so I'm not sure if the stock amount differs when using it. I just go by feel also on how much stock to add. I change up my recipe a little every year so I'm always eyeballing the proportions based on that years combination when it comes to herbs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rasputina

          Me too. In terms of how to figure out the "feel" of how much liquid it's all about the clank and the squish. If you put the bread cubes in a big metal or ceramic bowl and they have been dried out they'll clank around the bowl. When you add moist things like sausage, sauteed onions and celery you'll hear less clanking. I keep adding broth until the clanking stops and my spoons makes a squish sound as I toss the bread cubes. Once I hear the squish, I add the eggs. Usually about three for your standard 9x13 baking pan.

        2. If you like a looser stuffing, then you add more liquid. If you want a drier stuffing then you add less.

          I like a loose stuffing made with cornbread and broth, with other ingredients. I add liquid until the mixture resembles what I know I want. I am searching for similar texture to compare it with, but am coming up short.

          If you want a dense stuffing, I believe you would add eggs, but it is probably not a good idea to put that sort of stuffing in the turkey because the eggs might not get cooked. You can also add butter to improve the mouth feel and for richness, but I never do.

          For me the very best stuffing is made from my cornbread recipe baked with sage and rosemary, brown rice and plenty of other normal stuff like sage, onion, celery. I also like a few caraway seeds in there and I have been adding a chopped apple as well. But the herbs baked in the cornbread coupled with another dose of sage seems to add a subtle layerings of flavor. I like a lot of flavor in my stuffing, obviously.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            I'm just a little wary now as one year, I could have sworn I added plenty of stock/butter, but it still came out dry and crumbly. Maybe I overcooked it, though, I don't remember.

            Okay, I feel a little better, though. Wish me luck with using fresh bread! I do like adding a couple eggs but as I'm not really worried about eating a bit of raw egg, I'll just taste to adjust for herb seasonings.

            1. re: sueatmo

              I get really frustrated over all the food safety hand-wringing, as though every piece of meat we buy has been bathed in a sewer. Before I ever heard all the Chicken Littles of the Culinary Realm, I sauteed my onions, celery, and turkey liver, mixed in the seasonings, apple, bread crumbs, broth, and eggs, and spooned this hot mixture inside my 18-24 pound turkey before roasting it at 325. I never took its temp, judging doneness by the browning of the skin and the wiggle level of the legs. No sickness, ever. I did turkey and chickens that way for decades.
              I later branched out into brining, slow-roasting, etc., and began to use a thermometer because I had acquired one, not because I was suddenly over-cautious.

              There is NO problem with using eggs in a cavity stuffing. As long as the temp of the cooked stuffing is 160 or more, no problem. Please do not create needless worry.

              1. re: greygarious

                Yeah, I agree. I wish I could stuff the turkey - stuffing that has been basted for hours like that is just so damn good! Sadly, I have no charge of the turkey and my sister prefers to put herbs and assorted aromatics in the cavity. :-(

                1. re: greygarious

                  I've been sickish along with others who were sick enough to throw up after eat a very eggy stuffing many years ago.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I agree with this as well. You just need to use normal safety measures to make sure the cooked temp is correct - just as you would for anything else.

                    My parents always had the stuffing/dressing argument - dad liked it firm enough to slice; mom liked it looser for spooning. The firm-enough-to-slice always had eggs to bind & cook it firm enough. For looser? No eggs.

                2. I don't use eggs either. Make my stuffing the way my grandmother always did. A few days ahead, will cube or tear up plain white bread into a BIG bowl and just let it sit and stale some. If ya had the last few slices of whole wheat... toss that in, too. Nana always started a pot simmering on stove with neck, gizzards, etc... potential stock if stuffing is too dry. She'd soften a LOT of onions and celery (I like carrots, too) in a LOT of butter and generous shake of Bell's Seasoning... her choice. Once softened, she'd stir around with a big wooden spoon... cuz it was HOT! Once cool enough to handle, she'd get a couple of us grandkids to mix with THOROUGHLY WASHED hands. If it was a little dry, she'd ladle in some of that neck water... right when about how AnnieWilliams described.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kseiverd

                    Ha! At first I thought you might be one of my cousins, until we got to the turkey neck part. My grandma didn't like the "guts" at all, and she would hide them from my grandfather because he would always want to chop them up and use them in the stuffing. So those got disposed of quickly and hidden deep inside the trash, LOL.

                    I don't use egg in my stuffing only because it's not what my grandma does. I can't deviate from tradition, you know. :)

                    If we do our turkey in the oven, damn skippy I pack that baby's butt full of stuffing. PACK IT. Never hurt us once. In my opinion, stuffing from inside the bird is food for the gods.

                    In recent years we have been smoking our turkey, so I have to make a pan of stuffing on the side. :( Truthfully I don't miss roasted turkey one bit, with the exception of the stuffing. I need to get some turkey wings or something and roast them on top of the stuffing as suggested in another thread, so I can still get that awesome turkey flavor in there.

                    1. re: AnnieWilliams

                      I like stuffing that has been stuffed as well. But I don't put egg in it. I also like stuffing that has been baked separately. Have to ration it these days, though.