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Lost in Holiday Dinner Prep Land - bread for stuffing?

I unfortunately missed out on the homecooked Thanksgiving mela this year and as it's my favorite holiday meal of the year and I actually relaly love all of the food served at Thanksgiving, my SO and I have decided to celebrate a legitimate Thanksgiving on New Year's Eve. I have been a little gung-ho and diving into a full spread but as it's my first "Thanksgiving dinner" I have inevitably encountered many an issue.

I love sage sausage stuffing and have a great recipe, but I have no idea what kind of bread to use or when to get it and what to do with it. We will have cornbread on the side so the only option I have eliminated is cornbread, however is it OK to just buy a few loaves of white bread and toast it or leave it on the counter overnight? Or should I use a bread with more flavor?

TIA

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  1. I always use a baguette from the store, left out overnight.

    1. We make our sage & sausage stuffing with the least expensive white bread that we can find, leaving it out to get stale and then crumbing it in the FP. If you have any odds & ends of stale baguettes or rolls, you can use them too. (I once made stuffing with poppy seed bagels, after rubbing off the seeds, when we were short on bread.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: masha

        Yea, I think this is what my mother does but I only have whole wheat bread in the freezer so probably should go white.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Agree that ww bread would change the flavor profile. I just buy the storebrand counterpart of Wonder Bread for stuffing when I don't have any stale white bread on hand.

      2. I think a nice, solid white sandwich bread is just fine. I dried mine out in the oven for a few hours at about 200 degrees.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Violatp

          Is there a brand that you prefer or any will do?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I bought whole loaves from the bakery at the local Mariano's, actually. I must have looked at every loaf they had till I found what I had in mind! I didn't want too much crust, so a baguette was out. Ended up with something that had the color and texture of a good potato bread, but was the size of a large boule.

            It was my first time making stuffing entirely from scratch and while I would add even more stock next time I make it, it actually was pretty damn good!

            1. re: Violatp

              I guess my next question should be - how moist do you make it? I always read about wishing I added more broth.

              I am using this recipe which a friend made a few months ago and it was pretty good -

              http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Well, first off, I made a ton. You know the disposable aluminum turkey roasting pans? Yeah, I used one of those. Took two loaves of bread, a full 13x9 pan of cornbread plus three pounds of sausage, the onions & celery, mushrooms, etc.

                I was winging all of it and ended up using three quarts of liquid total. Mostly stock, plus butter and a little cream. Oh, I also used three eggs. Now, I was going for moist., As in, it would stick together when spooned out onto a plate, but not fall apart. I thought I had it with my amount of liquid, but next time, I'm going to add another quart's worth.

                I think if you add enough liquid to the point of being able to squish a handful, there's room for a little bit more. It really does soak up and bake out once it's in the oven.

                1. re: Violatp

                  Great, thanks! I am so looking forward to this dinner, yet it's still a while away it seems but thought I should be prepared and get the shopping done earlyish given the store hours with the intervening holidays.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    You're making me want to make another batch!

                    1. re: Violatp

                      I might have to whip up a trial batch :) What sausage did you use? My grandmother always uses this famous sage sausage that she gets from some butcher in some mysterious location where deep dark family recipe secrets are kept so my best options are regular grocery store.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        ha! I used plain old Jimmy Dean, sage flavor. I also eyeballed my added herbs. Sage, parsley, thyme. Oh, and I chopped up the herbs but wanted them finer, so I put the herbs along with some stock in the blender. Not only were they chopped super fine, but it helped with distribution.

                        Next time, I'm adding more sausage, too, but my family (and me!) loves the sausage. Even as I type this, I realize I have a simple proportion for mine. One pound bread plus one pound sausage plus one quart liquid plus one egg.

                        Hmm. I really need to make it again so I can write stuff down!

                        1. re: Violatp

                          Sounds wonderful, I can't wait. Did you cook it all in the roasting pan or stuff the turkey as well?

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            All in the pan. I'd love to stuff the turkey, but I'm outvoted.

                          2. re: Violatp

                            I agree with the Jimmy Dean - you need the fatty-est saugage you can find..... fat = flavor especially during the holidays;-)

                            1. re: sparky403

                              Absolutely, I pondered no sausage but then came to my senses and have acquired 2 lbs of sage sausage from Whole Foods.

                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                        Oh, and I just looked at your link - it looks very similar to what I did, so I think it's an excellent start. I think I had maybe four pounds of bread, total. Makes me think I may add an extra egg to my recipe, too!

            2. My recipe says it feeds 10-14 but I never seem to find suggestive serving sizes very helpful. How much bread do you usually use and how much stuffing does it make? The recipe does not specify cups of bread but 2.5 lbs (approximately 2 loaves of bread). I imagine with the stock the volume of bread shrinks down but in your experience, how much stuffing do you get per loaf? I plan to stuff the bird and if any leftover put in a casserole to heat in the oven. There are only a few of us and so I thought I might halve the recipe but didn't want to end up with not enough.

              1. This taste test from Serious Eats might be up your alley.
                http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/11/wh...

                I don't have much personal experience....in my family, the Pepperidge Farm bagged stuffing is untouchable. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: 4Snisl

                  Yea, I have read that article before and it's great and based on it I think I have decided to go with either Arnold white bread or challah or a mixture.

                2. I think the flavor, texture, and quality of the bread make a big difference in the finished stuffing. I do not necessarily dry the bread first, especially if it is not going into the cavity.

                  The Great Harvest Bread Company makes a stuffing loaf only Thkgvg and Xmas weeks. It is whole wheat with onion, celery, and sage. Great for stuffing/dressing and also for turkey sandwiches. That's my first choice. After that, a good brand of multigrain, oatmeal, or whole wheat bread, like Pepperidge Farm or Arnold. At the bottom of the list, those brands of white bread.

                  1. one of my local restaurants were getting rid of their day old bread a day or so before TG I was lucking enough to hook up on some great country style battards.... so keep this in mind.

                    I have made stuffing with fresh bread toasted in the oven (sour dough loafs) and it was great...I am not sure there's a wrong answer here....

                    I read somewhere that it's prefreable to dry / or lightly toast the bread in the oven - apparently it get's rid of more moisture... but again, for me no wrong answer.

                    1. The recipe I plan to use says it is enough to stuff several small birds or 2 to 3 18-22 lb birds. Ideally I would like to loosely stuff an 18 lb bird with some left over to put in a casserole dish to bake in the oven. Should I probably halve this recipe?