Well, as most of my Canadian readers know, our October Canadian Thanksgiving weekend has long since passed. However, for my American readers who celebrate American Thanksgiving next Thursday, or for those wanting to get a jump on any Christmas turkey plans, I have a great recipe here for you to consider adding to your repertoire!
Now, everyone and their dog (especially the dog, those sneaky wuffers) knows at least one stuffing recipe that goes either inside, or alongside a turkey. And if I’m wrong and you have NO IDEA how to make stuffing, shame shame on you, and it’s a good thing I’m here to enlighten you from your sad, stuffingless exsistence!
The components of a stuffing (or farce as it’s called in French) are thus:
• Stale bread, cubed or shredded
• Herbs, fresh or dried
• Vegetables, diced, minced, or shredded
• Berries and/or nuts, chopped (optional)
• Meaty bits, diced or shredded (optional)
• Liquid (usually a stock of some kind)
Mix these things all together, in a myriad of combinations and customizations, bung it in the oven (or in the bird and *then* in the oven), and you have a yummy bread stuffing!
Some years ago, bakeries got all inventive and thought: “Hey, people are buying our cheapest loaves of bread just to slice, dice or tear them up and let them get all stale to make stuffing with; why don’t we get an edge on our competition and make (more expensive) Stuffing Bread?”
And so Stuffing Bread, AKA bread that has all of the herbs and spices already baked into it, was invented. Brilliant, right? It only seems to appear just before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is usually sold unsliced so you can hack it to bits in whatever manner befits your culinary style.
But one problem-o, at least in my eyes; when a component of a well-beloved, highly customizable family recipe such as *stuffing* is made by a commercial bakery, by its very nature it becomes standardized and therefore loses some of the appeal. If your stuffing tastes like preservatives (bleh), or exactly like your next door neighbour’s and a hundred other families down the street from you, then what’s the point?
So, the solution: make your own stuffing bread! Hey, you’re going all-out for this holiday anyway, so you may as well make the bread for the stuffing while you’re at it! (*cheesy grin*).
And a nod to honesty in blogging: no, I did not make this stuffing bread for our own Thanksgiving dinner back in October. I wanted to, but Thanksgiving or Christmas, whichever we are hosting at our home, is my hubby’s one day of the year in which he takes over the kitchen duties completely. Only at the last minute and with copious begging was I “allowed” to prep for him so he could spend some time with his family. I ended up making a slight variation of his mother’s stuffing, which was DELICIOUS BY THE WAY (thanks, Barb!), but if I had to do it again, I would TOTALLY make this stuffing bread to bring it to next-level yumminess!
How to use: Substitute it for the cubed bread and seasonings called for in your favourite stuffing recipe.
ProTip: This easy-to-make bread would be incredible for leftover turkey sandwiches the day after.
Holiday Stuffing Bread
Original Source: King Arthur Flour
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rise Time: 2-3 hours
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
- 3 cups unbleached AP flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp celery salt
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp of your favourite herb combination (some suggestions: poultry seasoning or sage, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, nutmeg, basil, oregano, rosemary, did I mention SAGE?)
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 large egg
- ½ onion, finely diced
- ½ cup celery, finely diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
All In Method: Toss all ingredients into a large bowl, and mix together, then as the dough gets stiff, start to knead until the dough is supple and no longer very sticky.
Place dough in lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (sprayed side down) and a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for about 2 hours. Deflate the dough gently (do not “punch” the dough like the expression calls for or much of your hard work will be for nothing, thankyouverymuch), and shape it into an 8” log. Tuck in the ends of the dough for a nice appearance, and place into a lightly greased 8½“ x 4½“ loaf pan.
Cover the pan loosely with the plastic wrap from before and allow loaf its second rise, about an hour, until it has risen about 1” over the pan’s rim. During that hour, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Remove the plastic wrap and pop into the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with foil halfway through if it appears to be browning too quickly. The bread should be golden brown.
Remove loaf from oven, let it set on a cooling rack for a minute or two, then gently loosen the edges and turn it out on the rack to cool completely.
Allow the bread to completely cool before wrapping tightly for storage. Can be stored for 4-5 days at room temperature, or double wrap and freeze for longer storage.