Perfect with roast chicken or roast turkey, this Easy Peasy Bread Sauce is quick and simple to make and knocks the socks off powdered packet bread sauce. Once you’ve tasted the real deal, there’s no going back!
Easy Peasy Bread Sauce
I grew up on the sort of bread sauce that comes out of a packet, and I always thought making bread sauce from scratch must be very hard… so it was a wonderful discovery as an adult, that homemade bread sauce from scratch is really very easy!
It’s as simple as throwing in a few simple flavourings, such as cloves, nutmeg, onions, bay leaves and peppercorns, into a pan of milk, bringing it to the boil, then turning it off and leaving the milk to infuse – taking on those wonderful flavours.
Finally all you need to do is sieve the milk to remove the flavourings and throw in a large handful of roughly torn white bread (no need to faff around creating breadcrumbs for this recipe), then simmer until the right consistency.
And voilà – perfectly cooked classic homemade bread sauce, full of flavour and absolutely no random unpronounceable additives. Plus, of course, it tastes amazing. Once you’ve tasted proper homemade bread sauce, there’s no going back to those powdered packet mixes!
What to flavour bread sauce with
The most important part of making a well flavoured bread sauce, is to flavour the milk. In this recipe, I have kept the flavourings very classic, by using an onion, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper and bay leaves.
The beauty of making your own bread sauce is, of course, that you can adjust the proportions to suit your preferences: if you like a strongly flavoured bread sauce, increase the quantities of the flavourings; if you prefer a milder flavour, then reduce them. And if you don’t like one of the flavours, well, you can leave it out altogether!
To get the flavour into the milk, simply add the flavourings to a pan of milk, bring it almost to the boil, then turn off and allow to infuse for about 30 minutes (or up to an hour, if you can).
No need for breadcrumbs!
Most recipes for bread sauce call for breadcrumbs, usually from a slightly stale loaf of bread that is roughly 2 days old. Well I don’t know about you, but I NEVER have a loaf of bread that is at EXACTLY the right stage for breadcrumbs. Nor do I usually have the patience to faff around turning said loaf into breadcrumbs.
Fortunately, in this recipe, that’s not a problem. You can simply rip your bread (fresh or a few days old – it really doesn’t matter… just so long as it’s not gone mouldy!) into rough chunks, which takes less than 5 minutes – and is weirdly a lot of fun! (Or maybe that’s just me?) This would also be a great task to ‘delegate’ to younger members of your household or guests. It’s my experience that young children love this sort of task and are very good at it!
While this recipe will work just fine with almost any loaf of bread, from the cheapest value loaf in your supermarket to the most artisanal sourdough you can find, I would really recommend you choose bread to use in this recipe that tastes really good. Bread is a big element of the flavour of bread sauce, so the nicer your bread tastes, the nicer your bread sauce will taste!
Perfect with roast chicken
This delicious classic bread sauce is perfect served with roast chicken. The flavours of cloves, nutmeg, bay, onion and black pepper go so well with the flavour of roast chicken.
Perfect for Christmas
While this bread sauce is just wonderful with your regular Sunday roast chicken, it’s especially good with roast turkey at Christmas!
Make ahead bread sauce
And, especially at Christmas time when you are juggling lots of pots and pans all at once, it’s great to know that this bread sauce can be made ahead and just gently reheated right before you need it.
Simply make the bread sauce as per the recipe a day or two ahead of when you need it, cool it and pop it in a lidded plastic box and into the fridge.
When you need it, tip it into a small saucepan with an extra splash of milk and heat until piping hot all the way though and starting to bubble.
Can you freeze bread sauce?
Absolutely, and if you want to get even further ahead, then I recommend you do this.
Simply make your bread sauce as per the recipe, then cool it and put it in a lidded plastic box in the freezer. It will keep there happily for up to a month.
When you need it, simply defrost overnight in the fridge and then reheat as per the instructions above.
Adaptations to try
I have kept this Easy Peasy Bread Sauce very simple, with just a few classic flavourings and no butter or cream.
If you want to make this classic bread sauce a little richer, then by all means add in a splash of cream and/or a knob of butter just before serving.
You could also try other flavourings such as thyme, rosemary, garlic or allspice. And you could switch out the nutmeg and use mace instead, if you prefer.
No need to ‘stud’ the onion
Almost every recipe for bread sauce tells you to ‘stud’ the onion with the cloves. And whilst this looks pretty, it’s extra faff and no one is actually going to see it apart from you!
I can only imagine people do this to make it easier to get the cloves out before you add in the breadcrumbs… but I just use a sieve to remove the cloves / onion / bay leaves etc. which is much quicker and less faffy… and is necessary anyway to get all the other bits out, so not actually adding a step!
So, unless you really WANT to stud your onion with the cloves, you can skip this step and just chuck the cloves straight into the milk along with the other flavourings.
If you like Easy Peasy Bread Sauce…
…then you might like:
- Easy Peasy Cranberry Sauce
- Classic Roast Chicken and Homemade Gravy
- Easy Roast Turkey Crown
- How to cook perfect roast turkey – the stress-free way!
- Easy Peasy Turkey Gravy
- Easy Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls
Easy Peasy Bread Sauce
- 500 ml milk
- 1 onion cut into quarters
- 10 cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 100 g white bread (without crusts) torn into rough chunks
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Put the milk, onion quarters, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and nutmeg into a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and allow to come up to almost boiling (about 10 – 15 minutes).
- Turn the burner off and pop a lid on your pan. Allow the milk to sit there and infuse with the flavours for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. (The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour.)
- Next, strain the milk through a sieve into a clean saucepan and add the roughly torn bread and salt.
- Bring the bread sauce back up to the boil, then turn it down to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the bread sauce is reduced to your preferred thickness.
- Serve with roast chicken, turkey or duck.
- To make ahead, cook as above then put in a plastic lidded box and place in the fridge or freezer.
- To reheat, defrost if necessary, then place in a small saucepan with a splash of milk and heat until piping hot all the way though.
- For a richer bread sauce, stir through a splash of cream and/or a knob of butter just before serving.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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