Christmas Easy: Traditional Bread Sauce

Traditional bread sauce is one of the great, classic British sauces, but I think it has suffered from either not being made properly or – worst of all – being made from a mix or packet. The real thing is beautifully creamy and the perfect accompaniment to turkey on Christmas Day.

Serves 8

Christmas Easy: Traditional Bread Sauce
 4 oz (110 g) freshly made white breadcrumbs (made from bread left out overnight - the best way to make breadcrumbs is in a blender, if you have one)
 1 large onion, peeled
 15-18 whole cloves or freshly grated nutmeg
 1 bay leaf
 8 black peppercorns
 1 pint (570 ml) whole milk
 1 oz (25 g) butter
 2 tablespoons double cream
 salt and freshly milled black pepper


Cut the onion in half and stick the cloves in it – how many you use is a personal matter; I happen to like a pronounced flavour of clove. If you don't like them at all, you can use some freshly grated nutmeg instead. Place the onion – studded with cloves – plus the bay leaf and the peppercorns, in a saucepan together with the milk. Add some salt then bring everything up to boiling point. Take off the heat, cover the pan and leave in a warm place for the milk to infuse for two hours or more.

When you're ready to make the sauce, remove the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and keep them on one side. Stir the breadcrumbs and butter into the milk. Leave the saucepan on a very low heat, stirring now and then, until the crumbs have swollen and thickened the sauce – about 10 minutes. Now stir in the cream, check the seasoning and replace the clove-studded onion, then transfer the sauce to a freezer container. Cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming.

When the sauce is cold, remove and discard the onion, then cover with a lid and freeze. (Alternatively, you can freeze bread sauce in a freezer bag.

To make this recipe gluten-free: Use gluten-free bread. You will need to double the amount of bread used (making it 8 oz/225 g). Freeze as above.

Print Page