Bread sauce is a bit of a British oddity, but it tastes much better than it sounds - and it's easy to make too! Here's how to make homemade bread sauce.
Bread sauce is a weird one. It's one of those strange things that no Brit would be without... but the rest of the world probably finds a bit odd. I totally get why, but perhaps I can convince you just how wonderful bread sauce really is. If you'd like to make your own British-style bread sauce at home, it's easy peasy. Here's how to make it!
What is bread sauce?
Let's begin with: what on earth is bread sauce? Surely you can't pour bread onto your dinner?
Well... yes, you kind of can.
Bread sauce is basically breadcrumbs cooked in milk (with some other flavourings, to make it taste a lot better than it sounds). It's usually served with a roast dinner (or Christmas dinner!). It's actually my favourite part of any meal... perhaps tied with the roast potatoes!
It sounds utterly bizarre, I know, but it's so good. I'll admit, I do also enjoy the kind of bread sauce that comes as a powder in a packet (please don't take away my food blogger licence), but since Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought I'd celebrate by making this easy homemade bread sauce from scratch.
Where did bread sauce come from?
A lot of traditional British recipes can be traced back to a time when the country was pretty poor, and people had to make use of absolutely every scrap of food. That's why a lot of classic British recipes are super simple, with humble ingredients like vegetables, grains, and bread.
Bread sauce has actually been traced back to the medieval period - so we're potentially talking hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Isn't that bonkers?! Bread sauce has lasted this long as a popular British recipe because it's so flipping delicious. If that's not proof of how good it is, I don't know what is.
How do you make bread sauce?
Bread sauce doesn't need much - we Brits are pretty good at making something out of nothing. The main ingredients are literally just breadcrumbs and milk. So simple.
However, if those were the only ingredients you used, your sauce would be completely bland. I can imagine what most of you are picturing right now, if you're unfamiliar with bread sauce, and it's not nice.
Luckily, there are ways to transform that strange soggy bread mixture into a delicious bread sauce.
Bread sauce: looks odd; tastes ace.
Homemade bread sauce recipe
To make homemade bread sauce, you need to start by getting as much flavour into your milk as possible - before it's actually gone anywhere near the bread. This will ensure you end up with a super tasty bread sauce!
Just simmer the milk with onion, garlic and a bay leaf for a while, and you'll be so surprised at how much flavour you can impart.
Feel free to add any other extras you fancy. Whole cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, woody herbs like rosemary or thyme... it's all good.
Once your extra ingredients have given as much flavour as possible to the milk, remove them, and mix the breadcrumbs into the milk. Then, your sauce is ready. Easy!
It's fine if you want to use slightly stale bread to make your crumbs - I imagine that's why bread sauce was invented in the first place. It's a great way to avoid food waste.
How to serve bread sauce
Bread sauce is generally served warm, with some kind of roast dinner. I love to use my bread sauce to liven up my veg (it's great spooned over Brussels sprouts and green beans!).
It's also a vital element of any British Christmas dinner.
Easy homemade bread sauce
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- 1 onion, peeled and cut into a few chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 500 ml (~ 2 cups) milk
- 100 g (~ 1 ½ cups) breadcrumbs (approx. 2 thick slices bread, blitzed)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Black pepper
- Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to a pan with the milk. Place over a fairly low heat, and cook gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
- Use a sieve or a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and bay from the milk (if using a sieve, don't forget to put a bowl underneath when you pour it out!).
- Return the pan to a low heat, and add the breadcrumbs and butter. Cook for a minute or two until the breadcrumbs have cooked right into the milk, and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve warm. You can make the sauce in advance and reheat in the microwave if necessary.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for ⅙ of the recipe.