The Right Way to Dry Bread for Stuffing

The Right Way to Dry Bread for Stuffing

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, the broth-soaked bread dish is a Thanksgiving must-have. Though it’s not advisable to stuff the turkey with anything, it’s commonly agreed upon that “stuffing” is usually made with a white bread of some kind—usually sandwich bread or sourdough—and that the bread should be dried (not staled).

No matter what kind of bread you start with, it has to be ready to receive flavorful liquid, which means you have to strip the bread of its moisture. A lot of recipes recommend you stale your bread, rather than dry it, but using fully dried bread gives your stuffing a better texture (and it takes less time).

What’s the difference between drying and staling?

Drying is the simple act of removing as much moisture as you can from your bread, usually in a low-temp oven, resulting in cracker-y, crispy cubes. Staling is a little different: Moisture evaporates, but it also migrates from swollen starch granules into the airy spaces in the crumb and into the bread’s crust. Those starches then realign and recrystallize without the moisture, resulting in bread that is dry, but not crisp. Instead of crispy little cubes, you get leathery, chewy pieces that are less able to absorb broth, which is not what I personally want in my favorite bread-based side dish.

How to dry your bread for stuffing

Drying is faster than staling it (which takes a few days), so you don’t have to worry about “forgetting to stale the bread” and can focus instead on “forgetting to take the turkey out of the freezer.”

Start by cubing your bread into bite-size pieces, then dry them in a 275℉ oven for 45 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes to encourage even drying. According to Serious Eats, this technique gives “about two and a half pounds of bread” the ability “to absorb a whopping four cups of rich and savory chicken or turkey broth.” Creating a bread cube that can absorb a bunch of broth is the entire point, so I’d call this a “good method” and “what I will be doing from here on out.”

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply