The rich spicey flavour of bread sauce is one of my favourite parts of a roast dinner, making an excellent accompaniment to white meat like chicken or turkey.
The extra effort of making it at home with fresh ingredients is well worth it. I much prefer it to shop bought alternatives.
Bread sauce is at its best when all the flavours infuse into the milk, ideally by starting the preparation the day before you would like to serve it.
Watch How To Make Bread Sauce
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For me it is not worth buying bread sauce. It is either home made or not at all. Whilst easy to make, it does take time. Ideally, prepare the sauce the day before to allow all the flavours to mingle. The result is a truly delicious accompaniment to chicken and turkey, and even better if there is a pork based stuffing on the plate too.
Take two onions and slice them in half, removing the dry outer skin. Stud the four onion halves with cloves. I don’t count how many cloves I use. My guide is to space them about 1 cm apart.
Choose a pan just big enough to fit the onions. This will help the milk to cover them. Before adding the milk, add the peppercorns, the bay leaves, and then pour the milk over the top.
Take the pan to the hob and bring to the boil over a medium heat. I gently stir the pan to prevent anything sticking.
As soon as the milk starts to boil, remove it from the heat. Cover the pan and leave it to stand for at least two hours, and ideally overnight. The longer you leave it, the more flavour will infuse into the sauce.
The next step is to thicken the sauce. As the name suggests, this is done with bread. Discard the crust from the bread, and tear apart the soft inside into crumbs.
All the onions and spices need to be removed from the milk. I did this with a slotted spoon, but you could also use a sieve. The peppercorns are the trickiest to find!
When this is done, take half of the butter and add it to the milk. Then tip in the breadcrumbs.
Like many sauces that need to thicken, the trick is use a moderate heat and stir frequently. Too high a heat and you may end up with the milk burning on the bottom of the pan and a lumpy sauce.
Keep on stirring and you will see the milk gradually start to thicken as the bread breaks down into the sauce. As the sauce heats, you will notice the lovely spicey aroma.
The sauce is ready when it is good and thick. It should be possible to scoop up the sauce in heaped spoonfuls. But do not overheat it because it can burn. As soon as the right consistency is reached, remove it from the heat.
The sauce is now almost ready to serve, but a good trick is to prepare it up to this point and then leave it for as long as needed to prepare the other parts of the meal.
Adding an onion back into the sauce will infuse more flavour, and cover with a lid.
It takes 5 minutes to finish the sauce. Remove the onion and pour in the cream. The remaining butter should be added too. Over a medium heat, reheat the sauce until it is hot, stirring as you go. But it does not need to boil.
Decant the bread sauce into a serving dish and enjoy!
Store any left over sauce in the fridge for a day or so.