Bread sauce

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Bread Sauce is a stalwart of the British kitchen and a classic on the British Christmas table. A bread sauce is a warm or cold sauce thickened with bread. It is a savoury sauce served with a main meal. The sole survivor of the medieval bread-thickened sauces, the traditional British bread sauce is made with milk, butter or cream, and bread crumbs, flavoured with onion, salt, cloves, mace, pepper and bay leaf, with the fat from roasting often added too. It typically accompanies domestic fowl such as turkey or chicken. The use of slightly stale bread is optimal, making it an economical way of using up leftover bread. The sauce is easy to make and uses readily available ingredients. The basic recipe calls for milk and onion with breadcrumbs and butter added as thickeners. Turkish cuisine also features a cold sauce made from breadcrumbs mixed with pounded walnuts or hazelnuts and served with chick pea salads and, most famously, with chicken or duck as Circassian chicken.


500 ml milk

1 medium onion, peeled and halved

6 black peppercorns

2 whole cloves

1 small blade mace, or 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

120 g fresh white breadcrumbs

30 g butter

sea salt, to taste

bread sauce


Put the milk in a saucepan with the onion, spices and salt and place over the medium heat. When the milk comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse, ideally for 1 hour but 15 minutes will do.

warm the milk again and add the breadcrumbs and butter, stirring well. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes. When ready, it should have body and thickness – a bit like a porridge.  if it is too thick, add a little more milk; if too thin, continue cooking until some liquid evaporates to give the desired consistency.


Once you have served your bread sauce, soak the pan in water as the remains can set and be difficult to remove come washing-up time.