Brown Bread Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking for Christmas

Cooking for Christmas

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1978

  • About

I can hardly believe now that I hated bread sauce as a child (except when I see a dish of the white, glutinous mass which regrettably passes for bread sauce in too many establishments). With its combination of texture and creaminess, with soft pieces of onion and a hint of clove and nutmeg, I find that bread sauce always proves to be the most popular accompaniment to my Christmas turkey or goose. Brown bread adds both flavour and texture and in this simplest of methods you can cook the sauce either very slowly on top of the stove or in a low oven. A solid fuel cooker is ideal for this recipe if you have one. Some breads absorb more or less liquid than others, so check from time to time to see if you need add either more milk or a little more crumbled bread. You can make the sauce up to three days in advance, cover the top with greaseproof paper and keep it in the fridge to re-heat when needed. You can always remove the crusts from the bread if you don’t like dark flecks in the sauce, but I think it’s much nicer if you keep the crusts on.


  • 1 large onion
  • 5 oz (150 g) wholemeal or brown bread
  • 3 oz (75 g) butter
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ of a whole nutmeg, grated
  • pints (900 ml) creamy milk
  • pints (900 ml) double cream
  • sea salt, black pepper


Peel the onion and chop it up small. Tear the bread, including the crusts, into smallish pieces and put these with the onion into a heavy saucepan, or into an ovenproof dish if you want to cook the sauce in the oven. Dot with the butter and cloves, sprinkle with the nutmeg and season with a little salt and black pepper. Mix the milk and the cream and pout it over the other ingredients.

To cook on top of the stove, put the covered saucepan over the lowest possible heat, stirring now and then to break up the bread, for 1½-2 hours. To cook in the oven, heat the oven to Gas Mark ½/250°F/130°C and put the covered dish in for 1½-2 hours, stirring round two or three times, until you have a fairly thick sauce. Lastly, check the seasoning, adjust it to taste and remove the cloves, if you can find them.