How to Dry Bread for Stuffing
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With or without an oven!
Here's the thing about stuffing: it's a completely personal thing! Some people like cornbread stuffing while others prefer one made with ciabatta. Some families go for a sweeter stuffing with apples, nuts, or dried fruits and others will prefer it savory with sausage or mushrooms. Then, there's the whole stuffing vs. dressing debate (one is made in a casserole the other is stuffed in the turkey). And while there are so many different stuffing recipes to choose from, there's one thing that remains the same for any variation: the bread must be dry!
It might seem counter-intuitive to make Ree Drummond's fresh skillet cornbread only to leave it out to become stale, but trust Ree when she says, "The bread needs to be dry, dry, dry... dry!" The reason for this is that stale or dry bread will hold up better after cooking and keep its texture even after adding your broth or liquid. If you use soft, fresh bread, you'll ultimately wind up with a soggy, mushy stuffing.
So, how do you dry bread for stuffing? There are two ways to go about it. If you've planned your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time, you can cut your bread into cubes and leave them out to become stale overnight. Or, if you're short on time, you can use the oven method for a quick and easy way to dry. Read on for more about drying bread in the oven versus leaving it out to become stale.
If you don't want to leave your bread out for days, try the oven method for drying out your bread! Keeping the bread in a single layer and baking it low and slow is the best way to go. Here's how to do it:
Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and put them in an even layer on a sheet pan. Bake at 300°F for 40 minutes, giving them a stir every 10 minutes or so. You don't necessarily want them to be golden like croutons, but they should be completely dry.
Pick a bread, any bread! The best part about stuffing is that there are so many types of bread based on your families preferences. You can use cornbread, Italian bread, French bread, white sandwich bread, challah, or even sourdough.
If you don't want to take up space in the oven, you can always leave the bread out on the counter to dry. A day or two before you assemble your stuffing, cut the bread into cubes.
Then, lay the cubes onto sheet pans and let them dry out at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.
If you leave the bread out on the counter to go stale, it can take up to a couple of days to become dry. Prefer a quicker method? Drying your bread in the oven will only take about 40 minutes. You can even do it a few days ahead and store the dried bread cubes in an air-tight container. For more time-saving stuffing tricks, try our Crock-Pot stuffing when you're in a pinch!
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