Stuffing is typically made during the holidays when people make giant turkeys or chickens to feed their families. It’s excellent for enhancing the flavor profile of other things, too, such as seafood and vegetables.
While this may be a “holiday staple” in most people’s homes, it’s a monthly staple in mine. My kids and I love stuffing, and we tend to eat it often. That said, I make it regularly and have discovered some of the best bread to use for stuffing.
White bread will always remain the “top dog” when it comes to making stuffing. However, I’m a big fan of the rich flavors provided by Brioche and the intense flavors of Focaccia. In a pinch, I will even use plain bagels successfully.
Keep reading to learn which bread is the best bread to use for stuffing.
- Best Bread to Use for Stuffing: Top 4 Picks
- Bread to Avoid for Stuffing
- Final Words
Best Bread to Use for Stuffing: Top 4 Picks
There is no rulebook when it comes to which bread to use for stuffing. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should opt for bread with a tight crumb, low water content, and neutral flavors. This type of bread will soak up moisture and flavoring for a lovely taste and texture.
Which ones are ranked as the “best,” though? Let’s find out.
1. White Bread
Everyone (and their Mother) will tell you that white bread is the best choice for stuffing.
That is because white bread has a notoriously tight crumb and fluffy texture, which means it will soak up moisture and flavors impressively. It also has a neutral flavor profile that won’t overpower.
Perhaps the best part is that white bread is relatively cost-effective and can be found anywhere. So, whether you opt for the $0.50 bread at your local big-box store or spend a few extra dollars for a higher-quality bread, you can achieve “stuffing greatness” with white bread.
2. Brioche Bread
Brioche bread is very similar to white bread, making brioche the obvious runner-up choice for stuffing. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s the top pick. Why? Because of the incredible flavor.
You see, the most significant difference between white bread and brioche bread is the flavor. Brioche is created with eggs, which adds an evident richness to the stuffing. This added richness might not be for everyone, but for my kids and me, it’s a blessing.
Aside from the distinct flavor difference, you can rest assured that brioche will act the same way as white bread. That’s because it is still a tight crumb loaf with low hydration so that it will absorb moisture for a lovely stuffing every time.
3. Focaccia Bread
Now, I know I said earlier that the bread you use for stuffing should have a tight crumb and neutral flavor. But I’m a baker that likes to step out of the box and play with flavors. I found that the Focaccia Bread took my stuffing to the next level.
Focaccia bread has larger holes (air pockets), so it might not render the exact same results as white bread or brioche bread. But, sometimes, I compromise texture for flavor, especially when making specific recipes.
For example, I might make stuffing using Focaccia bread if I’m looking for rosemary, garlic, and other spices to play with complementing seasonings on my chicken or turkey. It turns out great; it’s just “different,” – which isn’t always bad.
The last option is bagels. I know you’re probably scratching your head at this one. But hear me out. I’m a single working mother of two. I don’t always have time to go to the grocery store. Yet, I always have a thing of bagels hiding in my fridge or freezer.
When you’re in a pinch, there is truly nothing wrong with reaching for bagels. Yes, it’s a little “odd,” but it works like a charm. This is due to the fact that bagels readily absorb moisture and have a neutral flavor, much like white bread.
The only thing to keep in mind is that using bagels will create heavier stuffing, which isn’t exactly a negative thing. You should also stick to using plain bagels. As much as my family loves blueberry and raisin bagels, they’re not exactly a good choice for stuffing!
Bread to Avoid for Stuffing
Just as there are four recommended types of bread for stuffing, there are a few you should avoid at all costs.
1. Bread That Is Too “Open”
If bread is too “open” – i.e., they have a lot of air pockets and larger holes – it won’t work well for making stuffing. The most common “open” bread types include ciabatta, sourdough, and all French loaves of bread.
2. Bread with Too Much Hydration
Loaves of bread with too much hydration won’t be able to soak up moisture, which is a critical part of making stuffing. That said, it’s best to avoid whole wheat and whole-grain bread. Although these are great for toast and sandwiches, they’re not ideal for stuffing.
3. Bread with Intense Flavors
Okay, so I mentioned earlier that focaccia bread gets the green light for stuffing. But that’s mainly because the flavors complement most stuffing spices. In my opinion, they bring out the flavor further.
However, certain bread types come with intense flavors that won’t work well. For example, Pumpernickel and German Rye bread come with intricate and fierce flavors that will not taste good in stuffing recipes.
When it comes to making stuffing, you have to be picky with which bread type you utilize. If you want to learn more about this topic, check out these commonly asked questions below.
Can you use Italian bread for stuffing?
You can definitely use Italian bread for stuffing – especially kinds such as ciabatta and focaccia. In fact, there are Italian-style stuffing recipes that specifically ask for Italian bread. Don’t hesitate to use it and enjoy some new flavor profiles.
Can you use sourdough bread for stuffing?
Sourdough is not recommended for stuffing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. If you’re a sourdough devotee, you can use sourdough in specific recipes.
Can you use any bread for stuffing?
Honestly, you can use any kind of bread for stuffing. Obviously, if you do not use one of my top four picks, the texture and flavor may be altered. Again, this might not end up being “bad” – just different. If you want to try to shake up your usual stuffing recipe, consider using a new bread type.
Should you toast bread for stuffing?
It’s best for bread to dry out in the oven rather than in the toaster. The low-and-slow method of the oven will develop flavor while strengthening the bread, allowing for it to absorb moisture more readily. This results in stuffing with a desirable texture and decadent taste.
When it comes to stuffing, the best bread choices include white, brioche, focaccia, and bagels. Each type of bread comes with its own slew of positives and negatives, so it’s up to you which bread you want for your desired final product.
What is your favorite bread to use for stuffing? Do you have a “family secret” bread you want us to try? Share in the comment section!About Michelle