Why Ina Garten Suggests Toasting Bread Cubes Before Making Stuffing

Close up of Ina Garten
Close up of Ina Garten - Andy Kropa/Getty Images

Stuffing may be a once or twice-a-year side dish during holiday months, but because it doesn't frequently have a spot on the dinner table, when it does claim its place, it's mission-critical that it hits all the notes for your taste buds. One of the biggest challenges is to remember to give your bread enough time to go stale, but the good news is this step can be skipped. Ina Garten suggests toasting bread cubes to make your stuffing, revealing on the "Barefoot Contessa" that it only takes seven minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

"What it does is it crisps it and it dries it out a little bit and then it will absorb all the gorgeous flavors," Garten shares, noting that when it comes to the type of bread she uses, she prefers to buy a French boule. French boule looks like a round ball and is a bread lover's dream -- crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

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Bread Selection Matters

Stuffing in a pan on a table
Stuffing in a pan on a table - Bhofack2/Getty Images

French bread's dry, chewy, and dense texture helps with Garten's method to get it to crisp up quickly, but it may have you wondering why is it important for the bread to be dry when you make this dish in the first place. Stuffing's taste is all about layers and texture and that can only be achieved with a dry, crunchy loaf that is going to soak up the flavors from the aromatics and liquids you use to create it as it bakes. If you try to begin making your stuffing with soft bread, chances are you are going to have a mushy, unappetizing mess.

The store-bought is fine chef uses sautéed onions, celery, apples, and sausage to build the sweet and savory sensations your mouth is going to love with each bite of your stuffing. If you are making your stuffing for Thanksgiving day dinner, she recommends cooking it separately from the turkey. As she explains, this results in a nice moist bird and delicious stuffing, and neither's cooking time is jeopardized by the other.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.