Stuffing is typically stuffed and cooked inside the turkey while dressing is when it is cooked separately. I don’t stuff my turkey as it takes it much longer to cook. So technically, what I am making in this recipe is dressing. We grew up calling it stuffing, so that is what my family calls it. I make it nice and moist so, as it bakes, it doesn’t dry out.
I make my own gluten-free bread croutons. I start with homemade bread. When making stuffing I do a mix of homemade gluten-free sourdough bread and my enriched gluten-free bread machine bread. I like the depth of flavor the two breads give the stuffing.
To make the croutons, I cut up the slightly dried out bread ( I let it sit out for a couple days) into large cubes and put them on a baking sheet. I drizzle the cubes with olive oil, then sprinkle salt, black pepper and poultry seasoning on them. Toss to coat and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit till they are golden brown and crispy. I turn them about halfway through. They usually need to cook 20-30 minutes. I let them cool and I then bag them up and store them in the freezer till the day before Thanksgiving and take them out to defrost before making the stuffing.
In the video, I left the crust on the sourdough bread and it took it a long time to soften. This year, I cut the crusts off the bread before cubing the bread. I did season and toast the crusts too, but I ground them up in my blender to make bread crumbs for chicken nuggets. No waste and it will make the stuffing bread croutons easier to soften!
You can use whatever your favorite gluten-free bread is. Just save the ends in the freezer, extra bagels, any type of bread you eat. The sourdough bread I make uses a sourdough starter I got from Cultures for Health, originally. I make the bread using the recipe from the online class I took through Wyndelin Farm (in Canada). I have no affiliation with the class other than I took it online in 2020 and I really loved her recipes and method of feeding her starter. I have made many items with my sourdough based on her recipes.
You can use all one type of bread for your stuffing, it will still be delicious. The other type of homemade bread I use is this enriched, gluten-free bread machine bread. This is a delicious bread and easy to make. I make several loaves over a few weeks and make the croutons to use for the stuffing.
Vegetables, spices, bone broth, and eggs
To make the stuffing, I dice onions and celery into a pretty small diced size. I sautéed those vegetables with avocado or olive oil and some salt and pepper. I want them to be completely soft, but not caramelized. This step can be done a couple of days in advance, I just put the cooked vegetables in the refrigerator and add them to the bread cold. I use all organic vegetables, I prefer the flavor and would rather have less toxic chemicals put on my food.
You can also add mushrooms to the vegetables. I love mushrooms, but my daughter does not, so I sometimes make a pan with and a pan without. Usually, I just leave them out, so she can eat the stuffing.
I use Celtic sea salt, ground black pepper and poultry seasoning in my stuffing. I add a sprinkle of paprika on the top before I bake it.
I use homemade chicken bone broth. Since the broth is homemade it doesn’t have much salt in it, so if you use store bought broth or stock, you will want to use less salt.
I add eggs, based on how much stuffing I have. A very large bowl will probably be about 4 eggs. I get my eggs from a local farm, so they aren’t graded for size, but I would say they are close to what is called a large egg.
I don’t have a set recipe. It is more of by the taste amounts. If you like very little vegetables, add less, if you want it more seasoned, add more. It all depends on how much you are making and how much bread croutons you have.
How I put the stuffing together
I add the bread cubes to a very large bowl. I have warm chicken bone broth at hand. I add the vegetables and mix them into the croutons. I then add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning tossing the crouton/vegetable mix to coat. I then start adding ladles full of the warm broth, 2-4 ladles to start with. I let it start to soak into the croutons and then turn the material at the bottom of the bowl to the top and let it sit, stirring it every few minutes. As it absorbs the liquid, I add more. You may see liquid pool at the bottom of the bowl, just leave the bread to soak it in for a few minutes and stir it.
The bread will begin to break up the more it softens. I add quite a bit of broth to my stuffing to make it moist. It will look like more of a thick batter with some texture when it is ready. Once it is to the point I like it and the bread is softened and mixed well, I taste for seasonings and add more as needed. Once it is seasoned to how I like it, I add some beaten eggs. For a large bowl (like 16-20 cups of bread croutons to start) I add 4 eggs. Beat the eggs and then add them to the mixture and mix well.
Grease the pan!
I always oil/grease my baking pan to help get the stuffing to release after it is done cooking. It still may stick a bit, but it does help.
I add the stuffing mixture to the greased pan and spread it evenly. I then sprinkle the top with paprika (it gives it a nice color when it bakes). I place it in a 350 degree oven and cook for 45-60 minutes till golden brown and cooked through.
Let it cool slightly before serving. It should have firmed up as it cooked and have a nice heavy texture and be nice and moist.