The Cottage Smallholder

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Simple homemade bread sauce recipe

bread sauce ingredientsI got up quite early this morning to check the washing machine and dishwasher. One or other was leaking massively. It looked like both but discovered that it was the dishwasher and put a load of clothes on to wash while I did the big shop. I like shopping (don’t get out much at the moment) and had taken up Amanda’s idea of a meal plan. My list shimmered with an orchestra of relevant ingredients. Although I was tempted by a prima donna, not on the list. I signed her up on the spot. Spinach, in case you are wondering..

Rushing off to work this afternoon with the happy thought that Danny would be cooking roast chicken for supper, I was stopped in my tracks by this comment.
“I forgot to put bread sauce on the list!”

Danny and I are addicted to the Schwartz Luxury Bread Sauce Mix. For a moment I dithered. Danny’s roast chicken just wouldn’t be the same without bread sauce. I looked at the options. I could drive to Cambridge via Newmarket and get a pack. This would be a ridiculous waste of time and petrol.

Sometimes I am horrified how set in our ways we’ve become. Even though I say that we cook from scratch, we do use this instant ingredient a lot. I hadn’t thought about it until today. It was just something that we like and buy regularly. Quick reckoning tells me that the just the bread sauce element of our roast chicken meal costs £1.00/$2, with milk and electricity.

As I was pressed for time and am on the save 25% challenge I considered all options and finally settled on the most practical solution.

Why not have a go at making our own bread sauce?

When I announced this thought to Danny the response was quick.
“But do you know how to make it?”
“Well yes and no. In the olden days everyone made it. It can’t be hard.”
I could understand his aprehension. The Shwartz mixes are good.

I was in a rush so didn’t have time to examine our recipe books to find the best recipe. Occasionally in the past I had seen bread sauce kept warm with an onion studded with a few cloves sitting in the saucepan.

I quickly poured half a pint of milk into a saucepan, peeled and halved an onion, tossed in some blade mace and a couple of cloves and let the ingredients come to simmering point. I removed the saucepan from the heat to infuse until I returned from work. I also found a small end of a white loaf that I had secreted in the freezer just before it went stale.

I checked Prue Leith when I got home for the amount of bread needed and a method. Her recipe includes butter and cream and refers to bread crumbs.

The former too fattening, the latter too much of a hassle.

I removed the onion and spices. Then I cubed the bread and added it, and brought the milk slowly up to simmering point again. After a few minutes the bread softened and became a sauce. I added a large pinch of salt, pinch of nutmeg and quite a bit of freshly ground white pepper.

Danny tasted the bread sauce gingerly,
“Yes. It tastes just like bread sauce mix.” After I added the nutmeg he courageously sampled a bit more.” Great.. Less salty than Schwartz and much more subtle.”

Our bread sauce saved a bit of dosh too – 50% including the electricity and took just 10 minutes to prepare and cook after steeping.

Simple homemade bread sauce recipe


  • Half a pint of milk
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 piece of blade mace 1.5cm X0.25cm
  • Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g of fresh white bread cubed or crumbed
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


  1. Put the milk, onion, blade mace, cloves and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to simmering point and allow to infuse for at least an hour.
  2. Remove the onion and spice and add the cubed bread. Bring to simmering point and allow the mixture to simmer gently until the bread has broken down and with the milk and has formed a sauce. Season with salt and paper to taste.
  3. Pour into a warm dish and serve with roast chicken or turkey.

Before D lived in England, he had never tasted bread sauce. He’s now a convert. He agrees that it is an essential part of the quartet – roast chicken, streaky bacon, really good gravy, and bread sauce. For a feast, we’d both add Fred’s chipolatas but never stuffing. D uses the cavity to create exceptional gravy and ingredients that infuse the bird and create a melt in the mouth dish plus gravy to die for. But that’s another story…

  Leave a reply


  1. Swiss tony


  2. Fiona, why don’t you write a recipe book? I’m sure it would be very popular, and it would save us all a lot of time searching your archives for all those lovely recipes.

  3. I am like Cliff… My Mother taught me to make it and she used full cream milk and fresh white bread – crusts removed and torn – not crumbs. Onion, cloves and mace, but bay too – essential in her books. We used to have it just for Christmas but we have it all the time now so for Christmas we have Bread Sauce Royale. As above but with Saffron and finished with butter and cream. You can also float edible gold leaf on it if you want to be really festive. I like to leave the oninon and spices in, but the recipes always say to discard them.

  4. Banana_the_poet

    You will find your bread sauce goes to a different level again if you add a bay leaf to the milk infusion mixture. Try it and you’ll never want to eat the Schwartz stuff again.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Your Tartare sauce looks great! I’ve never made mayo and must try as it can’t be difficult with a food processor.

    Hi Amanda

    I reckon that the butter and cream are good additions to bread sauce. We ate the half pint easily with the meal – there’s usually quite a bit left over when we use the Schwartz mix – which the dogs enjoy.

    Ho Mildred

    I’s seems to be difficult to find a good tomato ketchup recipe. Perhaps I need to work undercover at Heinz.

    Great story about the jam roly poly!

    Hi Jo

    Lovely to read about your life in Wales (spent a good hour on your blog last night!).

    Wonderful to have produced the entire Christmas meal yourselves.

    I love reading the Smallholder magazine when I can get my hands on it.

    The diary project is really interesting. I’m sure that you’ll do well with it. I love goats cheese and grew up drinking goat’s milk for the first two years of my life, from my parent’s goats. The goat’s ‘cheddar’ is so versatile too.

    Your Barleycorn Bread looks great!

    Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Jo Knight @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi there Fiona –

    lovely Blog, you write beautifully. I made my first bread sauce at Christmas, & was delighted with it – delicious, & so easy to rustle up. It was served with an almost entirely home-produced meal as we used veggies from the garden, plus sausages & bacon from our pigs – & even our own hand-reared roast goose! A meal fit for a king (or at least a Knight as that’s who we are!).

    As you’ve probably gathered we’re fellow downshifters although things are going up a gear here in wild Wales: we are in the process of building an artisan goat dairy, making cheese etc on the farm for the local market. As well as the goats we have pigs, ponies, horses, sheep, ducks, geese, hens, cats & a dog; & of course we grow our own veg & have an orchard – so never a dull moment, as you can imagine. If you read ‘Smallholder’ magazine you may have seen my articles about Ffarm Fach, which means ‘Little Farm’ in Welsh – hence our company name, which is LittleFfarm Dairy. Feel free to drop by & visit our Blog; you’d be most welcome!

    Incidentally I was sorry to hear about Minamoo’s breadmaking problems in your ‘sherry vinegar lamb’ comments. I posted a recipe for Barleycorn Bread on my Blog yesterday as I baked a loaf of it on Sunday – it was fantastic & not too difficult so she might like to try it. It’s so delicious there won’t be enough left for bread sauce though I’m afraid….!!

    Best wishes,

    Jo & LittleFfarm Dairy menagerie.

  7. Fi, sorry, I don’t have a tomato ketchup recipe.

    When tom ketchup is mentioned it always reminds me of a story my hubby told me . . . when he was small his mum had to go into hospital for a few days, so his dad was on cooking duties. He promised to make Ian (7) a Jam Roly Poly pud . . . he couldn’t find any jam so guess what he used? Ugh, can you imagine – then picture it with watery, lumpy custard running over it too!!! Poor Ian was so upset he ran off crying his eyes out (I hope he doesn’t read this).

  8. I’m going to try making it my rushed way but add some butter and cream and see if I like it more. I’ve just ordered a chicken so maybe this week. I’ll also give Kate’s way a go too. You’ve sold me on the idea that bread sauce can be delicious so I’ve obviously missed something, and H absolutely loves it. It would be a good way to pad out the meat, leaving more on the carcass for other meals.

  9. I posted up the tartare sauce on my blog. But unfortunately I didn’t make my own mayo. That will come in the future I am sure. I did try once and didn’t like the result. Guess it is time to try again.

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