A traditional accompaniment to Christmas dinner – or indeed any roast meal.

bread sauceIf you haven’t had it before, its weird just how creamy this sauce is – its lightly spiced – you’d never (I wouldn’t have anyway!) that its primarily thickened with breadcrumbs.

Its really great warm, or cold with leftovers. I’ve simplified the recipe from some – but it does still need cloves and nutmeg, which I appreciate are not exactly store staples. That said, I made it in China, where I couldn’t get anything but the bay leaves to flavour it with.

I know Christmas has passed, well nearly, but I am preparing a late Xmas dinner which I couldn’t have earlier. When I found out other Brits hadn’t tried it before, I thought I have to post it!


  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves
  • 1-2 fresh bay leaves, depending on their size
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1 1 tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
  • ~1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 750 ml (1 1/4) pints full-fat milk
  • 280 g white breadcrumbs, preferably from a stale loaf (crust trimmed)
  • 35 g/11z butter
  • 3 tbsp double cream, optional – but highly recommended


  1. Peel the onion, but leave it whole. Then stick in the cloves in it.
  2. Add all the ingredients up to the milk into a pan and bring to just off the boil. Then remove from the heat.
  3. Leave the milk and spices to infuse – for at least 1/2 hour and up to 3 hours.
  4. When you’re ready, strain the milk – and discard the spices and onion.
  5. Return the milk to the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until it is thick and smooth.
  7. Stir in the butter until melted and incorporated.
  8. Stir in the cream, season and serve.

The key to getting this as sooth as possible, is how finely you grate the breadcrumbs.