Is Bread Sauce Actually Made With Bread?

Traditional British food is more often than not carb-heavy and/or hearty, with classics like battered fish & chips, tipsy cake, scotch eggs, and good old-fashioned Sunday roast. And while Brits don't celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey, they do traditionally consume the bird on Christmas, along with cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, and roasted potatoes, according to NPR. Though there won't likely be any marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes in sight, other Boxing Day meal sides in England include sausage links, carrots and parsnips, and bread sauce.

If you've never spent a Christmas in England sitting down over a traditional holiday meal, you may not have ever heard of bread sauce before. Famed food writer Nigella Lawson writes on her blog: "The idea of a bread sauce remains intensely baffling, possibly even disgusting, to any person who hasn't been brought up with British traditions ... [but] I regard bread sauce as not only my legacy from my mother, but every Briton's sacred and stodgy inheritance."

The ingredients in bread sauce

Bread sauce not only contains bread, it's mostly bread. While it may seem counterintuitive to make a sauce from bread, it is precisely that. Per Flawless Food, bread sauce is made out of milk that is turned into a thicker consistency with stale bread crumbs and given a boost of flavor with onion, butter, and other spices.

According to the food blog, The Past is a Foreign Pantry, bread sauce is creamy and similar to porridge in appearance. The earliest known antecedent to bread sauce is galentyne, a 14th century recipe that used a mix of finely ground bread crusts, spices, vinegar. In medieval times, people would use old bread to thicken sauces rather than flour, thus setting the stage for bread sauce (via NPR). For those who really love bread, The Past is a Foreign Pantry says your bread sauce can also be consumed "between two slices of cheap white bread which have been buttered and dotted with leftover stuffing bits."