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Inexperienced: What did I do wrong: stuffing

kathpdx's picture

Hi,

I hope this is a good place to post this.  I found what looked like a very basic and well liked recipe for thanksgiving stuffing.  I believe I followed the recipe exactly, but it turned out REALLY tough and chewy.  This alone may be enough information for many of you to say what I probably did wrong.  

I would like to use this recipe again - making adjustments to my errors... assuming I can figure out what they are.

I'll attach the recipe (cuz I'm apparently triggering a spam filter):   It is from fine cooking . com and is from recipes/bread-stuffing-fresh-herbs.aspx

...and here is where I WONDER if I failed:

  The bread (crunchy french) was bought the day before and cut into 1/2" cubes as stated. (1) Could the cubes still have been too large?    I left them in the oven (NOT on) overnight, and the next day I did add a teensy bit of heat (turned oven on for maybe 3 minutes, two different times.)  Bread was then toasted as directed.   (2) Could I have over dried the bread?

When adding the stock, I was trying to be careful not to go over the 'fully absorbed' but not soggy threshold.  I did not think I had, but (3) could the toughness come from over-moist bread?

This was all for a potluck, so another factor was: After it finally came out of the oven, I let it sit uncovered for maybe 10 minutes so that I wasn't trapping in too much steam...   And then, It wasn't eaten for at least another hour.

I am hoping to be able to contribute when my neice makes a turkey for us in a few weeks, so I appreciated ANY help so that I can avoid the errors/toughness.

 

MANY thanks for your help.

Pielove's picture

chewy? (post #71557, reply #1 of 4)

Hi kathpdx!

  That is an interesting problem and I'm not sure I can help, but I hope Gretchen will be along soon, she is very experienced with such matters.  That said, I think if you had over-moistened the bread, then it would be soggy not chewy.  Smaller cubes of bread might be a good idea-- also, perhaps you could try a different type of bread.  I have had good luck with the create-your-own stuffing thing:

 http://www.finecooking.com/articles/cyor/bread-stuffing.aspx

Good luck and do report back!

Cheers, Jen

Pielove's picture

woohoo... (post #71557, reply #2 of 4)

...I managed to post a link without triggering the spam filter!  

Jen

Gretchen8's picture

That is about the same recipe (post #71557, reply #3 of 4)

That is about the same recipe I use for my bread STUFFING--in the turkey. You about can't get too much onions and celery--and parsley. Can't remember if this one had parsley.

I think the problem was probably the type of bread you used--IF it was a French baguette type--very crusty outside and deliciously "pully" inside--IF you are using it for what French baguette is supposed to be for!!  'o).  That style bread is just too "chewy" for many things, like French toast and dressing, in my opinion, and the crust is too hard.

I use just plain jane cheap sandwich bread for this, and cut off the crusts.  I have made it as dressing (outside the turkey) and done much as the directions say, but without eggs--just turkey broth.  I don't think the drying did it. I usually put mine in a very low oven, and let it dry out, but not completely and not really toasted.

But check back and see if I hit it with the type of bread. For French toast, for example, I use the supermarket style Italian bread--sort of big loaf, soft inside, and a sort of soft crust--just the shape, and the ability to slice it as thick as I want to.

contentcook's picture

au contraire (post #71557, reply #4 of 4)

I use french bread for my stuffing all the time and it is nevery chewy.  BUT as in most things: Size matters.:).

If you look at store brand stuffing cubes you will see they are quite small.  this is for a reason.  as stated above, chewy crust can get chewy in the stuffing if not diced up.

So next year try this:

Cut up the baguette into smaller (store brand size) cubes.  Let them sit for a couple of days in the paper sleeve they came in (top rolled down).  After a coupel of days they will be fairly hard.  now melt some butter add some minced garlic, salt and fresh herbs and toss the cubes with the butter mixture in a bowl.  MAke sure ot salt well.  this is the major issue with stuffing.  Bland from no salt.

Finish your stuffing with whatever else you use: onions, celery, chestnuts, apples, raisins, list is endless but onions and celery are mandatory.  also, it really helps to make your own broth.  just take chicken/turkey necks and or giblets and cover them with water and cook for about 30 minutes on stove top.  SALT broth.  Adding fresh herbs , onions and celery to the broth really helps.  remember-this is the major basis for flavor in a stuffing!.

Mash the stuffing really tightly into the dish you are baking it in.  bake it covered for about 40 minutes then take the cover off and let it bake another 10 or so minutes.  It will be perfect.

another benefit of making your own broth is if you are making a turkey, you can use this to baste it which will then flavor the gravy....

hope this helps!

jb