English Bread Sauce

English Bread Sauce


  • 1 onion, peeled but left whole
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh white breadcrumbs
  • salt and crushed black pepper
  • 50g butter


  1. Stud the peeled onion with whole cloves.
  2. Place in saucepan; add milk and bay leaves. Heat gently to poach the onion until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard.
  3. Blend onion, milk and cloves together until smooth then add as many fresh white breadcrumbs as needed to achieve the consistency you like.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and stir in butter.
  5. Serve warm.

Cook’s Note

Bread sauce will keep in the fridge for about three days, I use the leftovers in turkey sandwiches – delicious!

Version 2


  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cloves , whole
  • 75g white breadcrumbs
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 pinch black pepper , freshly ground
  • 1 pinch nutmeg , grated


  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the salt, cream, bay leaf, and cloves, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow to stand for 20 minutes, so the flavours have time to infuse. (This can be prepared ahead and left to infuse, or the complete sauce can be made in advance.
  4. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film to prevent a skin forming.
  5. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to use, remove cling film and gently reheat).
  6. Discard the bay leaf and cloves, then pour the onion mixture into a food processor, and blend to a smooth purée. If you do not have a food processor, very finely chop the onion instead of slicing.
  7. Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a pan, and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to make a smooth, thickened sauce. (If you feel the sauce is too thick, then add a little more milk.)
  8. Stir in the onion purée, season to taste with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with nutmeg.

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