Here in the Bay Area we take our sourdough bread very seriously.
San Francisco locals will point you in a few different directions as to where you can find the best loaf of this tangy, crusty bread. A general rule of thumb is that the older the sourdough starter, the tastier the bread. It all has to do with the temperature and humidity level in the air so Tartine’s sourdough, for example, might taste completely different that another bakery’s sourdough just across town.
You can also make your own sourdough by just combining water and flour and letting it “ripen” over a period of days and weeks. But be warned…it will get FUNKY!
I have a friend who has a 50 year old sourdough starter in his fridge and let’s just say it ain’t pretty. But it sure is tasty.
The sourdough I used for this stuffing comes from a small bakery near my house. I love where I live because it’s walking distance from an amazing local grocery shop and bakery that has rows and rows of just-baked breads, rolls and pastries. This bakery is famous for their sourdough though and it made for an absolutely perfect stuffing when combined with herbs, veggies and lots and lots of mushrooms (my favorite!).
The hardest part (to me) about making homemade stuffing is adding just the right amount of broth. You certainly don’t want your stuffing too dry, but there’s not much worse than soggy stuffing either. Who wants wet bread alongside their turkey? Not I. And neither do you!
And you know what else you don’t want? Stuffing that has been actually stuffed inside a turkey. I know that’s the way your grandma made it but in this case, grandma’s setting you up for a nasty foodborne illness. The reason for this is that it’s difficult to cook stuffing evenly inside of a bird so there’s the possibility some of the stuffing might still be undercooked at the table.
Folks, undercooked stuffing = raw turkey = salmonella. So let’s save the middle of the night dashes to the bathroom and instead just enjoy a nice golden puffy stuffing served out of your favorite casserole dish. Mmk?
I feel compelled to tell you that you could also tear your bread cubes into smaller pieces (this is the way Adam is used to) but I prefer to leave them as cubes. Perfect for post-Thanksgiving late night refrigerator picking. But you don’t do that, do you?
Good. Neither do I then.
Rustic Mushroom Sourdough Stuffing
adapted from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook (<—adore)
1 large loaf sourdough bread, day old
6 tbsp butter, divided
2 10-oz packages sliced mushrooms
2 carrots, small diced
1 yellow onion, small diced
3 stalks celery, small diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Slice the bread into cubes and lay on a baking sheet to dry out overnight.
In the morning, melt two tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and saute on medium heat for about ten minutes until very tender. Remove mushrooms from the skillet and place in a large bowl.
Wipe down the skillet and then add two more tablespoons butter. Once melted, add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for about six to eight minutes until onions are translucent and celery and carrots are just beginning to become tender.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place bread cubes in the bowl with the mushrooms then add the rest of the veggies plus the rosemary, oregano and pepper. Pour the broth over and toss so that the bread is just moistened (it shouldn’t be soaking). If your bread cubes still seem a bit dry, you can add another quarter cup of broth but don’t go crazy! Mushy stuffing is pretty gross.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray and then press the stuffing into the pan. Dot the remaining two tablespoons of butter all over the top of the stuffing and then cover with tin foil. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes until bread cubes are crispy and golden.
1.5 hours (not including overnight time to dry bread cubes)