1. Skip the stuffing.
This may seem like a strange comment to make when the subject of this article is about making stuffing. As the name implies, stuffing gets its name from being stuffed into large turkeys, chickens or roasts before cooking. While this can make a great tasting stuffing and turkey, it can also mean an overcooked bird or an under-cooked stuffing. Under-cooked stuffing containing eggs or sausage is a food hazard. To be on the safe side, skip the stuffing and bake your stuffing (dressing) outside the turkey.
2. Make sure the bread is not too moist.
The bread is the foundation for this dish; it’s what give the dressing it’s structure. The type of bread you use is what gives it it’s texture; cornbread, regular white bread or even bagels can be used. Whatever you use, make sure the bread is stale or dry. If the bread is too moist the dressing will end up being soggy.
3. Cook the aromatics before baking the dressing.
Whatever aromatics or extras you want to add to your dressing should be cooked before baking your dressing. You might think that the chopped onion, celery, sausage, nuts or any other add-ins would bake while the bread bakes, but this is not the case.
4. Don’t include to many add-ins.
The bread is the binder that holds the dressing together. When the add-ins outnumber the binder, it’s difficult for the dressing to stay together. For a good ratio, use about twice as much bread as other ingredients.
5. Season the dressing.
You want to season your dressing, but be cautious before adding salt. If using items like packaged bread cubes, sausage and store-bought stock or broth, it can be easy to overdo it with the salt. To avoid over-seasoning, taste the dressing before baking. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take it out.
6. Use broth.
Broth replicates the juices that stuffing accumulated while baking inside the turkey. These juices are still needed for texture and flavor of the final baked dressing.
7. Use the right amount of liquid.
The right amount of liquid is the key to a good dressing. This will make sure you get a good contrast of soft and firm pieces. If you add too much liquid, your dressing will be soggy. Not using enough liquid and you will have an overly dry dressing. The key is adding about a half cup at a time. The bread should absorb the liquid without leaving a puddle at the bottom of the dish.