Every My sister and I hold a stuffing-off every year. Not We’re both competitive, but she insists that I make her mushroom and sage filling and she insists that we have a competition. The best stuffing. My The recipe is nothing new. Gourmet Magazine version sausage cornbread stuffing Bread cubes are often used as filler in stuffing, or dressing, depending on your location.

Let Let me start by saying this is not a cheat. This It is the exact opposite of a “hack”. This is the opposite of a hack. Think of this more as an upgrade — one that I spent years perfecting, looks as good as it tastes, and has cast me squarely as the winner of the family stuffing battle for the last three years running.

It It all started when I bought some cornbread stuffing cubes in a store out of sheer laziness. Whole Foods. Yes, Whole Foods. These suckers were expensive and huge — like a gallon bag full of bready Rubik’s Cubes — but they had just the right balance of sweet to savory and were hard as a rock, which made them the ideal sponges for all the juicy fennel-sausage business lurking within the dish. I used these for a couple of years, but they were honestly too big — I had to cut each cube into quarters in order to make them layer neatly in a casserole — and then one year, I just couldn’t find them anymore. I searched the bakery, deli, and asked some confused staff but no luck. Vanished. I was devastated but determined. And I began a search for the perfect cornbread in my quest of half a decade.

The bread I made was too moist. I couldn’t get the cornbread to dry enough for me to cut it into cubes. And no amount of baking in the oven could remove that home-baked flavor. Stuffing The cubes should be crisp, but not chewy. Then The classic sourdough stuffed cubes were a great idea, but they changed the whole flavor profile of this dish. It went from being a spectacular side to… just… stuffing.

Dina Ávila/Eater

FinallyA few years ago I returned to Whole Foods In desperate search of my favorite cubes, I came across full loaves their signature cornbread. I bought a few (for like $6 each; y’all, this is truly ridiculous), sliced them into cubes — a bit smaller than the original version, but still whopping enough to make an impact — stuck them in a low oven (around 200 degrees) for an hour or so, and eureka! I had it down. That This year’s stuffing is the best we have ever had, and it continues delivering every year.

Why? It’s All about size LargerCustom-cut bread cubes transform what could be a mushy mess into a more savory bread pudding. The Large points that protrude from the surface become caramelized, crispy and browned in the oven. Meanwhile, the cubes underneath retain some form, even though they have absorbed all the flavors. It’s A textural masterpiece The It is important to note that the bigger the better when you are stuffing the cubes. The symmetrical shape makes the dish appear geometric. Restaurantes.

Why Are the loaves you buy in the supermarket the key? I’m not quite sure. My It’s my hunch that the ingredients are just dense, not fresh enough and produced in large quantities to easily dry out. And the recipe from the store strikes a unicorn balance that compliments fennel while avoiding an overly sweet dish. I’m I am fully convinced that with some tweaking and another few years, I can nail a homemade loaf that will achieve the same result. But Now, I’m Staying with My Whole Foods Version: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix. (It saves you two days of baking time and drying time.) ThoughAfter spending almost $20 a year on old bread, I might be the one who is broke.

Dina Ávila I am a photographer Portland, Oregon.
Photo assistant: Eric Fortier

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