Celery Bread

celery bread

If you live anywhere in Norfolk County it’s likely you know what Celery Bread is. There’s no celery in this bread thankfully. It’s chunks of bread brushed with melted butter and celery seeds, then roasted until golden brown. The recipe originated at the Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover and is a favourite with locals. It’s a must if you’re having a fish fry.

When I was a kid my mom would use up stale hamburger buns by buttering the cut side (or probably back then spreading Imperial Margarine on them), sprinkling celery seed on top then toasting under the broiler. We loved them! We would have Celery Bread with spaghetti instead of garlic bread. But the Erie Beach Hotel method is amazing.

celery bread erie beach hotel port dover lake erie perch

I’ve heard lots of crazy ideas about their secret to making this amazing Celery Bread. I’ve been told they dip the entire loaf in melted butter. I was told they use margarine with paprika instead of butter. And someone even tried to tell me they were deep fried. Thankfully I got the true story from the experts.

How to make Celery Bread

You need an unsliced loaf of white bread, preferably as square as possible. Trim all four sides and the top and bottom.

celery bread

Don’t worry about the bread left behind that’s been cut off. It’s perfect for Stuffing. Just cut the pieces into cubes and freeze them for another time.

celery bread

Cut the loaf into thick chunks. Melt butter and stir in celery seeds. Brush all exposed sides of the bread with the butter mixture. I like to sprinkle a little extra celery seed onto the bread if there’s some areas that don’t have much. Use about 1/4 cup of butter and 1 tsp of celery seed per loaf. Either unsalted or salted butter is fine, depending on your sodium level preference.

So according to the expert, Pam, who has kindly given us the true method in the comments after this post, prepare the pieces in advance, wrap them tightly and refrigerating them over night. Then stand them up in a dish and bake in a hot oven. Somewhere around 400 degrees is best and watch them turn golden brown in mere minutes.

celery bread

I’ve made a few pieces in a frying pan if I’m not making too many. Just grill each side including the top and bottom. You can also do them under the broiler but you have to keep turning them. And you have to watch them carefully – I’ve burnt an entire pan before and that totally ruins the fish fry. Totally. The expert method of baking them in a very hot oven is best.

Let the pieces fall open so more sides are exposed to the heat.

celery bread

Plan on everyone eating at least 2 pieces. And serve it right away, it’s best hot.

celery bread

Celery Bread goes great with Cornmeal Crusted Crappie. In fact, no fish fry is complete without it.

A comment below asked about the actual recipe amounts. If you missed it above in the post, I use about 1/4 cup of butter and 1 tsp celery seed per loaf. Give or take. And I usually sprinkle a bit more celery seed on the bread before baking.

Enjoy!

celery bread
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5 from 1 vote

Celery Bread

Popular side dish served with Lake Erie Perch and Pickerel at Erie Beach Hotel in Port Dover
Course Bread
Cuisine Canadian/American
Keyword celery bread, erie beach hotel
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 unsliced loaf of white bread choose one as square as possible
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp celery seed plus extra for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Cut crust off all sides of bread including the bottom. Slice lengthwise through the middle, then into sections ending with about 10 cubes.
  • Melt butter. Stir in celery seeds.
  • Brush liberally over all surfaces of each cube. Sprinkle more celery seed over any areas that have little seeds.
  • Put bread cubes back into plastic bag and seal up tightly. Refrigerate over night or at least all day for best results.
  • Arrange cubes in a bundle in a baking dish. Allow them to fall open to expose as much area as possible.
  • Bake on the centre rack of a preheated oven at 400° for about 10 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted.

77 thoughts on “Celery Bread”

        1. I love the Erie Beach Hotel. I usually get the fried veggie/cheese and shrimp meal with extra celery Bread so good

        2. If you put the bread in the freezer for 30 minutes it makes it a lot easier for cutting. Also, you can melt the butter and “paint” it on. They can also be finished on a bbq but watch them and turn them. John

          1. Thanks for that tip John! Great idea to freeze the bread. I’ve used melted butter sometimes, it’s probably the better way to do it actually.

  1. Marjorie Schneider, founder of the Erie Beach Hotel is the creator of the famous celery bread. Her recipe has several small details that make all the difference in the world.
    After removing the crust from an unsliced sandwich loaf, cut the bread into approx 10-12 chunks. Brush all sides with melted butter and celery seed, wrap into loaf shape and refrigerate overnight. Place bread tipped up onto a pie plate with plenty of space between pieces for lots of browning in a 400 oven ….enjoy.

    1. Thank you SO much! I’ve been told there was paprika added and they only used margarine. I didn’t believe it! I’m going to make it this way next time.

    2. The founder of the Erie Beach Hotel was NOT the original creator of celery bread. The recipe came from Loree Moores, who got the recipe from her mother-in-law, my grandmother. The owner was friends with my parents and after several town gatherings, where my mom took celery bread to serve, and after much good-hearted begging, my mom gave in and gave them the recipe.

      1. That’s so awesome that you shared that story! So many people owe your mom a debt of gratitude for sharing her recipe!! Thank you so much!

      2. I beg to differ , in the Old Wallaceburg Inn where my mother was chief cook and bottle washer , they used to serve tarragon bread on their menu , when they ran out of tarragon , she had to resort to celery seed, the rest is History ❤️

  2. As owner of the Erie Beach Hotel I can tell you that deep frying is not a good idea unless you want a grease filled soggy bun.
    Ours is baked in the oven at high temps. Leave the deep frying for the fish. Cheers

    1. Thank you so much! I retired and moved to Mexico so miss my Erie Beach terribly. Now I can at least have the celery seed bread.

    2. But do you do gluten free? The celery bread is amazing and the main reason we go to Port Dover. What’s a visit without perch and celery bread? Now…I have celiac, and celery bread and deep fried cannot be on my list!! 😪

      1. I haven’t tried this with anything other than plain white bread. If you try it with gluten free bread, let me know how it works out. It might be a bit heavy but hopefully tastes pretty good. I feel terrible for you and others who suffer with Celiac.

      2. You could try it with cornbread that you make without the white wheat flour. Also there are some good gluten free potato bread recipes that are close to the white bread.

    3. I grew up in Delhi Ontario and he was always a treat to go to Erie Beacb Hotel for perch, pickerel and no other than Celery Bread!!! I now reside in North Carolina and I cannot tell you how excited I was to see this recipe ❤️ Thank you so much! A taste of home once again. Now if I can figure out the trick to the French fry wagons and their gravy, I will be set!!

      1. Most fry trucks Blanche their fries before deep frying. It’s the secret to the best fries at Swiss Chalet as well. Simply cut your fries from peeled potatoes and boil for few minutes. For optimal results let them cool down and even refrigerate prior to deep frying. Twice cooked and oh so yummy. You can purchase either st huberts sauce or Swiss chalet sauce for dipping !! Enjoy

        1. You’re exactly right about blanching fries! We are lucky to have a commercial deep fryer so instead of boiling, we fry our fresh cut fries at a lower temperature, say 300 – 325 ish for a few minutes, just until they start to show some colour, then drain and let them get cold. Then we just have to finish them at a higher temp, 375 ish for a few minutes until brown. My understanding is the blanching starts the cooking process and allows the potatoes to be cooked through, resulting in soft interior with a crispy exterior after the second frying. The boiling should basically accomplish the same thing. Thanks for the tip!

    4. I went there for the first time last summer. I fell in love with the town and with your restaurant! I had never even heard of celery bread! Now I cant wait to go back and have it again!

    5. 5 stars
      Can’t wait to try this. As a sailor who’s visited Port Dover many times over the years I can tell you that two of my favorite restaurants of all time are right next door to each other! I’ve not been back to PD for several years, but I’m dying for some Erie Beach perch. It’s the best I’ve ever had.

  3. Thank you for the recipe, this is awesome ! I was just saying we need some Erie Beach celery bread for our perch fry tonight, having company in Port Stanley and they will be so impressed as they too grew up on, and are so fond of the Erie Beach celery bread!

    1. We just had dinner at the Erie Beach the other night. They have a new rooftop patio. It’s awesome! I managed to control myself and only eat one piece of celery bread but honestly I could probably eat 5 or 6!

  4. Going to the Lighthouse Theatre and lunch at the Erie Beach Hotel. Can’t wait to try the celery bread. Thanks for putting the information on the net everyone was asking what it was. I was thinking of bread with celery in it.

    1. The Lighthouse Theatre is awesome, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And yes, there’s no celery in Celery Bread, thankfully! haha.

  5. I have had the Erie Perch and celery bread there many time in my life, as I lived in Norwich and when I was young, my father would go to Port Dover for fresh fish, and we would go the the Erie Beach Hotel for dinner, a best kept secret in Ontario. Love it!

  6. Thanks for the recipe. My grandma (Sarah Lavers) worked in the kitchen of the Erie Beach for many years and would make the celery bread for our Christmas dinner. She would never tell us how she made it. Her little secret.
    Thanks again
    Lynn

    1. That’s awesome Lynn, thanks for the story. I never thought about celery bread for Christmas dinner! I could eat celery bread with every meal.

    1. Dawn, that’s so funny, I remember all the salads they used to serve in the lower restaurant. Particularly the jellied salad with horseradish. But I don’t remember picked pumpkin.

      1. I love the pickled pumpkin. I believe they gave out recipes , but not sure if they do now.Also love their bean salad and I have the recipe that I make for special occasions along with the horseradish salad, cucumber salad on a card that I picked up years ago. Love those dishes.

      1. Yes, it’s jello, horseradish and whipped cream. I’ve got the recipe on here as well, if you search under salads or enter horseradish in the search bar you’ll find it!

    1. Well, I’ve tried leaving the loaf intact at the bottom so it does help it stand up, also using a dish that has sides so it holds it all in but I admit, it’s a challenge. The real way I believe is the pieces are cut right through. I did find when I didn’t cut right through the bottom that you lose part of the bread when you tear the piece off and the bottom isn’t browned and crispy. That’s a downer, you don’t want to waste a single crumb of this and the more surface area toasted the better.

    2. from what i read yes you do you cut it length ways into thick strips and stand them up in a dish. you will have a more in there so they will stand up Hope this helps

      1. Yes, you’re right, thanks! If you get enough pieces in the dish they do stand up better. It’s helpful if they flop open a bit to expose more area for browning.

  7. The pickled pumpkin recipe is available on line – just google search Erie Beach Pickled Pumpkin recipe. It was one of my Dad’s favourites.

  8. Well YIPPPEEEEEEEE! Having lived in the area for awhile, but been out west now for longer than I care to count, I’m super excited that this has been shared. Three cheers for the Erie Beach Hotel. Now those of us who live ‘away’ can remember the good times…and even though I’ve pretty much sworn off bread, this recipe will change that!

  9. Lived on celery bread made by Mrs. Schneider for 55 years.
    The pickled pumpkin ,her recipe is excellent also.
    Though they both have past away, the family continues to keep this great tradition as well as the dinnerware
    Lynda Robinson-Rosser

  10. Family makes an annual pilgrimage to Simcoe Panarama, always started with a visit to the Erie Beach Hotel’s Cove Room for four important things: the celery bread, the pickled pumpkin, the pickerel and don’t forget the ambrosia!!

  11. I prepared some celery bread for tonights meal of perch and fries, but there is only 2 of us, so I don’t need the whole loaf for one meal. I would like to freeze the unused portions. Do I freeze them before baking or after?

    1. I would definitely freeze them uncooked. In the very very rare case where we didn’t eat all the celery bread, we found they aren’t as good reheated. I’ve popped them in a wide slice toaster or quickly broiled them but it’s not the same as fresh hot celery bread!

  12. Wow. I experienced the Erie Beach Hotel when I first got married in 1995 and fell in love with the Celery Bread. I have actually googled this recipe several times and never found it! I am grateful for Facebook and that this post was shared because now I can finally try it at home in BC.

  13. Am I missing something, or are the measurements of the ingredients missing?

    I know it is butter (I’m assuming salted) and celery seeds, but how much of each?

    1. Hi Vincent, I did mention it at the end of the post but I’ve added it in another spot as well so it’s easier to find. I didn’t use the typical recipe format but since you’re the second person to ask I will update so it’s more obvious! I use about 1/4 cup butter and 1 tsp celery seed for each full loaf. Usually salted butter but it probably doesn’t matter since bread has enough salt in it already.

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