Before diving into this post, just a little heads up – as the growing and market season gets into full swing, we’re getting super busy around here at the homestead. This means that, rather than guaranteed twice-weekly postings, I’ll be cutting the blog updates to once weekly, with perhaps some bonus postings sprinkled in. I’ll keep updating social media with pictures of tastiness, as well.
But onto the real deal: bread pudding. Mmmmm.
Time for another blast into my past: the idea of bread pudding used to disgust me. Gasp. Old, stale bread, soaked in liquid? Bleckkkk. Why would you want to eat old food, and make it soggy?
Clearly, I was mistaken on this front. Either that, or I had some seriously bad bread pudding. I wouldn’t be surprised on either front. I’m now a proud bread pudding convert, and order and make it whenever I can.
Bread pudding, like strata, is a fabulous way to use up stale bread, or even day-old bread. The cool thing about bread pudding, though, is that you have a bit more freedom as to what breads can go into it. Unlike strata, where you’re more likely to use a heartier, savory bread, bread pudding takes just about anything (although softer breads usually produce more dessert-like results), from sourdough to cinnamon rolls.
Did this mean that we used up leftover pastries from the market to make a d-d-dank cinnamon roll bread pudding? You bet your butt we did. I’d share it, but, you know. You’re not here. Alas. We’ll enjoy it for you, though.
I will, however, share the general recipe for bread pudding, which is blessedly fast, easy, and has a pretty short ingredient list. Bread pudding is also a good way to use up whey from cheesemaking (I used half whey, half milk for my last batch), as well as sour milk. Tweak the sugar, spicing, and whatnot to your liking, depending on what kind of bread you’re using for the pudding.
Make sure, as well, that you’re actually using stale, or at least day-old, bread. Otherwise, your bread pudding may be a mushy (not custardy) mess, and you’ll have wasted fresh bread on a recipe that’s meant to reduce waste.
Finally, I’ve included an entirely optional, but also entirely delicious, bourbon sauce topping recipe at the bottom of the page. If you don’t like bourbon (you scoundrel), you can probably get away with some other liquor or flavoring. Maybe.
Ready to make bread pudding? Let’s go!
Basic Bread Pudding
Use whatever stale bread you have on hand. Softer breads, like challah and pastries, will produce more custard-like results.
you will need:
- 6-8 c stale bread cubes (challah, white bread, and leftover pastries make excellent bread pudding)
- 2 c milk, or combination of milk and whey
- ¼ c (½ stick) butter
- ¼-½ c sugar (I use the smaller amount of sugar for sweeter breads)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- pinch of cardamom
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish or casserole dish. Place bread cubes in the prepared, greased pan.
- In a small saucepan, heat milk until steaming, and add butter. Whisk until just melted. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and desired spices. Whisking constantly, add a small amount (about 1 c) of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk in the remaining milk mixture into the egg mixture.
- Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish on top of the bread cubes, making sure to coat evenly and thoroughly.
- Bake at 350 degrees F, uncovered, until a knife inserted into the edge of the pan (not the middle) comes out clean, 45-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until warm or room temperature, and serve.
Bourbon Sauce Topping: Want a delightful bourbon sauce to go along with your bread pudding? Sure you do! While the pudding bakes, combine ½ c (1 stick) butter, 1 c brown sugar, 4 tbsp bourbon, and 2 tbsp whole milk or cream in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very slightly reduced. Serve hot, and spoon over warm bread pudding.