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! Bread pudding - the ultimate use-it-up dish

 
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Let's hear your bread pudding recipes and stories.



It doesn't matter if you boil it, steam it, or bake it.  Heck, I hear it's even yummy made in a microwave.  

Bread pudding is comfort food for me.  I usually make it as a boiled pudding and adapt the recipe to use up whatever needs using up in the pantry.  

Vital ingredients
- some sort of bread - lots of it, preferably stale and/or rock-hard (if it breaks the knife trying to cut it, it's too hard)
- milk or milk substitute.  If it's starting to go sour, add a couple of extra Tablespoons of sweetener
- eggs (even egg substitutes work well.  My best luck was ground flax and banana, but experiment as this changes the flavour and maybe add some baking powder if you aren't using real eggs)
- something sweet (sugar, honey, jam, marmalade)
- something to break it up (raisins, nuts, marmalade...)
- grease or butter

What I used today is loosely based on my old recipe for bread pudding

4 cups of good white bread, cut into cubes or torn into 1/2 inch bits (I actually don't measure this, just a guess)
2 cups whole milk
3 really nice eggs
1 tsp butter plus more to grease the basin
about a handful of currents, raisins, or other dried or candied fruit
1/4 tsp cinnamon and ginger
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs jam

1. Scald the milk (bring it to just below a boil) and stir in the stale bread chunks.  Let cool for at least an hour.
2. Add everything else except the jam
3. butter the pudding  basin and put the jam in the bottom
4. pour the pudding into the basin (in my case it made two) and tie a bit of parchment or wax paper on top
5. pressure cook on high for 30 min and fast release - or boil or steam for 1-2 hours on the stovetop.
6. when cool enough to handle, turn upside down on a plate to remove from the pudding basin
7. enjoy

What does your recipe look like?  

 
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Ah, bread pudding! Cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan. Brings back fine memories of my mother's kitchen. As kids this was drive-by-scoop-a-handful ambrosia. I need to make sure I get her recipe!
 
r ranson
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Ah, bread pudding! Cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan. Brings back fine memories of my mother's kitchen. As kids this was drive-by-scoop-a-handful ambrosia. I need to make sure I get her recipe!



If you get a chance, please share the recipe.  I love seeing how different places do this pud.  The oven bake is fascinating to me.  How does it not dry out?  Or is it supposed to?  
 
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r ranson wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Ah, bread pudding! Cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan. Brings back fine memories of my mother's kitchen. As kids this was drive-by-scoop-a-handful ambrosia. I need to make sure I get her recipe!



If you get a chance, please share the recipe.  I love seeing how different places do this pud.  The oven bake is fascinating to me.  How does it not dry out?  Or is it supposed to?  



It doesn't bake anywhere nearly as long, and it forms a crust, but (done correctly) the inside stays nice and moist. Tomorrow, I'll share my method, but for now, I'm about to drop.
 
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A school I went to served a bread pudding with fruit cocktail as an ingredient in it.  

I tried to duplicate it and was not successful.

The recipe I tried was baked.  Maybe that was the problem.  

What is the difference between boiled and steamed?

This sounds perfect for the Instapot.

Maybe one of these days I will try making it again.
 
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I'm not really a sweets person, so I'm a lot more likely to make a savory frittata with leftovers. But the other people in this house don't feel the same way, so I once brought home several stale doughnuts from some work function and improvised a bread pudding with that. I chopped them up and stirred them around with eggs and some soy-milk. The wife and daughter liked it.
 
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I've made vegan ovenbaked bread pudding with sweetened blender-made cashew cream as the custard. It's sooooo delicious!

But I need to experiement with alternatives that can be grown locally.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Carla Burke wrote:

r ranson wrote:... The oven bake is fascinating to me.  How does it not dry out?  



It doesn't bake anywhere nearly as long, and it forms a crust, but (don't correctly) the inside stays nice and moist. ...


Yes, that's right -- browned crust but moist inside. I recall mom used a shallow enameled cast iron baking dish maybe 3-4" tall.
 
r ranson
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Anne Miller wrote:

What is the difference between boiled and steamed?



This is a great question.  There's not a lot of difference in how we view this these days because we often use a basin to hold the pudding.

In the old days, puddings were boiled in a cloth, so they were fully submerged in water on all sides so there was more passage of water into the pudding.  This would be boiled.  (I've seen suggestions that 'steamed' in medieval times would be to put the pudding above the cook pot, but I haven't seen any evidence of this or how it would provide enough steam.  I think it was more used for keeping the pudding warm while other things cooked in the pot)

With mass production, it's now easy to get a bowl or mould for the pudding.  This reduces the amount of water that gets into the pudding, but it also seems common to use less water so that the water level sits 1/3rd of the way up the basin or even below the pudding.  Heat transfers differently with steam than it does if the item is submerged in water - but I don't know all the science behind it.  I like the texture of the pudding if the basin is submerged most of the way in the water.  Sometimes I'll cover the pudding entirely with water.  That's why I refer to my boiled puddings as boiled more often than steamed.  

But with the pressure cooker, it was more steaming but at a hotter temperature.  I like the results of this a lot so I'm going to experiment more with this style of cooking puddings.
Staff note (r ranson) :

We go into this boiled vs steamed and the history of the two methods here: https://permies.com/t/204867/kitchen/steamed-boiled-pudding-difference-quick

 
r ranson
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I've seen savoury bread puddings for breakfast food.  I think they usually have bacon and cheese in them, so it ends up being more like a fried bread cheese omelette flavour than a custard with dry fruit or nuts.  

I've never tried this so I don't know if it would be any good.  
 
Carla Burke
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The first bakery I worked at was a German family-owned/operated bakery that was incredibly good, and the proof was in the weekend lines around the block, to get to the line, indoors - regardless of the Chicago area weather. On the rare occasion that anything was leftover, on a Sunday afternoon (the bakery was closed only on Mondays), it was left out, and went into a bread pudding, for a sort of pseudo "family meal", for Tuesday. ("Family meal" in the food industry is when the company feeds the employees. Often, in higher-end establishments, it's shared just before the restaurant opens, to not only make sure everyone is energized from a solid meal, but to ensure the employees are all on the same page about the food, and to educate the servers in assisting customers with questions.)

Because we were working with a wide variety of stale goods, the copious butter was chopped up and mixed throughout the breads/ cakes/ doughnuts, pastries, etc., before the custard was poured over the whole thing. This is how I usually make it, even now, some 35yrs after leaving there - and the method even works beautifully with gluten free and keto breads. I can't give quantities, because, like the lovely folks I learned it from, it's all about how much I have, and how many I'm feeding - and it's done by eye and taste-buds. I'll use a rough 1lb of bread as my base, to help with that, a bit. I'm sorry for the lack of precision, but it's a very forgiving food to make. I like it plain, topped with a good ice cream (vanilla, coffee or cinnamon are my fave ice cream flavors to pair with it), drizzled with creme anglais, a rum or brandy glaze, or (especially if it's for breakfast) a chocolate gravy or cinnamon/honey gravy.

Steps:
1 - Collect your bread-type products (sweet &/or neutral, for dessert, neutral &/or savory for a savory flavor profile)
2 - tear/ cut it all into bite sized pieces
3 - chop up the butter, 1 teaspoon-ish chunks - for the rough equivalent of a 1lb loaf of bread, I'd use at least 1/2lb of butter.
4 - toss breads & butter together, with any additions you like (raisins, nuts, etc), at about 1.5 - 2 cups max, for that same 1lb loaf
5 - dump all of that into a cake pan, loaf pan, casserole dish (whatever is big enough to hold it all)
6 - combine 6lg eggs and about 1qt cream, 1/2&1/2, milk... and add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and spices of your choice(I usually go with cinnamon, but sometimes add some nutmeg, too), sweetener of your choice, to taste (1/2cup of sugar is usually a good starting point, but if your bread stuff is very sweet, you'll want less - or maybe more. Brown sugar is yummy in it, and so is honey, but I used stevia &/or monkfruit now, and whisk it all together, until it's homogenous, then pour that over the bread & butter, lightly press any breadstuffs down that are not under the liquid (it should be really wet) cover, and refrigerate for a couple hours, to overnight. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake, uncovered, until a toothpick comes out clean (for the quantities in this example, I'd start checking at about 45minutes. I let it cool to a comfortably very warm temp, add any tips I've a taste for, and chow down. It's also yummy cold or room temp, just to snack on.

 
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Anne Miller wrote:
What is the difference between boiled and steamed?


Steamed would be what you can do in a pressure cooker. How my mum used to cook Christmas pudding.

In the UK, the above recipes sound most like our bread and butter pudding:
sliced bread, buttered, sugar and milk, dried fruit, topped with nutmeg. Essentially a milk pudding.
Bread pudding is totally different, I used to buy it in London bakers, not seen it elsewhere:
stale bread, other sweet bakery, dried fruit, sugar, mixed spice. Bread water soaked in advance and squeezed out. Baked and cut into squares.
 
r ranson
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The pressure cooker steams but the texture is different than regular steamed puddings.  The higher temperature and pressure makes it come out more like a boiled pudding.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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@Carla Burke:

What a magnificent post. It feels like Christmas. Thank you!
 
Carla Burke
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:@Carla Burke:

What a magnificent post. It feels like Christmas. Thank you!



My pleasure!! And, it does make a truly lovely Christmas or New Year morning breakfast.
 
Anne Miller
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R said, "In the old days, puddings were boiled in a cloth, so they were fully submerged in water on all sides so there was more passage of water into the pudding.  This would be boiled.  



Thank you for the explanation.

My mother always did the steamed pudding in the pressure cooker so boiled pudding was totally unfamiliar territory.

I found some pictures that helped to explain:


source


source


source

I don't know if this is bread pudding though it explains boiled pudding:



Thanks, everyone for helping me to learn something new!
 
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This is all so interesting! I've been making Carla's recipe for years and thought I was making baked french toast! LOL
 
Carla Burke
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Terry Winkelmann wrote:This is all so interesting! I've been making Carla's recipe for years and thought I was making baked french toast! LOL



Baked French toast is a whole other (yummy!!) dish, typically made with whole bread slices. Maybe you could start a thread explaining how you make it, and asking about how others make it?
 
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My favourite version is based on Danielle Walker's "French toast casserole" from her first book, but I make a few changes to it.

I'll try and write down my version based on that if anyone would like me to?

My version is basically wheat bread with crusts removed, in thin slices, put in buttered baking dish in layers, with each layer sprinkled with sultanas/raisins, then I pour all over it a custard made from eggs, honey, milk, with a little cinnamon. It gets sprinkled with nutmeg on top and then baked in a fairly low oven until the custard is set and the bread is soft and custardy.
 
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It's called 'Broodschotel' (bread dish) in Dutch and it's baked in the oven. Any type of bread can be used (like in your recipe). A few days ago I tried it with sourdough rye bread and I liked it (will do it again soon).
The other ingredients were:
- home-made nut-milk, enough to soak the bread in (but any milk will do)
- an egg (or more, it depends ...)
- a big hand full of raisins (soaked together with the pieces of bread)
- a little (brown) sugar
- about a teaspoon of a spices mix (cinnamon being the most of them)
- a little butter, only to butter the pyrex glass bowl

Preheat the oven. When the bread and raisins are soaked long enough mix everything else in (no, not the butter). Put in the oven, bake until golden brown. Let cool down. Best to serve it almost cold.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Another use of old bread is called 'Wentelteefjes' (intranslatable word, or it would be turn-around bitches ... ).
Make a mixture of egg, a little milk, some sugar and spices. Put in whole slices of bread and let them soak in the mixture.
Melt butter in a hot pan and bake the slices of bread first one side, then the other.
Serve with jam.
 
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The bread pudding that we usually cook is the baked version too.  I slice and freeze leftover bread that can be processed into crumbs for making stuffing or for pudding.
No precise recipe, depends on the quantity of bread and depth of the baking dish but a minimum of 3 eggs and milk and cream beaten together.
Can be made in ramekin dishes as individual portions - great for just the two of us.
We don't sweeten the custard mixture because the sultanas and marmalade is sweet enough.
Generously butter slices of bread, spread homemade marmalade over them, sprinkle sultanas over each layer and grated nutmeg &/ cinnamon and pour over the custard.
Allow to stand so that the bread is completely softened and absorbs the custard.
Bake until golden brown in 180C oven.
20220814_143210.jpg
Bread pudding ingredients
Bread pudding ingredients
20220814_203512.jpg
Baked bread pudding
Baked bread pudding
 
Carla Burke
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Another use of old bread is called 'Wentelteefjes' (intranslatable word, or it would be turn-around bitches ... ).
Make a mixture of egg, a little milk, some sugar and spices. Put in whole slices of bread and let them soak in the mixture.
Melt butter in a hot pan and bake the slices of bread first one side, then the other.
Serve with jam.


Here, most would hold off on the sugar & probably the spices (until serving), but in my neck of the woods, this is what we consider French toast. I add vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. I usually don't add the sugar, but want maple syrup, jam, honey, or molasses with it. Sometimes, it's topped with powdered sugar &/or berries/fruit.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Carla Burke wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Another use of old bread is called 'Wentelteefjes' (intranslatable word, or it would be turn-around bitches ... ).
Make a mixture of egg, a little milk, some sugar and spices. Put in whole slices of bread and let them soak in the mixture.
Melt butter in a hot pan and bake the slices of bread first one side, then the other.
Serve with jam.


Here, most would hold off on the sugar & probably the spices (until serving), but in my neck of the woods, this is what we consider French toast. I add vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. I usually don't add the sugar, but want maple syrup, jam, honey, or molasses with it. Sometimes, it's topped with powdered sugar &/or berries/fruit.



Nowadays people become aware sugar is not healthy. But in the past the Dutch had such a 'sweet tooth'! Since the sugar beets are grown here (started in the time of Napoleon) sugar is cheap and it was put in almost everything (also savory dishes and vegetables).

 
r ranson
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One of the wonderful things about bread puddings is the sweetener doesn't have to be sugar.  The recipe is so flexable, I've used honey, maple syrup, jam...

We can also make savoury bread pudding so it's more like a breakfast omelette with bacon and cheese.  

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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r ranson wrote:One of the wonderful things about bread puddings is the sweetener doesn't have to be sugar.  The recipe is so flexable, I've used honey, maple syrup, jam...

We can also make savoury bread pudding so it's more like a breakfast omelette with bacon and cheese.  


I like savoury recipes with old bread, cheese and egg! But I never made a 'pudding' with those ingredients.
 
Carla Burke
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Another use of old bread is called 'Wentelteefjes' (intranslatable word, or it would be turn-around bitches ... ).
Make a mixture of egg, a little milk, some sugar and spices. Put in whole slices of bread and let them soak in the mixture.
Melt butter in a hot pan and bake the slices of bread first one side, then the other.
Serve with jam.


Here, most would hold off on the sugar & probably the spices (until serving), but in my neck of the woods, this is what we consider French toast. I add vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. I usually don't add the sugar, but want maple syrup, jam, honey, or molasses with it. Sometimes, it's topped with powdered sugar &/or berries/fruit.



Nowadays people become aware sugar is not healthy. But in the past the Dutch had such a 'sweet tooth'! Since the sugar beets are grown here (started in the time of Napoleon) sugar is cheap and it was put in almost everything (also savory dishes and vegetables).


Funny thing is, I don't think the original method here had anything to do with sugar not being healthy. I think it was far more about all the sugary-sweet stuff we tend to pile on at the table, lol.
 
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