Bread Pudding Quest

When it comes to bread pudding, I always remember my mom’s. I think she makes one of the best bread puddings, but I have never been able to duplicate it. She doesn’t have a recipe, she says she just puts enough milk, eggs and sugar to moisten whatever leftover breads she has and pops it in the oven. Sounds simple enough, and I have tried playing with the ‘blind method’ and have gotten pretty good results, but still I come up short of mom’s bread pudding. Maybe it is just because it is Mom’s and it’s one of those things that you remember from childhood. So I decided, especially since I started this blog, to find the right bread pudding recipe for me and my girls. Well, mostly Asi. She is my bread pudding eating buddy. The last batch I cooked following Reid’s recipe, we basically ate it all, just the two of us.

The frugal ilokana in me just can’t help but try to use up every bit of left over bread, including the ends. I have never been so glad for the ducks at Duke Garden; so now I don’t have to save the ends for us, but for them. We go and feed the ducks during our walks sometimes, especially during the colder months when they don’t get as much food. Reid’s recipe called for Portuguese sweetbread, and Claudine, who also tried out the recipe used pan de leche for her bread pudding. Well, back to el cheapo me who insists on using up ‘old’ bread stored in the freezer. Here is the first version:

BREAD PUDDING I

I used days old french bread for this one. When it got too old and dried for anyone to eat but before it got moldy, I made this. First I sliced the bread.

To this I added:
4 cups Milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and pour over the bread slices. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes. Pour into a buttered dish and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
This one baked up beautifully, then slowly falls. It was crusty on the outside, and soft inside, but still not quite the flavor or texture I was looking for.


So on to the next version, which is based on Reid’s and Claudine’s take on bread pudding.

BREAD PUDDING II

For this version, I used 4 large frozen pan de sal, cut into 1 inch chunks.

2 cups evaporated milk
4 eggs
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Place bread chunks in a baking dish (I did not butter the dish this time) and sprinkle with raisins and pecans. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, then add the milk and seasonings. Pour the mixture over the bread and let sit for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and let it rest, uncovered for 30 minutes before serving.

Reid said to bake it covered, but I must have missed that part when I was reading his instructions, so I baked this UNcovered. It turned out just the way I like it, a bit crusty on top. The addition of butter and use of evaporated milk instead of whole milk made the dish so much richer, and oh so good! Some of the bread on top were drier than the bottom though, so I’m thinking I didn’t put enough liquid. Next time, I will probably double the proportions and see how that works out. The raisins and nuts also added extra decadence to the pudding. Yummy!

Thanks Reid and Claudine!

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About Jeanette Moore (JMom)

I am a terrible housekeeper but I do love to cook so it all evens out in the end. I like to try new recipes that I think my family will like. However, I am not one to follow all recipes to the letter. I tend to tweak and change the recipes based on what I have on hand and how I am feeling at the time. Feel free to share your versions, I just might try it out next time I make the dish again.

9 thoughts on “Bread Pudding Quest

  1. Pingback: Baked French Toast | Cooked From the Heart

  2. Bob

    In taking a quick look at recently updated blogs I came across this one. I’m all about cooking and any food blog gets a look. Imagine my pleasure when I stumbled on your post about bread pudding. I love bread pudding, even if I don’t make it as often as I’d really like to eat it. My favorite is a Mexican style bread pudding which I stumbled upon in an international cookbook that I checked out from the library, and then couldn’t find again after I’d made it twice. I’ve also been fascinted to read in my web travels that people do also make savory bread puddings, though I haven’t tried one yet myself. Did you know that there is a website dedicated to those who can’t get enough bread pudding? Check it out at http://www.breadpudding.org/ .

    Reply
  3. JMom

    Hi Rowena, Reid, and Jonny, Happy New Year!

    Rowena and Reid, thanks for the tips. We don’t ever have a shortage of stale bread at my house, so I’m sure the experimentations will go on 🙂

    Reply
  4. Reid

    Hi JMom,

    Rowena is right. I normally use Portuguese sweet bread to make this bread pudding because I like it more custard-y and less bread-y. The bread itself is very soft and fluffy, so the addition of all the liquid doesn’t really do much to firm this up.

    If you like it firmer in texture, you should use French bread that has been sitting out for a while. If you like it crusty on top, rather than have the bread dry out during the baking process, you should bake it covered for approximately 30-40 minutes, then uncover it and let the top “crisp up” during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

    Thanks for mentioning my post and for trying out the recipe. Merry Christmas to you!

    Reply
  5. rowena

    You are right….the best bread puddings are the ones that moms make without measuring anything. But like all things, it takes a little trial and error to get it just right.

    The suggestion in Reid recipe to use portuguese bread is a common thing in Hawaii, used to make it all the time at the restaurants. But IMHO, it’s way too sweet, and portuguese bread doesn’t firm up enough when it stales, thereby having more of a mushy texture.

    I would venture to say that stale french bread makes the better bread pudding, and that stale butter croissants make the richest! But the main thing is that leftover bread gets another chance at being put on the table, because I too, tend to be a frugal filipina! 😉

    Merry Christmas!!

    Reply
  6. JMom

    Hi TingAling! Yeah, Sunshine bakery bread pudding was great. I think my mom’s is similar to theirs that’s why I like it so much. It’s a little more dense than the recipes I’ve been playing with, but still so good.

    Hi Sis! I’ll have to try your version. Sounds super rich!

    Reply
  7. J and A Mom

    Hey sis,
    I came real close to duplicating mom’s bread pudding once by using 5 eggs, 1 can evap milk, 1 can condensed milk and 1 can regular whole milk (plus the rest of recipe II’s ingredients, sans the nuts) and cook uncovered. Real yummy, even Uncle Danny said so. 🙂
    Oh, and I use any type of loaf bread…
    XOXO,
    SisterO

    Reply

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