Notes from Windward: #68


Bread Pudding

Gina talks about a Windward staple

     Elegant or simple, bread pudding is a comfort food. For those who haven't had it I liken it to baked french toast. At Windward it's regularly served as the afternoon snack. It's relatively high in protein, low in fat and sugar. So it's a very good energy snack before the afternoon working projects.

     I also like it for breakfast or a light dinner. I've seen it served with milk, yogurt, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, or ice cream as a dessert. The best thing about bread pudding is that it can be made with such a variety of ingredients. It's an excellent use of stale bread.

     The kind of bread makes a big difference, too. A hearty whole grain bread gives it a bit more protein and added fiber. A white bread can make it richer and lighter. In spring and summer we have an excess of eggs and goat milk so I make the pudding more "custardy". When we harvest the various fruits I can add lots to it. In winter I use dried or preserved fruit. Sometimes I add nuts, a bit of vanilla, rum, or almond flavoring. I always add some spice that complements the fruit--cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or nutmeg.

      For sweetener I have used sugar, brown or white, honey, fructose, maple syrup or corn syrup and molasses mixed. We like brown sugar. You can also vary the milk, everything from nonfat to half and half. Goat milk is very good because it is easier to digest and most people are not allergic to it.

     It is very fast and easy to put together. Depending on the thickness it gets baked from 45 mins to an hour or more. I like it best warm but it's equally good cold--especially in the summer. The other great thing about it is that it's just about fool proof!! You don't need anything more than bread, milk, eggs, sweetener and a bit of salt. It is rarely ever bad and when it falls short that's usually caused by mismatched seasonings, fruits, or breads. For example, I wouldn't use a savory bread for a sweet bread pudding.

     Here's a basic recipe to work from:

      for a 9"x13"x2 1/2" pan
  • 4-6 stale slices of bread, heels are fine.
  • 1/2 to1 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon--1 tablespoon spice (Ex: ginger/pear, cinnamon/apple or raisin, nutmeg/berries or plain)

Grease baking pan.
Cut/tear bread into small pieces.
Spread a layer of bread pieces in pan.
Sprinkle on fruit, nuts, spice.
Top with the rest of the bread pieces.

In large bowl:
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons flavoring, optional
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1-1 1/2 quarts milk

Beat eggs.
Mix in flavoring, salt, brown sugar.
Whip in milk.
Let sit for 10-15 mins. then bake at 325°F for 40 minutes or more depending on how "dry" you like it. It's done when the middle has risen or a butter knife stuck in the center comes out clean.

     If baked on lower rack it won't brown as it would on a higher rack. If made in a casserole dish it will take longer to bake but turn out a bit more "custardy".

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68