Why It Works
- Bread pudding can be made with pretty much any type of bread, but enriched breads with a good chew, like challah, kaiser rolls, or brioche usually produce the best results.
- Greasing the sides and the bottom of the pan with butter will make it easier to cut and serve later.
- Covering the pudding securely with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking will facilitate even cooking and keep the top from drying out.
If you're coming off of Easter with a fridge full of extra eggs, or you've started to fantasize about bread as you press on through a week of only matzoh, bread pudding might be just the ticket, now, or later this week. And, whether you choose to make it because you've got something you need to use up (eggs, milk, stale bread), or just because you love it, bread pudding delivers a whole lot of dessert satisfaction with just a small amount of effort.
Bread pudding is made by soaking slightly stale bread in a custard of eggs, egg yolks, milk, and cream, then pressing the mixture into a pan or baking dish, and baking it in an oven until the custard sets up.
For best results, use an enriched bread, like a challah or brioche, or something soft and chewy, like sandwich buns. Cut the loaf of bread into medium size, even pieces. For a variety of textures, try to cut the bread so each of the pieces has crust on at least one side.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- Don't forget to grease the sides and the bottom of the pan with butter before you begin.
- Be sure to securely cover the pudding with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking, which will facilitate even cooking and keep the top from drying out.
It's best served warm and is perfectly good on its own, but you can make a proper plated dessert by serving it with a sauce of fruit, caramel, or chocolate. Many people accent the flavor and texture of the pudding itself by adding dried fruit, nuts, berries, zest, extracts, or spices to the mix. With a good base recipe, there's really no right or wrong when it comes to bread pudding.
This recipe was originally published as part of the column "Sweet Technique."
Butter for greasing the pan
8 egg yolks
8 ounces granulated sugar
24 ounces (about 3 cups) whole milk
16 ounces (about 2 cups) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
25 ounces stale challah, cut into rough 1-inch pieces (see notes)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Thoroughly grease the sides and bottom of a baking dish with butter and set aside.
Whisk eggs and yolks together until well-combined. Continue to whisk, adding in sugar a little at a time. Once sugar has been whisked in, whisk for an additional minute, until mixture is lightened in color. Add milk, cream, salt, and any additional flavoring, extract, or zest. Whisk for an additional 30 seconds, until the mixture is uniform.
Place pieces of bread in a large bowl. If you are adding other ingredients (fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc.) toss them into the bread so it is evenly distributed. Pour custard over bread and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
After a few minutes of soaking, toss bread mixture, bringing pieces from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Allow the mixture to soak for a couple of additional minutes. This will help ensure that the bread is evenly soaked through with custard.
Pour bread mixture into prepared baking dish. For an attractive top, try to place many of the crust ends on the top surface.
Pour excess custard liquid over bread. Allow it to soak in completely.
Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake pudding for 30 minutes with the cover on, then remove foil and bake until the pudding puffs slightly and does not seep liquid when pressure is applied to the top of the pudding—an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving warm.
If all you have is fresh bread, you can dry it by cutting it into roughly 1-inch pieces, spreading them on a couple of rimmed baking sheets, and baking in a 275°F (135°C) oven until dry, about 20 minutes.
14- by 8- by 3-inch deep ceramic baking dish
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 30g||39%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||80%|
|Total Carbohydrate 62g||23%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 29g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|