First of all, we needed bread. I know bread pudding is a dessert that you make to use leftover bread, but we'd used the last of the bread that's not getting turned into croutons for french toast yesterday morning. Due to the magic of the bread machine, turning out a loaf was easy enough, so:
Sally Lund Bread, from America's Best Bread Machine Baking Recipes, which I think I'm going to have to give back to the library and buy a copy of, because it hasn't disappointed so far.
for a 1.5 pound loaf:
- 1 c milk
- 1 egg
- 0.75 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbs butter
- 3.5 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp bread machine yeast
Measure into your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufactorer. Select the sweet cycle.
I used the "light" crust setting, and this bread turned out perfect, slightly sweet, dense, and not as eggy as I was expecting. The leftovers that didn't go into the bread pudding made killer toast with butter and raspberry-lemon marmalade this morning.
Once we had the bread, we could make the bread pudding. The recipe is from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bitman
time: about one hour, largely unattended (I think the prep on this took me about 15 minutes. Not bad.)
- 3 cups milk
- 4 tbs unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the pan
- 1.5 teas ground cinnamon
- .5 c sugar plus 1 tbs
- pinch salt
- 8 slices white bread, crust removed if they are very thick
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8x8 cooking dish. Cut or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces; don't worry about making them too small. Place bread in pan.
- Over low heat in a small saucepaun, warm the milk, butter, 1 teas cinnamon, .5 c sugar, and the salt, just until the butter melts. (Bitman calls for doing this and then tearing the bread up while the butter is melting. It doesn't take that long for butter to melt. He's on crack. Pour the hot milk over the bread. Let is sit for a few minutes, occasionally submerging any pieces of bread that rise to the top. (If you want chocolate bread pudding - and trust me, you do - melt 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into the milk/butter mixture. If you forget to do this, you can successfully melt the chocolate and mix it in after the milk has been added to the bread, nad it'll be just fine. Don't nuke the chocolate too fast, or you'll burn the first batch. Luckily, the smoke was very localized and noone noticed.)
- Beat the eggs briefly and stir them into the bread mixture. Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.
- Set the baking dish in a larger baking pan and pour hot water in, to within about an inch of the top of the dish.
- Bake 45 minutes to an hour, until a thin bladed knife inserted into the center comes out clean or mostly so. Broil for about 30 seconds if you want the top brown (I didn't bother). Serve warm or cold.
We served it straight out of the oven with this caramel sauce, and it was amazingly good. Straight up comfort food, and in no way good for you, but sooooo tasty. I'm already plotting the next batch; I think it would be excellent with chocolate or peanut butter chips, or both. The caramel sauce was tasty, and making it was magic (I'm stirring the sugar around, thinking this isn't going to go anywhere, and then suddenly it was crystallyzing, and then it was liquid, and I added the cream and hot damn, it was caramel) but it wasn't quite rich enough. So I'm on the look-out for a more rich caramel sauce recipe.