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Bread Pudding: Tips & Techniques


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Too late for V.D., but I'll recommend this one:

This recipe from As American as Apple Pie is credited to Chez Helene in New Orleans via Nora Ephron's "Heartburn"

1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces

2 1/2 cups milk

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

2 T nutmeg

2 T vanilla

1 cup seedless raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine bread with milk in large bowl

Beat butter with sugar until fluffy

Beat in evaporated milk, nutmeg, and vanilla. Stir in bread mixture and raisins.

Pour into 3 to 4 quart baking dish. Bake 1 hour. Stir gently and bake 1 hour more. Serve with hard sauce.

I've used dried cranberries or prunes soaked in armagnac in place of the raisins.

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The Epicurious recipe I tried turned out great. Really rich, as you'd guess from anything that includes as much eggs, butter and cream as it does, but delicious.

One thing I noticed as I searched for a recipe: although most of the bread puddings I've eaten in restaurants are more compacted (and most likely made from single pieces of bread), all of the receipes I found called for cubes. Any thoughts on this?

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I don't know that the compaction comes from single pieces of bread. It more likely has to do with the fact that it has been made ahead of time and it tends to get "flat" pretty quickly.

In New Orleans, at Commander's Palace, waitstaff will ask at the beginning of the meal if you are going to be ordering Bread Pudding Soufflee. THis is not really a hardsell technique, but has to do with the fact that it is run into the oven by the order and not made ahead of time. It is delicious and certainly not flat.

I never care anyway as I like it as much out of the fridge as a cold item as I do all hot and covered in sauce fresh out of the oven. Big drripping hunks of day old bread pudding are one of the pleasures of life, in my book. :wub:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I've always thought that there were two types of bread pudding:

The custardy kind, which has more custard than bread, and the dry kind, which has significantly less custard added to it than the bread could have absorbed.

I've always been on the extreme of the custardy end of the scale. It seems to me that if a recipe contains one piece of bread, soaked and baked, that it would be as much a baked french toast than a bread pudding, but that may just be me.

The souffle bread pudding would simply be an extravagantly rich version of the custard type.

But now that I read edsel's post, I realize that there's another type, which is represented by the recipe in that post. There is no custard, and the bread is soaked in a sweetened liquid with high butter content.

[/flashback]I had a variation on this once at a Tony Roma's where a group of us were taken at the end of an important project. The bread pudding I ordered was basically toasted bread cubes, saturated with a sugary artificially flavored margarine. Eeeww.:shock::huh::angry:[/flashback]

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I've always loved the recipe in Nancy Silverton's Dessert book. Although, like most of her recipes, it is a bit of a pain in the butt to make. It is more towards the less custardy end of the bread pudding spectrum, and it has a caramel bottom (top) like an upside down cake, with layers of caramelized apple puree in it. Yumm!

I think the ones that seem like one piece of bread are probably softer bread and more custard so that it all kind of becomes one mass--My preference is when there are some dryer crispy parts also.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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I like to coat the bottom of dish with hot caramel, and then unmold it after baking. Mmmm...

In the restaurant I was working in at one time, I took leftover stale brownies (an excellent reason not to bake low-fat brownies in the first place, as they are stale almost immediately), broke them up, packed in a pan, covered with custard and baked. It was great, but we couldn't figure out what to call it.

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Try this. It is a compromise between the dry kind and the custard kind.

3 cups half and half (or whole milk)

3 eggs

1 cup sugar (additional for sprinkling on top)

1 TBS vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamom

1 tsp nutmeg

Beat together in large bowl

Then put:

5 cups cubed day old challah

1 cup raisins

into a 2.5 liter buttered souffle dish

Pour custard mixture over bread. Let soak for 1/2 hour or so.

Bake in a 350 degree over for 45 minutes or so. Sprinkle additionalo sugar on top after about half and hour. Mexican pilloncillo works very well for the top.

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I used challah-baker's bread pudding recipe as a "base" this past weekend, as I am always looking for the ideal bread/ liquid proportions. My past results have been inconsistent, but I was very pleased with this recipe. My variation:

1. Added a little more bread because I didn't want any custard without bread, yet I wanted it very moist. Used about half a one pound loaf, 6 cups lightly packed, and this was about right for me, only a little custard in the bottom.. The bread was challah from the grocery store bakery with crusts removed.

2. Omitted spices and raisins as I wanted to serve pudding warm with a sauce and whipped cream. Used milk instead of cream for this reason also, but I did top with about 3 T. melted butter.

3. Baked in an 8 x 11 pan for ease of serving and maximum of crust, about 35 minutes, then turned up the heat to 425 degrees to brown.


Puffs "loverly" and re-puffs when you re-heat in oven. It tasted very much like a dessert souffle.

Both raspberry jam sauce and caramel sauce (tried separately) seemed a bit sweet with the amount of sugar in the pudding, even with whipped cream barely sweetened. A more tart raspberry sauce is called for. Pudding would be perfect with this amount of sugar, however, when adding raisins and spices and serving plain or with whipped cream alone.

Adding the butter on top prevented the crust of sugar from getting crisp, so I wouldn't do this again. In places the butter didn't reach, it was quite nice and crusty.

Did you know you can substitute cake cubes for half the bread in bread pudding recipes? Stale pound cake or Sara Lee's from the freezer or probably ladyfingers would do, and a minimum of sugar. I have made a bread and cake pudding with candied fruits soaked in rum or Grand Marnier and a little chopped chocolate added.

Thanks, challah-baker, for a most satisfying recipes. I'll definitely be making it again soon.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I used to work at a British bakery here in the states, and we sold slices of bread pudding. We used the crusts fron our finger sandwiches (obviously we trimmed the crusts before filling the sandwiches to avoid cross-contamination) and saved the trimmings in a plastic baggie in the fridge until we had enough.

We used a 9-inch non-stick round cake pan, buttered *heavily* and lined with parchment on the bottom. Cube the bread trimmings, and pack them in the pan until the pan is full. Empty the cubes from the cake pan into a large mixing dish, and toss with the soaking mixture:

1 1/4 cups milk

3/4 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 TBSP Saxa mixed spice (or pumpkin pie spice)

3/4 cup raisins

let soak for 20 minutes, mixing occasionally, then pack into pan and bake at about 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until done (Ie: not soppy in the middle)

Keeps in the fridge for two weeks or so.

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Here's one more recipe to try... My restaurant is "famous" for this recipe

I make this 3 times a week at work, sometimes more for catered events. It is one of the Governor's favorites. I think it very casual, common, but it is our best selling winter dessert-- I would love to ditch it for spring/summer, but the city would mutiny! :laugh:

My proportions are for a 2" hotel pan, so you will probably want to cut in half.

... it bakes quickly, well, and puffs. It is crispy on top, very moist, and very rich with all that butter and cream. For service, we cut a (cold) square from the pan, zap it in the micro to warm up and re-puff, and then drizzle warm caramel and cold creme anglaise on plate. The plastic while baking keeps in the moisture, and makes the pudding (in my mind) just the right balance of custard and bread.

Harry Browne's Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

1 or 1 1/2 loaves (pullman style) day old or frozen Brioche (I think an egg bread is a must)

cut into cubes, crusts and all, drizzled with about 8 oz melted butter and about 6 oz sugar, toss all together, spread out on sheet pan, and toast 5-7 minutes til golden brown and smelling wonderful. Put toasted cubes into hotel pan. Mix in one pound golden raisins.

Bring to simmer 2 saucepans, each with 2 qts of heavy cream. Remove first pan of hot cream, add 8-10 oz of dark rum, and pour over cubes. It will absorb quickly..

Into second saucepan of hot cream, temper in 12 yolks/about 1 cup, mixed with 2 cups sugar. Pour this second custard mix over soaked bread, (some top pieces will still be crispy, try to push them down gently so they all get wet.)

Cover whole pan with plastic wrap tightly, then cover with layer of foil. Bake 350 degrees for 25 min. Remove from oven, remove foil and plastic, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar, return to oven for just 10 min.

Cool completely before covering for cold storage.

Cut squares and reheat in micro to repuff.

Since Xmas, we have had a lot of leftover eggnog in the walk-in, so I have been SECRETLY replacing one of the quarts of cream in the first saucepan with a qt. of eggnog. It has been heavenly... and even more rave reviews... regular customers noting that "it is even better than usual!". I only have about 4 or 5 quarts left... what will I do when I run out, and have to go back to the old version??? :laugh:

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Many thanks for the bread pudding recipe!

Sounds terrific!

Some small questions:

First, for "1 or 1 1/2 loaves (pullman style) day old or frozen Brioche", I have no idea how much Brioche that might be. So, the next time you cook this, could you weigh the Brioche you use and let us know the result in grams, ounces, or whatever?

Second, I don't really know what "pullman style" is.

Third, what is the shape, e.g., length, width, height, of a "hotel pan" and the material it is made of?

Fourth, when you "toast 5-7 minutes", on a "sheet pan", could you describe the shape and material of the sheet pan?

Fifth, for the "toast" operation itself, can you describe the form of the heat, e.g., some temperature in a oven, broiler, or whatever?

Of these, the first and last are the ones that I guess would be most important for me to know.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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My two favorites are from Gordon Ramsey's Just Desserts and Keith Famie's Adventures in Cooking. Gordon's is a nice basic recipe, heavy on the cream, and instead of the preserves on top, I tend to sprinkle mine with a little cinnamon and sugar. The recipe that I've got the most intense responses from is Keith's Michigan Bread Pudding with Maple Creme Anglaise. It has dried cherries in it instead of raisins which gives it a little more depth and sophisticated flavor than your average bread pudding. I've baked for a lot of years and it's the first time I've ever heard my mother moan over my cooking. Brought down the house at work too. I was really blown away by the intense reactions. When you're cooking it, everything in it seems a little intense at first... the spices, the fruits, the bourbon, but it all cooks down into a wonderfully subtle mixture as long as you don't forget the message in the end about the tin foil cover. If you don't use it, the bourbon can over power it a little. Wonderful recipe.

Pamela Wilkinson


Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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In New Orleans, at Commander's Palace, waitstaff will ask at the beginning of the meal if you are going to be ordering Bread Pudding Soufflee. THis is not really a hardsell technique, but has to do with the fact that it is run into the oven by the order and not made ahead of time. It is delicious and certainly not flat.

I made this for valentines dinner and served it in individual ramekins with the burbon sauce. The recipe was in last months issue of Food and Wine. Both my wife and I agreed it was fantastic.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Cover whole pan with plastic wrap tightly, then cover with layer of foil. Bake 350 degrees for 25 min.

The plastic wrap does not melt at all? I would have been afraid to bake plastic.

No - It is one of those mysteries...

When blind-baking pie crusts, you can wrap beans in saran/plastic wrap to weight the dough and use it over-and-over!

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project- sorry so long to answer your questions, have been away

1) and 2) A pullman pan is a standard, usually lidded, usually aluminum, bread loaf pan, measuring 16 x 4 x 4, used to make a 2 # loaf of sandwich bread. Brioche made in that pan does not use the top, so that it rises above and over the edge in a big "puff" sometimes as much above the pan as in the pan.

I don't know what the weight of the brioche loaf is, and it can be varied, as the loaf may be day old or even frozen, and depending on how dried out it is. If the loaf has been frozen or is on the small side, sometimes I use a loaf and a half. Generally, I cut enough cubes to well fill the hotel pan up, before adding liquid. When the cubes are all spread out on the sheet pan, they are at least 2 or 3 deep, covering the pan entirely. When I toast the cubes, I usually toss them around halfway through so the bottom ones get on the top to brown.

3) a hotel pan is a standard stainless steel pan used in all professional kitchens, designed to fit in steam tables, racks, and chafers. The standard depth is 2", but they also come deep in 4" and 6", and also perforated for steam. The full size (as I use) is 12 x 20. Smaller pans are appropriately called halfs, thirds, sixths, and ninths, respectfully.

4) A sheet pan is an aluminum pan, again used commonly in kitchens. Full sheet size is 18 x 26; half sheet pan is 18 x 12. Depth is 1". Guests in my house often call them "metal trays" -- as that is what they look like. Baking racks (or also called speed racks), are made to fit/hold many sheet pans, lined up on top of each other with space in between for cooling.

5) When I say "toast" I mean heat in a hot oven until golden brown. I don't set a particular temp, nor time, as it depends on what else I may be baking. Obviously if the heat is low (for cheesecakes, for instance,) the heat is 275... the cubes will take longest. If the oven is 350, then maybe only 5 or 7 minutes; if high heat, then they will brown fastest - in only 3 or 4 minutes.

Hope this clarifies things for you. Most, if not all, terms like this, I am sure can be found if you did an internet search, and probably with pictures to boot!

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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Thanks for the extra details!

For the amount of Brioche cubes in the bread pudding, we have three estimates:

First, a 'pullman' pan is 16 x 4 x 4", can be used to make a two pound loaf of bread, and for the bread pudding you are using 1 to 1 1/2 loafs of Brioche made in such a pan.

Second the cubes of Brioche fill up a 'hotel pan' of 2 x 12 x 20".

Third, during the toasting, the cubes are 2-3 deep in a 'sheet' pan of 1 x 18 x 26"

Sorry to be so dense, dull, and obtuse on the pans! I'm in the US and not a professional cook!

Let's see:

The volume of the pullman pan is 16 x 4 x 4 = 256 cubic inches, and a Brioche loaf made in such a pan will likely have volume larger than that of the pan.

The volume of the hotel pan is 2 x 12 x 20 = 480 cubic inches.

The volume of the sheet pan is 1 x 18 x 26 = 468 cubic inches.

So, maybe the best estimate for the amount of Brioche cubes is the 480 cubic inches.

Let's see what that volume would be in US quarts:

480 cubic inches =

480 / (12 * 12 * 12) cubic feet =

7.481 * 480 / (12 * 12 * 12) US gallons =

4 * 7.481 * 480 / (12 * 12 * 12) US quarts =

8.312 quarts

or a little over two US gallons, a lot of Brioche cubes! But, then you also have four quarts of heavy cream plus about 1 cup of egg yolks (12 egg yolks).

So, have about twice the volume of Brioche cubes as heavy cream and egg yolks.

So, a person cooking at home might scale back to, say, 2 quarts of Brioche cubes, 1 quart of heavy cream, and 3 egg yolks.

To compare proportions, the recipe from challah-baker has 3 C half and half, 3 eggs, and 5 C of day old challah which seems to be a little wetter.

Rum, raisins, cinnamon, custard, warm caramel, cold creme anglaise -- the recipe sounds terrific. As soon as I find some Brioche, I'll likely make a batch!

Thanks again!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I have a luscious, tender, buttery, White Chocolate and Challah Bread Pudding at my website - I also have a Bread Pudding Muffins, there, and in my cookbook

The Best of BetterBaking.Com....website is www.betterbaking.com.

If you have trouble accessing it, email me.

A Note From Marcy, via www.betterbaking.com BetterBaking.Com, Online Magazine For Bakers 1997-2004

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My favorite bread pudding is from "La Dolce Vita" by Michelle Scicolone:

Budino di Mele (Apple Bread Pudding)

(serves 10 to 12--yeah, right, sure...)

4 c. cubed Italian or French bread

1 qt. milk

8 Golden Delicious apples (about 3 pounds--I've also used Granny Smiths)

6 T. unsalted butter

1 1/4 c. sugar

1 c. golden raisins

4 large eggs

1 t. grated lemon zest

Confectioners' sugar

1) In a large bowl, combine bread and milk; set aside 1 hour.

2) Preheat oven to 325 F; butter a shallow 2 1/2 - 3-quart baking dish

3) Peel, core and slice apples into 1/4-in. slices.

4) In a large skillet, melt butter over med. heat. Add apples and 1/4 cup sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples are tender. Stir in raisins. Stir this mixture into the bread and milk.

5) In a large bowl, beat eggs with remaining 1 cup sugar and lemon zest. Stir into apple mixture until well mixed.

6) Pour into prepared dish. Bake for 50 to 60 min. or until a knife inserted 2 inches from the center of the pudding comes out clean.

7) Slide the pudding under a preheated broiler and broil until the top is lightly browned, about 1 to 2 min. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving.

This is fantastic when freshly made. The pudding has a crispy crust and a very light body. By the second day, it is still delicious, but the moisture of the apples causes everything to soften.

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I forgot to mention that I usually use LaBrea french bread when making Famie's recipe and it's wonderful the next day. The leftovers actually nuke really well. I was surprised.

Pamela Wilkinson


Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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      *NOTE: Use cider or distilled white vinegar, do not use wine vinegar.
      1 1/2 cups, sugar
      2 heaping teaspoons, pickling spice mix.
      Carefully wash the cucumbers and bell pepper. Slice all vegetables very thin, using a food processor with a narrow slicing blade, or by hand, or using a V-slicer or mandoline. Toss the sliced vegetables together in a glass or crockery bowl large enough to hold twice the volume of the vegetables. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, add the cracked ice, toss again to blend all ingredients and add water to just barely cover the vegetables. Place a heavy plate on top of the vegetables to keep them below the top of the liquid.
      *Set aside for 4 hours.
      Place the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a 4-quart Pyrex or other microwavable container (the large Pyrex measure works very well)
      Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes. [if a microwave is not available, simmer the syrup in a narrow saucepan on the stovetop, over low heat, for the same length of time.] Allow the syrup to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the spices.
      Place one wide-mouth quart canning jar (or two wide-mouth pint jars) with their lids in a pot of water to cover, place over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees). Remove the pot from the heat and allow jar(s) and lid(s) to remain in the hot water until needed.
      *After the 4 hours are up (crisping the vegetables as described above) pour the vegetables into a large colander and rinse well. The cucumber slices should taste only slightly salty. Return the rinsed vegetables to the bowl, add the mustard seeds and celery seeds and toss well until evenly distributed. Set aside.
      Return the syrup to the microwave, microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes [or heat the syrup on the stovetop] until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature of the syrup is 190 to 200 degrees.
      Place the vegetables into one wide-mouth quart jar, or in 2 wide-mouth pint
      jars that have been scalded as described above. Pour the syrup over the vegetables, place the lids on the jar or jars, tighten well and place in the refrigerator overnight.
      The following day, turn the jar upside down - then continue to turn every day for 2 weeks. (This is to insure that the pickles are evenly flavored)
      After 2 weeks open the jar and taste. The pickles should be ready to eat.
      Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months.
      ( RG2154 )
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