When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. When life gives you dense loaves of bread, you make bread pudding.
Or something like that.
For whatever reason, yeast recipes intimidate me. I don’t bake more than the occasional quick bread or batch of cookies so making bread from scratch is definitely out of my comfort zone. In attempt to get over the fear and start making some homemade bread, I’ve been dabbling a little. Some loaves have turned out much better than others. I was more than a little disappointed a few weeks back when I spent an entire afternoon on not one but two loaves of bread that turned out flat and dense. They tasted alright but the loaves were downright fugly.
What’s a girl to do?
Well, after cursing out the bread Gods, I cubed up the bread and covered it with milk, eggs, brown sugar and more brown sugar.
Bread pudding is good. Bread pudding covered in some sort of buttery, caramely sauce is really good. I love a good whiskey sauce on my bread pudding but since I didn’t have enough whiskey on hand to make sauce, I settled for a basic caramel sauce with a shot of High West Rendezvous Rye on the side. Again the whiskey helped ease the pain of a lost afternoon.
After scouring the internet for bread pudding recipes it became obvious that the custardy filling you pour over the bread was pretty universal but there seemed to be one major distinction. With raisins or without raisins.
I opted for golden raisins. Simply because I like them. And because they’re technically a fruit, it made me feel like I was adding something healthy to balance out the brown sugar. Almost. So there you have it, my argument for adding raisins. While I’m thinking about it, dried cherries and almond extract instead of vanilla would be awesome here. As would some dried blueberries and lemon zest or possibly some fresh raspberries and orange zest. The possibilities are endless.
Be warned that even though the bread pudding is good, the sauce is really where the magic happens. It’s all the willpower I have to not pour this sauce straight into my mouth. It has that much game. But then again, I’m a sucker for butter and browned sugar. As much as I’d love to master the art of baking bread at home, I’m content making bread pudding out of all the less than adequate bread.
Oy vey. My arse is not going to be happy. Not happy at all.
Brown Sugar Bread Pudding
For the Bread Pudding:
- 8 cups cubed bread
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Put the cubed bread crumbs in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, milk, beaten eggs, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread and set sit for 45 minutes, giving the bread an occasional stir. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and transfer the bread and any liquid into the butter dish. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Remove bread pudding from oven and let cool on rack for 20 minutes. While bread pudding is cooling, make the caramel sauce. *Note- the bread pudding can be served warm or at room temperature.
For the Caramel Sauce:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
In a small sauce pan, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in salt, vanilla extract, and evaporated milk. Slice bread pudding and pour over warm individual pieces.