|Bread pudding before baking.|
When you bake your own bread or buy good bread made without preservatives, it can be hard to use it all up before it gets stale. Never fear! You can use leftover bread to make bread pudding. You can make it as simple or extravagant as you'd like. Here's the basic recipe I use:
* 4 c stale bread, torn into bite-sized pieces (Most people cut the crusts off, but since I'm trying to reduce waste as much as possible, I leave them on)
* 2 c milk, half and half, cream, coconut/almond/rice/soy milk
* 1/4 c butter* 1/2 c sugar, brown, white or raw
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* dash of vanilla extract
Heat the milk and butter. Mix in the bread pieces; add the sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Bake in a baking dish at 375 degrees until the pudding is set in the middle.
You can add raisins, dried fruit, fresh fruit, more seasoning, caramel topping, streusel topping, nuts, or citrus zest.Don't be limited to plain breads. Use panettone, sour dough, cinnamon raisin bread, challah, brioche, and rolls of all types.
If you have croissants that have become stale or if you bake some that don't turn out quite right, you can make plain croissant pudding. This recipe calls for plain croissant, but you can modify it for any variety you have on hand.
Take corn bread that is too crumbly or that gets dry to make Cornbread pudding.
Plain leftover rice can be used to make rice pudding.
Leftover cake, or cake edges can be used to make cake scrap pudding.
Leftover doughnuts can make doughnut bread pudding.
Made too much spaghetti? Make chocolate pasta pudding.
On the off chance you have leftover biscotti (something that has never, ever happened to me), you can make biscotti bread pudding.
Dried-out muffins? make muffin bread pudding.
Made too many waffles? Make waffle pudding.
Hard or dry cookies can be made into cookie pudding.
Extra bagels can be made into sweet or savory bagel pudding.
Mix-Ins and Add-Ons
Match the add-ins to the flavor. Imagine toasted walnuts and cinnamon in a maple custard. Yum!
Crumble up dry, leftover sweets for a crunchy topping.
If you dehydrate a lot of fruit, you likely have lots of little broken bits of fruit. These are perfect for tossing into the pudding for a bit of flavor and nutrition (yeah, that's it...it's a nutritious dessert..).
If you have an almost-empty jar of jam or jelly, swish some of the milk from the recipe in the jar to get that last little bit out. Add the flavored milk to the custard recipe. Just make sure that the flavors complement each other.
Swish milk in an almost-empty bottle of chocolate or maple syrup and use the flavored milk in the recipe.
You can serve your puddings hot or cold, or with ice cream or whipped cream. The more decadent puddings, such as croissant or doughnut pudding, are best served as is, while more basic recipes wouldn't be overpowered by a scoop of ice cream.
If you are having company, make mini bread puddings in ramekins for an elegant, easy dessert.
Bread pudding holds up well for potlucks, and can be served at room temperature.
Have a "leftovers" pudding recipe I've forgotten? Tell me about it in the comments.