I got a new Kitchen Aid mixer recently and decided to give it a test ride making a batch of bread. I never bake bread so I thought this would be a good test to see if it would be easy to make a loaf at home anytime I wanted fresh bread and didn't want to have to go to the store just to buy bread. I decided to use the recipe that came in the cooking instructions in the box just to see if it would work out. The only thing was that I didn't have enough all purpose flour so I mixed some whole wheat flour in with it. The whole wheat flour made the loaf a lot denser but at least it upped the health content. The batch I made mixed 2 loafs. It took about 3 hours to complete the whole thing so it wasn't a quick process when you add up all the resting time but mixing it was pretty easy. I would finesse it a lot more next time I make it and probably just use all purpose flour but other than that it came out pretty good.
Since it made 2 loaves of bread and I didn't have enough room to put one in the freezer it got really hard after about 2 days so I had to decide what to do with it. After all the work and time put into it there was no way I was going to just throw it out.
I had 3 options as I saw it.
1. throw it out.
2. Make bread crumbs or
3. the Best idea.. Make Bread Pudding
I decided on making the bread pudding. I could use all of the leftover bread to make something delicious. I suppose bread pudding was created in the lean years when people couldn't afford to waste any food but really even if you can afford to waste money on food it's still a delicious dish to make.
I made mine with a traditional custard mix of milk, eggs and sugar and then added cinnamon and vanilla. For a little extra kick I added some Brandy.
I tossed in some dried cranberries and dark chocolate chunks.
You have to make sure you cover all the bread with the custard mixture and let it soak in the fridge until the liquid is absorbed by the stale bread.
Mine was a little under on the custard so the whole top was like crunchy french toast.
This is another one of those great winter comfort foods that makes you want to stay at home and just relax with great food.
This is what the bread to bread pudding looked like. I added some french vanilla ice cream but you could add whip cream, yogurt, caramel sauce or whatever you like to top it or just eat it as is.
And since you asked.. they both turned out great. The bread was very dense but it had good flavour.
The bread pudding turned out fantastic. The top was like crunchy little french toast croutons and the odd bit of chocolate and cranberry here and there gave it an extra layer of flavour. The middle of the bread pudding was like a very moist cake and the bottom had more crunch bits and was more cookie like in taste as it caramelized and crunchified.
Most people have bread, sugar, milk and eggs and a few spices in their pantry or fridge so this is a great last minute pull together brunch or dessert item for drop in friends and family.
Try it and I am sure you will love it.