A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bread Pudding

I never throw out drying bread, ends or crusts.  They make wonderful bread puddings, stuffings and croutons or used in any recipe calling for bread crumbs (think meatloaf).  Keep two large Ziplocs in the freezer, one for white bread pieces and the other for herb bread pieces.  If my bread ever turns out doughey or hollow in the middle, I cut off the good parts and toss them in the bag(s).
Here are two yummy recipes for leftover bread:

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce   
4 cups bread cubes  (1/2”-1” in size)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs – well beaten
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
--Spread bread cubes in 8- or 9-inch square pan.  Melt butter.  Add milk and heat to very warm or hot.  Pour over bread cubes in pan and let sit until bread is soaked through (10-15 min).

In separate bowl or blender, mix sugar, eggs nutmeg and vanilla.  Pour over bread mixture.  Bake at 350 until lightly browned, approx. 30-40 min.  Serve with vanilla sauce—recipe follows.

Vanilla Sauce 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla.
--Bring all except vanilla to boil.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.  Serve warm over bread pudding.

More often than not, I can’t wait for the white bread pieces to accumulate for this melt-in-your-mouth treat; so I make a fresh recipe of milk bread and press it out solid in a  greased jellyroll pan to bake.  Turn it out immediately after it comes from the oven; cut it into cubes when cooled.  The cubes can be used for bread pudding without first drying.

Herb Stuffing         makes 9x12 pan      350  for 25-40 min
I save the herb and dill bread leftovers all year to make stuffing at Thanksgiving-mmm!

8 cups bread cubes  (1/2-1 inch in size)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage
1 tsp. Italian herbs (omit if using herb bread)
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
½ - 1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms or two 4-oz cans, drained  (mushrooms optional)
  if using fresh mushrooms, reduce broth to 1/3 cup; drain canned mushrooms
½ cup butter
1 cup chicken broth and 1 tsp boullion granules or cube, or ½ cup prepared boullion
2 eggs

--Spread bread cubes in 9x12 pan.  In large frypan over med. heat, melt butter and cook celery, onion (and mushrooms if desired) until starting to soften and mushrooms release juices.  Add herbs/seasoning, broth or boullion and heat to very warm.  Pour over bread cubes in pan and let sit until bread is soaked through and slightly cooled (20+ min).   Beat eggs and stir well into pan mixture.  Bake until lightly browned.  Can stir and put in bowl, or cut into squares and serve on plate.

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