At times, an epic adventure can turn into an epic loss. However, some failures can make ingredients for other successes. Bread and crumb pudding is, for me, the result of a fortunate accident or surplus leftovers. Sometimes the bread I make doesn’t come out right. Sometimes cookies get a little too dry. Sometimes I do this deliberately because it is very, very tasty.
Most often the event that yields this pudding is a failure for the bread gremlins to do their job and the dough does not come out big and strong. If I don’t manage to whip the gremlins into shape in time, the bread can bake up too dense and have uncooked spots. This can be due to ingredients temperature. If the starter is too cold, the dough will not rise well. If the dough is not stored in a warm enough location, it will not rise well. Temperature is important. And when that fails, there is pudding.
The basic formula is simple:
- 1 qt scalded milk
- 2 c bread crumbs
- 1/3c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1t vanilla
- 1/4c butter or margarine
- 1/2t salt
- 1/4t nutmeg
Scald the milk. Add the bread crumbs. Beat eggs slightly and add sugar, salt, and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Gradually stir the milk and bread crumbs into the egg mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased baking dish, let in a pan of warm water. Bake at 365F for 75 minute or until a knife can cleanly test the middle of the pudding.
Scalding the milk is a requirement from the old days when milk was not pasteurized. Even then, it was still a better bet to scald the milk just to be safe. Scalding is a simple process, but requires attention. Basically, bring the milk almost to a boil, and then remove it from heat. Done. I’m sure if you have ever boiled milk before, you know why it is important to keep an eye on it. Scalding is not essential for this recipe, but it does affect the flavor if it is not done. I always scald the milk.
Pouring the mixtures together slowly is also important as it prevents the eggs from cooking during the mixing process. This can lead to something that looks more like a creamy egg-drop soup. It still cooks up okay, but it’s like having scrambled-egg pudding. If that sounds unappealing, mix carefully.
Of course, just about any recipe I encounter is merely a starting point. Some of my favorite variations are as follows.
- Reduce sugar to 1/4c and add 1/4c craisins. Since they already have sugar, the sugar in the recipe can be reduced.
- Use cookie or bread crumbs. Eliminate the sugar entirely from the recipe.
- Toss in a handful of chocolate chips. Again, eliminate the sugar.
Overall, this recipe is a great base for using an overdose of crumbs or recovering from a Bread Epic Fail.