Troubleshooting a bread pudding recipe
Hello. I recently made an apple bread pudding from a Dorie Greenspan book. The recipe looked very promising and it did taste good, but we found the pudding too firm. The recipe had a pretty standard mix of ingredients (3c milk, 1c cream, 3 eggs, 5 yolks), but unlike most bread pudding recipes I've made, this recipe had me heating the milk and cream first and then adding that to the egg-sugar mixture, like one would do when making creme anglaise. My questions: Do you think that this added to the firmness of the pudding? Is there some other advantage to doing this as opposed to the usual method of just mixing everything together and cooking it in the oven? Would an extra egg make the pudding softer. Thanks!
In my (limited, humble) experience with bread pudding, the milk and eggs should have a ratio of 1 egg to 1 cup milk. Scalding the milk has not made a difference in firmness that I've noticed--I've scalded and not scalded. More egg, with no increase in milk, will make a firmer custard, not softer. More milk would make it too soupy. I think there is simply too much bread in it, and it absorbed too much of the liquid.
with that amount of custard ingredients (wow) how much bread was called for? seems like the liquid could take an awful lot! Maybe try a smaller batch next time? I usually make about 2 c milk/2 eggs/3 cups torn breads and it makes 4 good-sized servings.
I've used everything from brioche to whole wheat bagels, and the bread texture didn't seem to make any difference to the texture of the finished 'pudding'. (Which I think is the old English term for 'dessert', not the custardy concoction we Americans think of as pudding)
Try baking the casserole in a bain marie (water bath-- this will contribute to the tenderness of the finished product.