HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Ultimate Bread Pudding Medium..

hungryabbey Sep 8, 2009 07:17 PM

Planning a bread pudding for company and would like to maybe add in some apples or pears (it will be a fall dessert). But I can't decide on the "bread" part. My family really likes decadence and rich desserts, so I have no problem using the most caloric and unhealthy ingredients, as long as they will be delicious. So ,what would you use for making the most delicious bread pudding? Brioche?
Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Zeldog RE: hungryabbey Sep 8, 2009 07:49 PM

    For most delicious I would use croissants, but that's ridiculously expensive unless you have lots of stale croissants sitting around. Brioch or challah are fine, but I prefer the cheap "French bread" you can find at supermarkets that have their own bakeries. It has a bit of crust but the interior is relatively soft and it doesn't taste like much by itself. Avoid dense, crusty artisan breads such as pugliese or ciabatta, and don't even think about sourdough. Whatever you use, make sure it is completely dry. If the bread is not dried out, bake at very low temp (like 175F) for 20-30 minutes or until the bread crumbles when you squeeze it.

    Doughnuts? Sounds crazy, but try it and let us know.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Zeldog
      critter101 RE: Zeldog Sep 8, 2009 08:00 PM

      I adore bread pudding, and have made it with doughnuts...wasn't my favorite. The doughnuts tend to just get crumbly when mixed into the wet ingredients, the overall product is very sweet, with not much texture.

      1. re: critter101
        gordeaux RE: critter101 Sep 9, 2009 01:05 PM

        If you use donuts, I'd use cake only, and naturally, you'd cut down the sugar used in the custard portion.

        1. re: gordeaux
          phantomdoc RE: gordeaux Sep 9, 2009 06:16 PM

          The cafeteria at school used donuts and made a very good bread pudding from it.

    2. g
      gordeaux RE: hungryabbey Sep 8, 2009 07:59 PM

      cake donuts - not crazy at all. how does it sound crazy? It makes PERFECT sense.
      I've done chocolate iced cake donuts before. Use a combo of breads, it does not have to be all the same. My one piece of advice is: Ample soak time. Also, depending on what flavors you are going to go for, Mccormick makes a flavoring called "butternut extract" which is absolutely perfect for bread pudding.

      Lotta air in a good croissant, you'll probably need more than you might think. $$

      1. souschef RE: hungryabbey Sep 8, 2009 08:11 PM

        How about using a sour cream/butter cake?

        Note: I have not made it.

        1. todao RE: hungryabbey Sep 8, 2009 08:38 PM

          Bread pudding is not about the bread, it's about the blending of flavors and textures. The qualify and quantity of your custard will have a greater impact than the bread you use. But of those you listed, I'd select the Challah. Other? Perhaps Artos (Greek Celebration Bread) would bring it up a notch. I think the bread you use should be egg based to enhance the richness of the dessert.

          1. p
            pringle347 RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 08:52 AM

            I like to use croissants, but when the store was out of them, I picked up a pound cake and had rave reviews using that.

            1. chowser RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 09:36 AM

              I think it's open ended. I've used pumpkin bread and it's been great.

              7 Replies
              1. re: chowser
                greygarious RE: chowser Sep 9, 2009 10:14 AM

                I second the pumpkin bread - or gingerbread or spice cake or spice (cake-style)donuts. Good match with apples or pears. You won't need much sweetening....just keep in mind that you only need to sweeten the custard. My improvised holiday bread pudding is pumpkin eggnog, pumpkin spice cake, and egg. I did this when I had stale cake and Hood's pumpkin eggnog that was going to sour before it got finished. That has now become a standard winter treat.

                1. re: greygarious
                  chowser RE: greygarious Sep 9, 2009 10:43 AM

                  Gingerbread with pear. You've just come up with one of my Thanksgiving desserts. Thanks!

                  1. re: chowser
                    adamshoe RE: chowser Sep 9, 2009 06:33 PM

                    One of my all time fave desserts was gingerbread topped with creme anglaise and brown sugar, then broiled or brule├ęd and served with spiced, poached pears. The ultimate autumn dessert!! adam

                    1. re: adamshoe
                      chowser RE: adamshoe Sep 9, 2009 07:11 PM

                      That makes my mouth water. I have to try it that way, too. I considered baking pears into the gingerbread but on top sounds good. I have a few months to play with gingerbread desserts. Creme anglaise, or maybe creme fraiche to counter the sweetness.

                    2. re: chowser
                      yayadave RE: chowser Sep 9, 2009 07:58 PM

                      How about some hermits or great, big molasses cookies and apple chunks?

                      1. re: yayadave
                        chowser RE: yayadave Sep 10, 2009 04:33 AM

                        In bread pudding? In addition to bread chunks or instead of bread chunks?

                        1. re: chowser
                          yayadave RE: chowser Sep 10, 2009 08:06 AM

                          I was thinking "in stead." Might be a little rich and have a soft texture. If you used hermits, you would not have to add raisins. ( ) That's where a smiley face goes.

                2. puzzler RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 10:22 AM

                  Start with a pile of cinnamon rolls . . . .

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: puzzler
                    Sooeygun RE: puzzler Sep 9, 2009 01:44 PM

                    Or danishes. You end up with lovely little pockets of fruit filling. The restaurant DH works at used to make bread pudding out of all the leftover breakfast pastries: danish, cinnamon rolls, croissant, chocolate buns. Mmmm

                    1. re: Sooeygun
                      gordeaux RE: Sooeygun Sep 9, 2009 02:56 PM

                      That's right up my alley right there. Yum.

                      1. re: Sooeygun
                        hungryabbey RE: Sooeygun Sep 9, 2009 05:50 PM

                        oh boy cinnamon rolls sounds great. has anyone tried this?

                        1. re: hungryabbey
                          greygarious RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 05:58 PM

                          I've never been, but there is a restaurant, Pogo's II (as in 2), in Halifax, MA, that makes all sorts of baked goods, including a big cinnamon roll, into French Toast. Danish, cornbread, croissants, you name it, they French it. If you can make something into French toast, you can make it into bread pudding.

                          1. re: greygarious
                            hungryabbey RE: greygarious Sep 9, 2009 06:10 PM

                            hm, good point.

                          2. re: hungryabbey
                            modthyrth RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 07:29 PM

                            Nope, but I've used apricot kolaches that were going stale, and it was absolutely delicious. The texture of my kolaches is very similar to that of my cinnamon rolls. I imagine it would be delicious.

                            1. re: modthyrth
                              DishDelish RE: modthyrth Sep 19, 2009 03:30 AM

                              Kolaches, yum! I never thought of that before. Great idea!

                            2. re: hungryabbey
                              smarsh RE: hungryabbey Sep 12, 2009 07:58 AM

                              Cinnamon rolls are my favorite "bread" for bread pudding. Day old and un-frosted work best.

                        2. Uncle Bob RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 11:28 AM

                          I just like the simple staled out french bread version... served warm with a little pecan praline bourbon sauce on top.....

                          Be sure to check the bourbon before you make your sauce ;)

                          1. s
                            susan1353 RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 11:35 AM

                            Challah all the way. And here's a recipe for my most favorite: Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Pecan Caramel Sauce:


                            1. c
                              critter101 RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 01:13 PM

                              For a really delicious pudding at holiday time, I've used Italian panettone with citron and raisins...yum!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: critter101
                                greedygirl RE: critter101 Sep 11, 2009 10:36 AM

                                I second the panettone suggestion.

                              2. sbp RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 02:01 PM

                                Chocolate Babka for the bread. I've made this with a vanilla custard base (chocolate would compete with the chocolate in the Babka). It was decadent, rich, over-the-top. Just what you are looking for.

                                1. j
                                  jeremyn RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 02:40 PM

                                  If you're going to do a test run before your company arrives, go ahead and try these wacky suggestions. I bet they could be great.

                                  However, if you won't have time to make a test batch, I'd stick with the tried-and-true brioche or challah.

                                  1. h
                                    hungryabbey RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 05:51 PM

                                    So many great suggestions.. so hard to decide!! I do like the idea of gingerbread with pear.. but it might seem a bit too "christmasy" for my event. Does anyone have any specific recipes they have tried using some of these breads/pastries?

                                    1. a
                                      adamshoe RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 06:29 PM

                                      I worked @ a Creole restaurant that used brioche for the bread pudding-scrumptious!! Second choice would be challah or babka. It IS more about the custard and add-ins versus the bread. Just don't use sourdough!! adam

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: adamshoe
                                        hungryabbey RE: adamshoe Sep 9, 2009 07:05 PM

                                        Did you ever try croissant? I see everyone saying it will take a lot of them but I just read a recipe by Ina Garten tht only called for 6 and got amazing reviews.. but 6 really doesnt seem like much to me? I think I have it down to either brioche or croissant.

                                        1. re: hungryabbey
                                          yayadave RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 07:57 PM

                                          I have used some croissants from Costco. I split them and it did not take too many. Chubby li'l devils.

                                      2. c
                                        cinnamon girl RE: hungryabbey Sep 9, 2009 07:27 PM

                                        pannetone (sp?) in winter when it's available. Otherwise challah or french bread.

                                        1. jeniyo RE: hungryabbey Sep 10, 2009 10:26 AM

                                          this got me super obsessed for a bread pudding. i think i'm going to make one with a chocolate loaded chocolate babka and some brioche thrown in... so the consensus is half a cup of half and half and one egg no?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jeniyo
                                            greygarious RE: jeniyo Sep 10, 2009 11:24 AM

                                            That's the correct liquid to egg ratio, be it milk, half & half, or light cream.....or eggnog!

                                            1. re: greygarious
                                              chowser RE: greygarious Sep 10, 2009 01:39 PM

                                              And sometimes for more richness, I use a combination of egg yolks and whole eggs.

                                            2. re: jeniyo
                                              sbp RE: jeniyo Sep 10, 2009 01:42 PM

                                              Good idea mixing in brioche, especially if the Babka is very heavy on the filling and light on the bread (which happened to me once making this).

                                            3. Kajikit RE: hungryabbey Sep 10, 2009 03:49 PM

                                              I'd think donuts would just be greasy... challah bread is really yummy in bread pudding.

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: Kajikit
                                                hungryabbey RE: Kajikit Sep 10, 2009 05:42 PM

                                                thats what I was worried about.

                                                1. re: hungryabbey
                                                  adamshoe RE: hungryabbey Sep 10, 2009 06:30 PM

                                                  I'm sure that a certain silver haired, female, southern chef has a recipe for a donut bread pudding made with lard and butter and then deep fried in 40 weight motor oil ;) adam
                                                  P.S. Or perhaps it's made with twinkies as the base....

                                                  1. re: adamshoe
                                                    yayadave RE: adamshoe Sep 11, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                    I think this is the standard recipe. It really looks heart-healthy.

                                                  2. re: hungryabbey
                                                    greygarious RE: hungryabbey Sep 10, 2009 06:54 PM

                                                    Raised or cake donut yes, fried donut no - unless your name is Paula.

                                                    1. re: greygarious
                                                      sbp RE: greygarious Sep 10, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                      Raised and cake donuts are all fried. But I do agree that raised donuts should work. Cake donuts - not so much. It's not greasiness that will be the problem; IMO it's density and structure.

                                                      Bread pudding needs a somewhat open crumb to soak up the custard but also to keep the basic structure light. A cake donut, like a pound cake, is pretty dense in comparison. I have a feeling it will either dissolve into a goopy mass when soaked, or turn to lead.

                                                      1. re: sbp
                                                        hungryabbey RE: sbp Sep 10, 2009 07:32 PM

                                                        Would the croissant be okay then? or would it dissolve?

                                                        1. re: hungryabbey
                                                          sbp RE: hungryabbey Sep 11, 2009 05:54 AM

                                                          I suspect (I haven't tried it) a croissant would either dissolve or be greasy. Most bread pudding start with very yeasty bread, with big holes, somewhat chewy. Think challah, brioche, french bread. I think that's because they act as a sponge better than, say, a pound cake (where, I would suspect, the actual granules of cake are absorbing liquid, rather than the air pockets around them), and don't fall apart as easily. Croissants are one step away from phyllo dough. It's all about flakiness, not airiness. I think of the airiness in a croissant as like the air that gets trapped between layers of clothing. Lots of flat sheets with air in between. Not like a sponge, composed of bubbles.

                                                          1. re: sbp
                                                            Sooeygun RE: sbp Sep 11, 2009 10:00 AM

                                                            I have to disagree. I've had bread pudding made with croissants and they don't dissolve or get too greasy. It's really delicious.

                                                            1. re: Sooeygun
                                                              chowser RE: Sooeygun Sep 11, 2009 11:52 AM

                                                              I agree, croissant bread pudding is excellent.

                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                sbp RE: chowser Sep 11, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                                I yield -- like I said, I hadn't tried it. My assumption was primarily because they aren't "fluffy" to begin with.

                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                  hungryabbey RE: chowser Sep 11, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                                  glad to hear this... Sbp, I was thinking like you too. I was consulting my food science books (ha, really overthinking this). But I guess experience is king in this instance and I do love croissants, so I think I will attempt it.

                                                          2. re: sbp
                                                            sparkareno RE: sbp Sep 11, 2009 03:21 PM

                                                            I have a favorite recipe from a (now closed) famous L.A. restaurant that uses cake donuts & it is wonderful. They do dissolve a tiny bit but the flavor is delicious. I let them get a little stale first.

                                                            1. re: sparkareno
                                                              Norm Man RE: sparkareno Sep 18, 2009 12:22 PM

                                                              sparkareno, could you post your cake donut brad pudding recipe? Thanks.

                                                    2. f
                                                      Fiona RE: hungryabbey Sep 10, 2009 07:36 PM

                                                      Fifty years ago my Mom used to make the best bread pudding using store bought coffee rings from the day old rack. I have had many bread puddings since then but none as good as what she used to make.

                                                      1. m
                                                        myk7753 RE: hungryabbey Sep 18, 2009 01:47 AM

                                                        I used to work in the kitchen at a large High School in Southern California. The baker would use leftover cinnamon rolls from the day before to make the most luscious bread pudding I have ever had so I KNOW cinnamon rolls make a great base. What I can't duplicate is the heavy layer of custard that formed on the bottom of the bread layer, which managed to firm up just fine. It baked up much like the old Lemon Pudding Cakes used to. I was never given the recipe, I've just experimented and managed to come close to the bread pudding part, Anyone have any suggestions?

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: myk7753
                                                          Emme RE: myk7753 Sep 18, 2009 07:11 PM

                                                          Try doubling the amount of the custard batter. Then soak the cinnamon rolls overnight in half of it, then in the morning (or whenever), pour the remaining batter in a dish, and spread soaked rolls over the top and bake...

                                                          1. re: myk7753
                                                            hungryabbey RE: myk7753 Sep 18, 2009 07:17 PM

                                                            I think I have decided to try cinnamon rolls. Do you break them up first or just put them all in whole?

                                                            1. re: hungryabbey
                                                              smarsh RE: hungryabbey Sep 19, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                              I cut them into chunks just like I do any other bread for bread pudding, but I guess leaving them whole would work too.

                                                              1. re: smarsh
                                                                hungryabbey RE: smarsh Sep 21, 2009 06:11 PM

                                                                ok thanks, perfect.

                                                          2. r
                                                            robynschwartz RE: hungryabbey Sep 18, 2009 02:04 AM

                                                            We just made a great one using Sardinian flatbread (pane carasau) and Nutella. I'm sure that any kind of flatbread with a bit of thickness would do. It absorbed the liquid very well on the bottom layers and the top was nice and crispy.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: robynschwartz
                                                              Blueayez RE: robynschwartz Sep 18, 2009 05:43 PM

                                                              I wonder if dryed out pita bread would work...

                                                            2. f
                                                              foufou RE: hungryabbey Sep 18, 2009 09:40 AM

                                                              cinnamon raisin bread toasted or brioche are good choices

                                                              1. b
                                                                Blueayez RE: hungryabbey Sep 18, 2009 05:42 PM

                                                                As long as there's no raisins and you don't skimp on the bourbon hard sauce. Almost anything could work if it has the right texture.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Blueayez
                                                                  thecrabbycook RE: Blueayez Sep 18, 2009 10:14 PM

                                                                  If you use croissants, try sprinkling choc. chips between the halves before you add the custard and bake...also maybe try a savory pudding, with cornbread and some serious sharp cheddar, maybe a sprinkle of chopped jalapeno....

                                                                  1. re: Blueayez
                                                                    yayadave RE: Blueayez Sep 19, 2009 08:12 AM

                                                                    Blueayez brings up a good point with "right texture." That is a very individual choice. There's no "wrong" in texture. If you use baguettes with the crust on, you'll get a course texture. If you use any of the egg breads, you'll get a soft, mushy texture. How rich it is will depend on the add-ins you use and how rich your custard is.

                                                                  2. k
                                                                    Kelli2006 RE: hungryabbey Sep 18, 2009 11:37 PM

                                                                    If you can locate it on sale as day old, I'd use brioche or challah.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Kelli2006
                                                                      ipsedixit RE: Kelli2006 Sep 18, 2009 11:48 PM


                                                                    2. m
                                                                      mray RE: hungryabbey Sep 22, 2009 06:50 AM

                                                                      Ok, so I'm more on the "common" end of bread pudding mediums. . . I throw whatever leftover breads into the freezer and make mine from whatever I have at the time. Baguettes, hot dog buns, scones, etc. I soak and stir mine in the custard (milk/cream, sugar, vanilla & cinnamon) for a couple of hours until the bread pretty much breaks down but not completely dissolved and then bake at 300F. It's very dense and heavy but I've had people who swear they hate bread pudding rave about mine. I serve it with a brandy hard sauce the way I grew up on it.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: mray
                                                                        jeniyo RE: mray Sep 22, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                                        i just made mine with a old loaf of brioche with caramel sauce. it was yummy.

                                                                        i agree, i think any bread will do, and this reminds me, i got some old hawaiian buns leftover from a gathering

                                                                      2. b
                                                                        bear RE: hungryabbey Oct 4, 2009 06:31 AM

                                                                        I made a variation of this yesterday for a birthday party, and it went over really well.


                                                                        I subbed brioche for the raisin bread, used about 2 1/2 cups fresh Macouns for the apples and eliminated the dried apples, and added a teas. vanilla extract. The brioche, cider and heavy cream combined to make a silky texture and the apple complemented nicely. Served it warm with Dorie Greenspan's caramel sauce because I wasn't sure the extended family would appreciated the hard cider sauce. Great combo.

                                                                        Show Hidden Posts