Bread Pudding question
I've been searching through past posts and trying to discern which is the best method for make ahead of time Bread Pudding.
Option 1) Make and bake the bread pudding a day ahead of time and re-heat for the party.
Option 2) Make the custard and let the bread soak overnight (using hot dog buns) and then bake before serving.
Option 3) Make the custard a day ahead, but but don't mix in bread or bake until ready to serve.
Any thoughts or consensus?
Given the three choices, I agree wholeheartedly. Inasmuch as bread is the primary ingredient, using baked goods like hot dog buns should be a criminal act. May I suggest a nice Panetonne bread pudding with a nice plum sauce, orange sauce or perhaps an Amaretto sauce? If you can't get or don't care to use Panetonne, a good quality sweet french bread is a better choice than hot dog buns.
Option one is a good one IF you use a better bread...you need something with texture for bread pudding. Hot dog buns are okay for use as a stuffing ingredient but not for bread pudding. Use something like French or Italian bread, crossiants, callah, maybe a unsliced loaf of cinnamon raisin bread that you can cut into large cubes. These breads will hold up to the custard whereas the hot dog buns will disintegrate.
I never allow my custard to soak the bread overnight. To me, it makes the entire thing mushy. I mix up my custard and press the bread into it for about 10 minutes then it gets baked off, which results in a pudding with texture and a little chew. I don't see the need to make the custard the day before because it takes about five minutes to whip up the ingredients.
You've picked a simple, forgiving recipe to whip up quick. Don't be intimidated by it. Cut up some crusty bread the day before, let it dry out a bit overnight.
Whipping together egg, milk, sugar, vanilla should only take a couple of minutes. Soaking time 10-30 minutes, during which time you can prep other stuff. (My favorite variation -- add some cherries from a jar, or raisins soaked in brandy or whisky).
If your oven is occupied, the temperature will be forgiving for baking the bread pudding. Put it in together.
Option 1) is the second best. Re-heat in the oven, so you get the crisp top. Which really doesn't seem like a savings of anything.
Rule #1, soak overnight if you have much better than average hot dog buns. If you don't, please consider buying a better bread, a panetone or brioche, challah or even just a good crusty bagette or two. Allow the bread to dry out overnight. Then soak overnight, which would be the next night. I'm with you on option 2. Option 3 is out, as any decent bread pudding needs some soaking time.
If you have average hot dog buns, well, see my rule #1.
Bake in advance, like in late afternoon of the evening you serve the pudding, and serve it warm or at the very least room temp, warm is much better, never cold, like my mother used to do, just terrible. Make a nice sauce to go on top or under, something with bourbon or whisky, sugar and cream.