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Alternatives to yeast bread in bread pudding

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I wan to make a bread pudding this weekend and don't feel like using and making yeast bread, for various reasons. I searched online and found a recipe using soda bread, but I'm not convinced that will be nice.

Has anyone used anything other than a yeast bread for bread pudding? I will be making it from scratch. Time/difficulty isn't a factor.

Any suggestions are welcome!!!

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  1. Stale cake works nicely; or any quick bread made with baking powder instead of yeast. Left over scones, biscuits, etc .....

    7 Replies
    1. re: todao

      cornbread makes a nice one too.

        1. re: ls150

          Oooohhhh....very good idea! I'm thinking add some molasses and make it an Indian Pudding type tying.

      1. re: todao

        Thank you. I wasn't sure how the texture would be using a quick bread instead. I appreciate your tips! Which one(s) have you made that you found work the best?

        1. re: ls150

          Texture in bread pudding is more a product of the custard than the bread but, for my own choice, I'd use the quick bread like dried/stale banana nut bread or a cinnamon loaf.

          1. re: todao

            Thanks. Maybe I will do the same, but with muffins (which would save me some baking time). Cinnamon sounds great. Thanks todao!

        2. Did it with donuts once, don't recommend it. But the one I made at holiday time with store-bought panettone was great.

          2 Replies
          1. re: critter101

            Thanks for letting me know. That seems like it would be pretty darn sweet! As for the store-bought, I can't purchase anything store-bought and make everything from scratch, so don't really want to go with panettone... but can imagine it is delicious.

            1. re: ls150

              I've done the donut one too (using glazed chocolate cake-type donuts). The donuts never quite melded into the pudding. It tasted like eating a bowlful of donuts. I do think it could be good - probably needed more liquid.

          2. Pound cake and/or angel food cake can work well, especially with a lighter fruit like berries. I wouldn't use ALL angel food cake because it's so light, and might just get goopy once in the custard. Pound cake gives bread pudding a nice texture for sweet puddings, imo -- but I'm a pound cake fan, regardless! You might try slicing day old berry muffins, and then using those.

            I second the idea of cornbread for a savory bread pudding, but I'd still make sure it's day old or toasted lightly in the oven before putting it in a custard, so it will have a decent amount of body even when soaked in custard. I like my bread puddings to have creaminess and texture from the bread or cake.

            2 Replies
            1. re: team_cake

              I really like the idea of using muffins. Thanks!

              1. re: team_cake

                I also do one with pound cake...spreading the cake with peanut butter and then cutting into cubes. I tend to make this one into a chocolate bread pudding since I'm a chocolate-peanut butter addict!

              2. I do it with pumpkin bread often. Leave the oil/fat out of the quick bread so it absorbs the egg mixture better. I do it for Thanksgiving in the crockpot because I've run out of oven space and it's really good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  That sounds fantastic. Thanks for the idea!

                2. croissants make great bread pudding.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: chez cherie

                    Thanks, though they aren't yeast -free. I am sure they would be delicious, though.

                    1. re: ls150

                      sorry--misunderstood that you didn't feel like making yeast bread, not that you were specifically avoiding yeasted goods.

                      1. re: chez cherie

                        No, I'm sorry! You didn't misunderstand. I don't feel like making yeast breads/goods in general, I don't avoid them. I just wanted something that was quick to make instead. Sorry I am so confusing! But I would definitely think they would be delicious.

                        1. re: ls150

                          This won't necessarily help you now, but danishes make good bread pudding. You end up with little surprises of whatever filling was in the danishes. Mr S worked at a hotel that used their day old danishes, croissant, cinnamon buns, etc to make bread pudding for the dessert buffet. doesn't work for a menu item, because of the inconsistency (every serving's different). I've picked up day old pastries just to make it at home.

                  2. Soda bread ought to work, but I haven't tried it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: John Francis

                      Yes, I thought it might, but I wasn't 100% sure - it has a bit of a different flavor/texture and didn't know how it might hold up.

                    2. a few weeks ago, i had some leftover carrot cake. i did a bread pudding with buttermilk in the custard. it was a nice compliment. i also served it with a cream cheese creme anglaise.

                      i've also used banana bread, pumpkin bread (as suggested above as well), buttermilk biscuits, cakey brownies, and though i hate to admit it... i made it once with chopped granola bars...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Emme

                        I really like the idea of something quick and easy like biscuits. And the pumpkin bread was a nice idea, too. Glad to hear they have worked successfully! I was also thinking I might do a simple quick bread, using club soda, perhaps, instead of beer in a beer bread. (And sweeten it up a bit). Or apple cider.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Thanks. BEcause of my love of pancakes, I am not sure I could make a batch for bread pudding without eating them, though!

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            I was also thinking this, it would go perfectly. Even could do gluten free

                          2. I often make extra extra breakfast breads and keep them in the freezer and have had great success making bread pudding with pumpkin bread.

                            1. I made bread pudding last week with a pumpkin bundt cake that had come out too dry. I added some raisins in, too. It was excellent. Served it with almond whipped cream.

                              1. Cooks Illustrated points out that oven-drying the cubed bread or cake or pastry you are using is preferable to staling it. The reason is that when baked goods stale, they crystallize, which traps much of the water they contain. When later heated, the crystals dissolve, releasing the moisture.
                                This is why you can revive bread that is a few days old by microwaving or oven-heating. But when you dry fresh bread pieces in the oven, the water evaporates rather than becoming trapped. The bread, being drier, can absorb more of the custard, and the bread pudding will also be crunchier at the top.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  That is really interesting! I had no idea about the physics of dry bread. It explains a bit about the nature of cubed bread stuffing, then too. Thanks!

                                2. I make about 60 muffins every week for the girls in my dorm, but sometimes the amounts vary, and when there are too many to eat, I make some sort of egg/flax/chia/almond milk/regular milk/yogurt/buttermilk/sugar/whatever is around mixture and go for it. The one thing I'd recommend is making sure you thoroughly soak your bread before baking it. Then, store in the fridge for a cool breakfasty treat (one of my favorites in the summer, if I can deal with turning the oven on).

                                  1. The mention of something being "too sweet" to use in bread pudding: Just use less sweetener in the custard mixture. I've made BP with everything from Wonder Bread to Danishes and it's just a question of total sweetness, not just what's in the bread product. Corn bread would be fine...I keep thinking about it with a custard that has Grand Marnier in it, corn and orange seem to work well togethr. Or studded w/ blueberries or raspberries....

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: lemons

                                      That sounds really yummy. I make a gluten free corn bread using a mixture of corn flour and corn meal. I wonder if that would work well in a bread pudding or do you need that wheat gluten?

                                      1. re: susanl143

                                        it would work beautifully. if you'd be willing to share, i'd love to see your recipe... do you use any xanthan gum? (hoping not...)

                                    2. I don't have the recipe handy, but my wife makes a pumpkin bread pudding with a vanilla creme anglaise on top that is absolutely out of this world delicious. I can dig up the recipe if you're interested.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mdzehnder

                                        @ mdzehnder
                                        That pumpkin bread pudding sounds wonderful! I'd love it if you'd share the recipe.

                                      2. I love the sound of corn bread pudding.
                                        Another option is to make yeasted bread that doesn't take a long time. My new favourite is a no-knead recipe that goes from start to baked in about 4 hours.
                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/din...

                                        1. I believe panettone was referenced earlier, but dismissed as 'too sweet" (or perhaps you were referring to the donuts?). A good Italian-recipe panettone should not be too sweet, unless it has been adapted for NA tastes.

                                          In any case, this is my 'go to' for bread pudding whenever I see it in the market, especially when it is on sale because of looming 'best before' date issues. I have made panettone in my bread-maker, too....but frankly, the supermarket ones with citron/raisin, not chocolate, are super for bread pudding. Just cut into chunks and either oven or air stale (depending on the degree of your love affair with Cook's Illustrated) and drench with the custard as usual...I do believe in letting the bread/cake soak for at least an hour before baking and using a bain marie, but I am fussy about bread pudding. I also pour on whiskey sauce if the pudding is for a special meal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: LJS

                                            I've never had panettone pudding but I"ll bet that would be great.

                                          2. My favorite bread pudding is made with stale biscuits.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: kengk

                                              Biscuits, like southern fluffy biscuits?

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                Yes, regular baking powder biscuits.

                                            2. Quick breads have been mentioned, up-thread, but one of the best bread puddings I ever had was from stale banana bread with walnuts, then a caramel syrup glaze. And, sadly, I didn't get the recipe.

                                              1. I don't understand why you would have to bake fresh homemade bread to make bread pudding. I make it in large quantities for a church feeding program and use bought bread all the time. And you don't need a lot---I don't use a full loaf of cinnamon raisin bread to make 24 generous portions of pudding. For family use a third of a loaf of leftover or stale bread would be adequate.