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Bread Pudding Disaster

I need bread pudding help! Every time I try to make my favorite dessert at home, it's mushy and not the rich, eggy dessert that I love. I've tried different recipes, and I always use great Challah or french bread. I've tried baking it in a loaf pan and a 9 x 13. What could be the problem?

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  1. Lauren, are you "staling" or toasting the challah first?

    1. Is the bread fresh, stale, or oven-dried? You'll get best absorption of the custard and better overall results with oven-dried bread over bread left to go stale. Fresh is right out.

      1. Although allowing the bread to go stale will add to the pudding, it can be made with fresh bread if you whisk in a bit of baking powder to the custard. It will give it a rise so it wont be dense & mushy. Also, you may not be cooking the bread pudding long enough which is why it could be mushy. Same thing if you under cook a cake.

        1. I make my bread pudding in a water bath. Perhaps if you post your recipe, we can diagnose the problem.

          1. Loooove bread pudding! you may try using 1 can evaporated milk
            1 c. condensed sweet milk and 1 egg to every 2 egg whites....I use about I loaf of stale french bread and 5 beaten eggs 10 egg whites...

            6 Replies
            1. re: girloftheworld

              That is ALOT of eggs for one loaf of bread....

              1. re: Cherylptw

                really?five eggs? then on top you add the beaten egg whites. I dont think I was very clear.. the five eggs are beaten and added to the mix.. the ten egg whites are separate.. you whip then like a meringue and ad them on top ....I realllllly need to just right things down

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  You are talking about 15 eggs (5 whole eggs + 10 egg whites) for one loaf of bread, which when torn or diced up is not really that much bread. If you just had the five eggs, it wouldn't seem like a lot but 10 additional egg whites make it overkill in my opinion. I'd use four eggs for the custard but it's your recipe.

                  I've never had a bread pudding with a meringue on top. What does it add to the dish?

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    it is just a cajun thing I learned from a friend..it adds a different texture so as to break up goo kind of like adding a strudel topping to one

                      1. re: girloftheworld

                        Do you have a pic of this? I'm curious

              2. - as mentioned bread isn't stale or toasted enough
                - too much liquid in your recipe
                - not baked long enough
                - are you baking covered in foil? If so that would also contribute to a squishy texture

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  I agree with the bread pudding not being baked long enough. It should be fairly firm when it is finished. I forget what the internal temp should be but id guess that 165-170°F should be right.

                  If it starts to get brown, I'd cover it loosely with foil, but don't seal it. Bread pudding needs to bake at a slower and lower(300°F max) temp. Custards cannot be rushed.

                2. Commanders Palace in NOLA makes a bread pudding soufflé that has a meringue. Its fantastic. Bread puddings are one of my favorites too but I don't use an eggy bread plus a custard. Too much. I prefer a stale or toasted French bread. The bread seams to hold up better and get plenty eggy with a rich custard.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: redgypsy

                    CP uses whipped egg whites but they are incorporated into a soufflé and not as a meringue topping. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/br...

                    I think the OP just has too much liquid for the bread. I start my bread pudding by plumping raisins in bourbon, water and sugar. I use evaporated milk in the custard and let the stale bread absorb the custard for about 10 minutes. Add the drained raisins. Then I add whole milk so that the mixture is soupy but not so thin that the raisins sink.

                  2. My choice for best pudding ever.

                    3 extra-large whole eggs
                    8 extra-large egg yolks
                    5 cups half-and-half
                    1 1/2 cups sugar
                    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
                    6 croissants, preferably stale
                    1 cup raisins