Cooking With Confidence
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Breakfast/Brunch, Economical, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Impromptu Savory Bread Pudding

by Nick

Have you ever had something that you know you should be doing regularly but you just can’t find time to get to it?  I call this my procrastithing.  I have many of them.

I think most people would say their procrastithing is something like going to the gym.

I have a bunch, but one of my procrastithings these days is listening to The Splendid Table podcast.  That might sound ridiculous, but as a food blogger, it’s something that I should really be listening to every week.  For some reason though, I have a hard time finding the time.

Of course, every time I do listen to it, I freakin’ love it.  They talk about everything I want to hear about.  I especially like the part of every show where listeners call in with super-random food or cooking questions and the host, Lynn, always has an amazing answer for every problem.

Recently, a guy called in and said something like, “I’m cooking brunch for 50 people.  It needs to be filling, fast, hot, and all that good stuff.”  It was a tough one.  Her answer was something I had never thought of:  Savory bread pudding.

As soon as the words came out of my speakers, I knew I had to make it.

Yield
8x8 dish.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Savory Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pieces of stale bread, torn into large pieces
  • 1.5-2 cups various cheeses, I used cheddar and goat cheese
  • 1-2 cups vegetables, I used a roasted red pepper and 1/2 an onion
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, for dish
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) Butter an 8x8 baking dish. Tear pieces of stale bread into large chunks and layer them in the buttered dish. If you don't have any really stale bread, toast your bread for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven to dry it out.

2) Add any sort of grated or crumbled cheese to the top of the bread until it just barely covers the bread. Two cups will be more than enough. I used a mix of cheddar and goat cheese.

3) Add a few handfuls of leftover veggies (or meat) to the dish. You can use almost any fresh vegetable. I used a roasted red pepper and 1/2 an onion.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk and pour the mixture over the bread and vegetables.

5) Cover the dish and let it rest for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge.

6) Season the dish with salt and pepper and a tiny pinch of ground nutmeg.

7) Bake the dish at 350 degrees covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for 30 minutes. The dish is done when the custard in the center are set.

8) Let cool for a minute or two and then serve immediately!

Recipe adapted from a Splendid Table recipe.

What the Custard?

Just like any bread pudding, you need a good custard.  Depending on the size of your dish and how much bread you have on hand, you might need more or less custard than the recipe above.

Always shoot for two eggs for every one cup of milk.  That’ll make for a really good custard.

custard

Just milk and eggs, baby.

Just whisk the eggs with the milk and set it aside until you need it.

The Pudding Parts

The best part about this recipe is its flexibility.  I’ve only made it once, but I could tell immediately that you can put almost anything in it.  You can use almost any kind of bread, any kind of cheese, and any kind of vegetable.

It’s the perfect leftover dish.

The one key to the dish is to make sure you have really stale bread.  This will make sure that the bread can absorb a lot of the custard mixture.  If you don’t have stale bread, no big deal.  Just stick your bread in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes and it’ll dry it out quickly.

Then just break your bread into pieces and layer it into the bottom of a buttered baking dish.

Then cover the bread with whatever cheese you’re using.  I went with cheddar and some goat cheese I have left over from my macaroni and (goat) cheese recipe.

breads

Toast that bread if it isn’t really stale.

The Vegetables

As I mentioned, you can shove almost any veggies you have around (cooked or raw) in this dish.  I went with 1/2 an onion and a roasted red pepper.  I’m having a hard time thinking of something you couldn’t put in this though.  Almost anything goes.

Just dice up whatever veggies you want to use and toss them on.

veggies

You can use almost any veggie.

Then just pour your custard mixture right into your dish!

pouring

Action shot!

Give it a Rest

It’s very important to let this dish sit for at least 15 minutes, but ideally an hour, before baking it.  You could make it the night before you needed it and just stick it in the fridge overnight.  That would be fantastic.

When you are ready to bake it, season it well with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg.  The nutmeg will really bring out the cheese flavors.  It works well, trust me.

seasoning

Nutmeg is a secret ingredient.

Baking the Dish

Bake this awesome thing at 350 degrees.  I recommend baking it for 20 minutes covered in foil and then uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set in the middle.  It should get slightly crusty and browned around the edges.

baked

This will make your house smell awesome!

Let this rest for a few minutes once it comes out of the oven and then scoop into it.

It’s absolutely packed with flavor.

cut

This is a really great dish.

I could easily see how you could feed a bunch of people with this method.  Just make these the day before the event and toss them all in the oven.

Done deal.

Does anyone else listen to The Splendid Table podcast?  They do good work!

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29 comments on “Impromptu Savory Bread Pudding

  1. Just wanted to say I am making this. As soon as possible. It looks amazing and I agree it seems completely customizable to any tastes. Also, wanted to say that I really appreciate your blog. I have lost count of the number of things I’ve made/tried/found out about because it showed up on your blog first. Some key ones would be quinoa (which I now eat quite literally 10x a week…as breakfast and lunch at work M-F) and tarragon vinegar. You might be interested to know that after reading your House Dressing post, I vowed to grow tarragon and make my own tarragon vinegar just for that recipe, and by golly I did. And it is delicious!! :) Anyhoo…just wanted to send you some kudos or props or whatever the kids are calling it these days. :) Always looking forward to the next post.

  2. Do you think it would work good with browned sausage and some of those country style hashbrowns for a breakfasty type bread pudding? Oooooh! Or crumbled bacon! Sorry….I’m just really excited now, because we love casserole type dishes in the winter. How well would you say this stuff would freeze? And would you do it before or after cooking?

    1. You could definitely use either sausage or bacon.

      As far as freezing goes, I think you could freeze it before. Then maybe just dethaw it in the fridge before baking?

      The leftovers keep well for a week though so I’m not sure I would freeze it after baking.

  3. I love this. Tell me NIck, did you change your site again and take out some of the green or am I imagining it. I still think it was great when you had your profile picture on home page. Puts a face to your great personality.

    1. Nope! no new changes. Well, nothing major. I did bump up the font size a bit and also added previous post | next post buttons based on reactions from people. No color changes though. :)

  4. I do this a lot with roasted butternut squash, Swiss cheese and a bit of nutmeg. It’s a great way to use up huge loaves of artisan bread that go stale before you can finish them. I don’t use eggs in the custard, and it still comes out nice and puffy.

  5. I love strata! (At least that how I know these.) And yes, they’re great for brunches! Each Easter, my church hosts a potluck breakfast serving these as the main dish. And it’s interesting to see how many variations are served. I’ll be keeping this in mind, since we’ve been buying some amazing peppers from the farmer’s market and were just trying to decide what to do with them. I had another egg dish in mind, but this might the better option…

  6. This looks amazing. I always love pairing a savory pudding or strata with a simple green salad dressed in French vinaigrette. Now I’m craving this simple but perfect meal. Thanks for the inspiration Nick. Love your blog.

  7. thank you for savory! I am not a sweet person although I own a dessert bakery. lol
    maybe that is a good thing
    I will be making this someday soon. Thanks again Nick!

  8. I make these all the time–and yes, you can use just about anything in them. It’s both a curse and a blessing that my kids (5 & 8) expect a hot filling breakfast every day before school. I love the fact that they’re having something filling and nutritious, but it definitely requires some planning! These are perfect because I can throw it together the night before, put it in the oven first thing after I wake up and by the time we’re up, dressed and ready for our day breakfast is ready. It also reheats well the second day (or is good cold, kind of like a quiche…but my daughter is *all* about warm food so that’s the direction we usually go). Our favorites are making it with either bacon or sausage and spinach/onion.

  9. This is a winner – an old standby for me, perfect breakfast/brunch when you have overnight guests. We do pimp it up to include most of the things you get on an English Fry-up – bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, black or white pudding. I make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight which really improves the flavour and texture. Thanks!

  10. I made something similar that I saw at a B&B a few weeks ago.. they labeled it a “strata” but its essentially the same thing and it was a hit. Some sausage, cheese, green onions and red peppers.

  11. Fantastic – in my family, we call it “oven omelet,” and it really does go with EVERYTHING. Our standard is diced ham, mushrooms, and cheddar.

  12. My family always makes this for Christmas breakfast. We just call it egg casserole. My family always uses dry mustard as the spice (instead of nutmeg, I guess). It’s a really good flavor. We do sausage and mushroom and pepper and onion and anything else that sounds good.

  13. I’m not even going to tell you how many Splendid Table podcasts I have stacked up that I’ve not listened to. Mybe I should make a point to do that at the gym! :) Man does this bread pudding look WONderful.

  14. I brought this to a party last night and it disappeared immediately. I prepared it with basically the same ingredients but used 100% whole wheat bread, skim milk, and pan spray instead of their obvious counterparts.
    This is about to become a staple in my house. Any thoughts about doubling or even tripling the recipe? Will it cook well in a larger pan? Adjustments?

    1. You could definitely double or triple. The only thing that you would need to change is the cooking time. Obviously larger pan = longer cooking time. I’m not sure exactly what the added time would need to be, but just keep an eye on it and when it’s set in the center, it’s done. I would guess that if you doubled the recipe you would need to add 20ish minutes onto the cooking time. Just a guess though.

  15. I made this using cauliflower and carrots and it was great. I’ll be coming back to this recipe again for sure.

    1. Hmm… not sure about that. You want a bread that is on the denser side so it absorbs the liquid. Croissants aren’t really that dense… they are mostly air. I worry that they would just disintegrate.

  16. Made this last night for dinner with the boyfriend and my sister…was sooooo good! Used REALLY dry bread, shredded mozzarella cheese, and sauteed bell pepper & onion! Enjoying the leftovers for lunch at work right now :) Definitely keeping this recipe! Thanks Nick!

  17. I had a bag of mushed up hot dogs buns in the freezer that I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to use. Combined with a bag pre-chopped frozen vegetables, this really helped clean out my freezer. I’m not sure custard is really my favorite thing, but my partner loved it and now I don’t have to keep shuffling that bag of hot dog buns around!

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