I am very lucky to have a husband who likes to bake breads, pizzas, rolls, etc. I bought him some sourdough starter a couple of years ago, and ever since, as he has kept it alive with regular “feedings,” and remained fairly committed to using it often. Since we are a family of two, and we liked to vary our diets, this habit keeps our freezer well stocked with pre-made pizza dough, or leftover bread which I have sliced or cubed. (That is one thing he doesn’t do — put away the leftovers. After all the work he puts into the risings and the kneadings, once it comes out the oven, he would have it left out on the counter going stale for hours or days if it wasn’t for me! I suppose we make a good team.)
The reason I mention this is because I had some wheat sourdough bread cubes in the freezer that really needed to be used. Bread pudding is such a flexible recipe, someday perhaps one day I’ll even be able to make it up as I go along without reference. This time I found a recipe from the Tillamook County Creamery that matched up with ingredients I had on hand, plus some greens I had been craving. Perhaps my version will similarly inspire you, but you may feel confident enough to make it your own!
Savory Bread Pudding
Serves: 4 (Original recipe served 6-8, but I halved)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
13 oz (~1.5 C) milk
8 oz (1 C) heavy cream
4 oz (1/2 C) plain greek yogurt (crème fraiche, sour cream, or buttermilk are all great substitutions)
1/2 Tablespoon butter, to butter casserole dishes
10 oz stale bread cut into 1 inch cubes (some bread pudding recipes insist on weak white bread, but for this recipe you can use hearty bread like my wheat sourdough, whole wheat, French, Italian, or rye. If your bread doesn’t feel stale, dry it out in a hot 350°F oven on a sheet pan for 7 minutes)
5 oz cooked bacon (smoked turkey, ham, or sautéed mushrooms, for vegetarians, can be substituted. I ended up making two smaller dishes that incorporated the bacon and one that simply left it out for a vegetarian version)
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage (thyme, rosemary, or parsley can all be substituted)
3 oz caramelized onions*
4 oz kale, briefly sautéed in
olive oil, with
1/2 Tablespoon garlic
3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
I highly recommend planning your schedule to make this recipe the day before you want to bake it. As you can see, you need to cook bacon, toast bread, and sauté greens before you can even assemble the dish to go in the oven. *Having a batch of caramelized onions done in advance will be helpful. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting way too long for dinner to be ready, like I was. I was starving by the time I was caramelizing the onions via two different shortcuts (they worked fine for the purposes of this recipe, but the onions were definitely more of a weird mushy texture I wouldn’t have wanted to use for anything else).
But I digress. Here are the instructions:
Butter a casserole dish (at least 1.5 quart capacity) or multiple smaller baking dishes. Take half the bread and layer among the bottom of the dishes, then half of the bacon, half of the sage, half of the caramelized onions, half of the greens, and half of the cheese. Sprinkle with ~1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Repeat with remaining half of ingredients, sprinkling cheese and then remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on last. Carefully pour custard over filled dishes, soaking evenly. You want all of the bread to be wet, so push down into custard if necessary.
Cover dish and refrigerate at least one hour and preferably overnight. Uncover and bake in an oven pre-heated to 325°F for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 157°F or until gently puffed and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop into bowls to serve; serve warm.