Bread pudding gives new life to your old baked goods
I hate wasting food — hate, hate, hate it. I’ve been known to rescue week-old leftovers from my fiancé’s hands before they went into the trash, saying “Oh no, I’ll eat that for lunch tomorrow.” I’ll push expiration dates and rely on the sniff test with dairy products. Fortunately, none of this stomach abuse has made me ill to date, and though I wouldn’t recommend devouring that yogurt that sat out on the counter all day, there are some great ways to make use of things in the pantry that are on the verge of meeting the dumpster.
This week, I had most of a loaf of stale, lackluster grocery store sourdough bread sitting around and some milk and eggs that were on the verge of expiring, so I threw together a bread pudding recipe to use them up.
Bread pudding is amazing. Most of the time, you can make it with just what you have around the house, it’s altitude-resistant because the bread has already done its thing the first time it was baked, and it’s a great way to use up stale (but not moldy) bread that would otherwise be destined for the trash. I threw this one together in about 10 minutes, plus an hour in the oven. Most recipes call for vanilla extract, which I was out of, so I substituted banana. I was also short on milk so I made up the difference with vanilla flavored coffee creamer.
That’s the beauty of bread pudding: It’s pretty much idiot-proof, and you can sub all kinds of things and still have great results. Keeping with the banana theme, I added a sliced, overripe banana that also needed to be used up and some chopped walnuts. You can sub any kind of bread, pastry, even old doughnuts, and various spices, depending on the flavors you’re looking for.
Banana-nut bread pudding
5 cups sourdough bread, cubed
3 cups milk/cream/etc. (I used 2 ½ cups milk and ½ cup vanilla coffee creamer)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon banana extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (if you aren’t using vanilla-flavored creamer)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ripe banana, sliced
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
Lightly grease an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Put cubed bread into pan. In a large bowl, mix together milk/cream, eggs, sugar, extracts, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over bread cubes. Stir in sliced banana and walnuts.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow pan to cool on a rack, and serve the bread pudding warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or at room temperature.
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