"Feel free to go crazy with your choice of cheese—goat is just the beginning."
Bread pudding is a great way to deal with stale bread laying around and just so happens to be fabulous and very homey dessert. But have you ever tried your hand at a savory bread pudding?
I first started experimenting with savory bread puddings while I was doing a brief back-of-the-house stint in a restaurant that baked its own bread for sandwiches. On slower days we were left with a lot of beautiful house-made ciabatta rolls that couldn't be served the next day. Dinnertime was not as popular as breakfast and lunch so working the p.m. shift afforded me lots of down time to experiment. It was on a slow Tuesday night that I first toyed with the idea of savory bread pudding.
Though a few years ago now, I still remember the first incarnation of my savory bread pudding—it was quite similar to Tracey Medeiros's Goat Cheese Bread Pudding from Dishing Up Vermont. For some reason I was naturally drawn to goat cheese, the soft texture and sharp flavor seemed to make perfect sense with the rich custard-like nature of bread pudding.
The beautiful part of this recipe is the adaptability. There are only three constants: bread, eggs, and milk. Any bread you have on-hand will do, and frankly the staler the better. I've made bread pudding out of baguettes that were borderline petrified. And feel free to go crazy with your choice of cheese—goat is just the beginning.
I make this dish at home on a fairly regular basis. It takes about as much time as whipping up mashed potatoes. Pair it alongside any type of meat with a fair amount of pan juice or gravy—the bread will soak up all the goodness and become even more savory and delicious.
Win 'Dishing Up Vermont'
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Dushing Up Vermont to give away this week.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 5 farm-fresh eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 to 6 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9- by 9-inch or 11- by 7-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
Place the bread cubes in another medium bowl, Sprinkle with the cheese and drizzle with the milk mixture, making sure to coat all the bread cubes well. Allow the bread cubes to soak for 5 to 10 minutes, until the bread is moist.
Pour the bread mixture into the prepared dish and bake in the oven for 20 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and gives resistance to the touch, or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.