The other day I tried making some more barley bread. It has always failed me for bread, but I was out of other flour so I tried it. It failed me again. Even as no-knead bread, it didn't rise and it turned out a flat, weird sort of bread. It was too crusty on the outside (more like eating a cracker) but undercooked on the inside. Blech.
But I didn't want to waste it, so what to do? Bread pudding was the obvious choice but I hesitated. Despite my love of all things bread-y and carb-y, bread pudding has never been my favorite. It's something I feel should be delicious but usually leaves me feeling a bit disappointed. Almost every time I've had bread pudding it's been rather bland.
I also didn't want to make an entire bread pudding for just myself. That problem was solved by going to J&L's for dinner last night. Since I was going to be biking and wouldn't have any way to bring a pre-baked pudding with me, it was simple enough to bring along, uncooked. I put the dry ingredients in a Pyrex storage dish (with a lid) and the wet ingredients in a quart-sized mason jar. Once I got to their place I borrowed a 9x9 baking dish and put it all together.
I cobbled together about four different recipes for making this. I found a bunch of lovely organic peaches at the store the other day, and they need to get used up so I figured this would be a perfect use for one of them. It turned out wonderful! We were all pleased. So here's my non-bland, super easy bread pudding recipe:
4 packed cups of bread pieces
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup of sugar
1 large peach
1 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350^.
Melt the butter, then whisk together with the milk and eggs. (When I did it, I didn't melt the butter or whisk this all together until I got there. Butter floats, so I merely scooped it out of the jar to melt it, then whisked things together once it was melted.)
In a separate dish, combine the bread, sugar, and spices.
Cut the peach into chunks and combine with the dry ingredients. Then put it all in the 9x9 baking dish and pour the wet mixture over the top. Bake until lightly browned, about 40-45 minutes. (I think--we didn't have a timer so keep an eye on it!)
Another variation I thought would be delicious would be to add ginger. The only reason I didn't use that was because I ran out of ginger the other day. But the cloves were tasty, a great compliment to the peaches, and it added that little kick I generally find lacking in bread puddings. If it's winter or you don't have any fresh peaches on hand, canned peaches would work just as well. Try substituting some of the peach juice for the milk and have a super peach-y pudding.
I still have a bit of bread left so I'm thinking about making a small one for myself. You know, just to not be wasteful. :)