What a long title for a post, right? Even for the experienced baker, bread baking is not always seamless. Loaves can fail at any time. However, there is always a way to minimize waste and enjoy what’s left of your bake. Today I happened to ruin a bake by setting too high an oven I didn’t know well. So, I felt inspired to share the story of one particular loaf that I ruined back in March and how I saved it.
Shortly after moving to Seattle back in December, I tried to create a brand new sourdough starter. Since I wasn’t familiar with the weather and temperature variations during the day, it took me about three to four weeks to see a vigorous fermentation and volume increase. I was feeding the starter with a blend of 25% rye, 50% organic whole wheat, and 25% organic bread flour. I decided to try its strength on a 100% organic bread flour loaf. To start, I followed my standard bread method, the one I successfully have executed for years. But this time, the starter didn’t seem to like the environment created by 100% white flour and struggled to produce enough gas to raise the dough much. Finally, however, I decided to shape it and let it be proof at room temperature. After about 6 hours it couldn’t wait any longer.
When I baked the loaf, I got a ‘beautiful’ oven spring (the loaf burst from the bottom) that made me only hope for a lovely result. But the result was far away from that. When I cut the loaf, I saw a gigantic air bubble with a very dense mass at the bottom. The dough had collapsed inside the oven because of excessive fermentation and too high hydration for the flour type. I happened to be testing a flour from Central Milling which got extremely pliable in high hydration.
I bet that anyone who tried to bake seriously had many of these incidents. I would have tossed the loaf in the compost and called it a day on a regular weeknight. However, I also had a friends’ gathering the following day, to which I promised to bring dessert. So what did I do? Dairy-free bread pudding!
While french toast, croutons, and bread pudding are the most widely known ways of using stale bread, I tried to up a notch my game by making it dairy-free. We ended up enjoying this bread pudding with vegan ice cream from my favorite shop, Frankie & Jo’s. Here is the recipe.
Dairy-Free Bread Pudding
A fun way to reuse stale bread or failed bakes.
- One loaf of stale (or too-terribly-baked-to-eat) bread, chopped into small pieces
- Two cups of sweetened vanilla-flavored coconut beverage
- One tablespoon of rum (optional)
- ¼ cup of your favorite raisins
- Four eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- Three tablespoons of brown sugar
- Zest of one Meyer lemon
- Olive oil
- Soak the bread in the coconut beverage for about six hours or overnight.
- Soak the raisins in the rum for a few hours or up to overnight.
- Strain the bread, reserving the coconut beverage.
- Whisk together the eggs and the sugar, add the lemon zest.
- In a small saucepan, heat the reserved coconut liquid until simmering.
- With a ladle, transfer a ladleful of the coconut liquid to the egg and sugar mixture to temper it, mix and transfer back to the saucepan on low heat.
- Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens slightly, and remove the custard from the heat.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and lightly oil it.
- Transfer the soaked bread and raisins to the pan and toss to mix well.
- Transfer the custard to the loaf pan running it through a mesh sieve to make it silky.
- Distribute the custard evenly, making sure all the bread pieces are submerged.
- Bake at 350ºF until the custard sets.
- Refrigerate before enjoying with some ice cream and basil.
I hope you enjoyed the post and, if you make this, I’d love to see some photos of it. Also, please leave comments or questions in the section below.