First draft of the Bacon AND Sausage Breakfast Bread Pudding recipe (I might have to tweak it again)
Ingredients per serving*:
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 2 slices of bacon (raw)
- 2 sausage links (raw) AND OR about 4 ounces of bulk sausage (mild or spicy your choice)
- [note: you can make this with just bacon or just sausage, just double the amount]
- 2 eggs (raw)
- 2 cups milk (whole or lighter, your choice -- I usually use whole as the texture's a bit better
- Worcestershire sauce (or other savory sauce of your choice)
- Butter or margarine to grease the baking dish (butter is better)
Optional additions per serving (mix and match to your taste)
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 1/4 onion, diced and sautéd in bacon and or sausage grease
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup diced tart apple (particularly good with chicken-apple sausage)
- 1/4 cup celery, diced
- maple syrup
- Cookie sheet or broiler pan (to make the bread into croutons)
- Oven-proof bowl or casserole big enough to fit the desired number of servings (you can use two bowls)
- Pan to put water in
- Oven mitts.
Prep (at least the day before, you can do the prep up to a week in advance for the bread, a few days for the meat products)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Slice the bread into strips, then dice. (I make mine fairly large, like the size of my thumb, because they shrink in the croutonning process.)
- Put the bread on the sheet or pan, and place in the oven until dry and crispy. They will shrink up quite a bit, but they shouldn't brown at 200 degrees. I've left them as long as 3 hours without any problem.
- Take the now-croutons out and set aside for up to a week. I usually put them in a plastic bag after they have cooled.
If using bacon:
- Slice the bacon slices into squares
- Sauté slowly OR bake in a 250 oven, catching the drippings.
- Drain the grease and set aside
- Refrigerate cooked bacon
If using sausage:
- Links: Brown on all sides.
- Bulk sausage: drop bite-size amounts in pan; brown on both sides
- Drain the grease and set aside
- Slice links into rounds -- fat sausage = thinner rounds. You are aiming for bite-sized.
- Refrigerate cooked sausage
If using onion:
- In the bacon grease, sausage grease, or a mix, sauté the onions until just beginning to color (turn golden).
- Depending on your appetite for grease, either set aside as is, or drain and pat down with a paper towel to degrease.
- Set aside and refrigerate the onions.
I don't pre-cook the other ingredients -- the apples bake just fine, and I like the celery crunchy.
Day of serving -- starting about an hour and a quarter before you want to serve the dish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Set the pan in the oven, and half-fill with hot water.
- Thoroughly butter your baking bowl or casserole* and pour in the croutons, meat products, and any other optional ingredients, except for the cheese.
- Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, and using a hand mixer, beat until light and frothy.
- Slowly add the milk, beating all the time.
- Add the salt and pepper (I use about the same amount I use on scrambled eggs -- a few shakes of the salt shaker and a few grinds of pepper. I measure the Worcestershire sauce the same way -- a shake or two. You can always adjust seasonings on the plate.)
- Beat again, and pour over the crouton mixture in the casserole or bowl.
- Allow to sit for a few minutes, until the croutons become soft.
- If you are using cheese, sprinkle over the top.
- The egg-milk mixture should be just about to the top of the bread level. If it isn't, don't fret -- just wait a few minutes and stir the mixture slightly, so soggyish bread is on top.
- Place the bowl or casserole in the hot water in the pan. If necessary, top up the water.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife placed in the middle comes out clean.
- WATCH OUT -- open the oven while standing to the side with your face turned away, as there will be steam from the hot water.
- Remove the bowl/casserole, but not the pan of hot water.
- Turn the oven off.
- Don't attempt to move the pan of hot water until it has cooled!
- Let the casserole sit for about 10 minutes, so you don't burn your mouth.
*My sister Nance makes her version in a rectangular Pyrex pan. I like the texture of a deep bowl or casserole better -- it tends to be crunchy on top, and really custardy in the middle.