Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

So, I made a ton of bread in my last post. There is only two of us in the house, so I don’t know what I was thinking when I made two loaves. Correction: two MASSIVE loaves. Brioche bread is heavenly, but wow, I came out of last week with a LOT of bread.

The nice thing that came out of the mass amount of bread I made is a chance to make bread pudding! We aren’t huge bread eaters (again, what was I thinking?!? Oh, right… Brioche.) I scoured the internet for recipes to make some really good bread pudding, and finally settled on this Pecan Pie Bread Pudding. It looked absolutely incredible, and I knew that I had to try it.

I had enough bread to double the recipe, so I did. It was enough to fill a 9×13 pan, but I’ve only included the original recipe, which is half of what I made. One thing I’ve learned about bread pudding is that it works the best with day old or stale bread. That way, the dry bread can soak up all that liquid and become gooey, delicious bread pudding.

Another nice thing is that bread pudding is so easy to make. It usually doesn’t take very long, and this one is so easy! There’s only two dishes to clean afterwards.

It was an absolute snap to make, and man did it smell good in the oven! Paul was so excited when I told him I was going to make Pecan Pie Bread Pudding, he was planning out exactly how he wanted to eat it (warm topped with vanilla ice cream).

Not going to lie, this recipe is simple, but sweet and rich. Like, stay away if you have a sugar problem sweet. There is tons of corn syrup, brown sugar and white sugar. For sweet lovers, this is your dream come true!

Still, go make this as an indulgent treat to use up that leftover bread you keep forgetting about!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8×8 pan

8 c. bread pieces, in bite-sized pieces
3 eggs
1¼ c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. light brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla or maple extract
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spray the baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Place all of the bread pieces into the baking dish. Pour the melted butter over the bread.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, sugar, the extract, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the pecans and pour evenly over the bread pieces.

Use a spatula to make sure all of the bread is soaked with the egg mixture.

I also chopped up a bit of extra pecans and sprinkled them on top before placing in the oven.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Brioche Bread

Time for another foray back into the world of bread-baking!

Brioche is a classic French bread. Its main components are eggs and butter, and boy, is it rich. This baby has a whopping total of 9 eggs (including the egg wash egg), and a full cup of butter in the batter. It is not for the faint of heart.

I’ve been looking up recipes for Brioche for years. I’ve dabbled in the “Easy” the “Beginner’s” and “So-Good-It’s-Almost-Brioche” recipes. They’ve never been the winner for me.

This recipe has it all – I loved how easy it was to follow along. A lot of brioche recipes sounded quite confusing, or needed a ton of time, or just seemed too finicky. I mean, this recipe does take quite a bit of time. All of the prep time, the rising time, and the baking and cooling time adds up to quite a chunk of your day. I was always turned off by the amount of eggs that the dough uses.

But, I don’t know what happened. I was surfing around Pinterest last night, looking for a recipe, and BANG. This brioche recipe dropped into my lap. The picture pulled me in, and I read through Marta Antonia Rivera’s blog Sense and Edibility to find this recipe. 

Suddenly, brioche didn’t seem so daunting. And I had a sudden urge that YES, I want to make brioche.

So here we are.

Not going to lie, the recipe calls for bread flour, and I only have all purpose. I know, I know, bad baker, but we buy HUGE bags of all-purpose flour from Costco, so I can never quite justify going out and buying more flour than we already have. I bake a lot, okay?

Either way, I do not have the beautiful step-by-step pictures as the original recipe did, so if you want, head over to the site linked above and check out the step-by-step, and hopefully, brioche becomes easier to tackle because of today’s recipe!

I wish you could smell this bread through your computer screen. It is absolutely divine, and so soft! Trust me, go make this. It is completely worth the effort!

Ingredients

Yield: 2 loaves of bread

For the sponge:

¼ c. honey
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. milk, warmed to 110°F
1 c. flour

For the dough:

½ c. sugar
4 tsp. salt
8 eggs (large)
5¾ c. flour
1 c. butter, cut into tablespoons

For the egg wash:

1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. water

To make the sponge, pour the milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the honey and yeast to the milk and allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes. If the yeast does not get bubbly and foamy, it is dead. Open a fresh pack of yeast, and try everything again.

Whisk the flour into the yeast mixture. The sponge should look like a thick cake batter.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot (like the oven with the light turned on) to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

To continue making the dough, transfer the sponge to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix in the eggs, sugar, and salt. After incorporating, the mixture should look like a smooth, thick batter.

Slowly add the remaining flour into the dough. If it gets too hard to incorporate with the paddle attachment, switch to the dough hook.

Once the flour is incorporated, add in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Add the next 2 tablespoons only when the previous 2 are completely incorporated into the batter, and save the wrapper from your butter.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated into the dough, it should be soft, smooth, and pliable. Remove the dough from the bowl, and grease the bowl with the leftover butter on the wrappers. Discard the wrappers.

Return the dough to the bowl and turn to coat in the butter lining the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise again in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Once the dough has finished rising, punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide in half.

Preheat oven to 375°F, and lightly grease two loaf pans.

Form the two halves of dough into logs roughly the same length as your loaf pans, and place them in the greased pans. Whisk together the egg and water of the egg wash and brush the loaves with the egg wash to prevent drying.

Place the pans in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise until the dough is about 1 inch away from the top of the pan. This should take 30 minutes to an hour.

Brush loaves again with egg wash, and if desired, cut the tops of the loaves into a decorative pattern.

Bake loaves in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove pans from the oven, and allow bread to cool in pans for 10 minutes.

Remove bread from pans, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cinnamon Butter

This is Part Three of my unofficial Recipes Including Pumpkin series! Again, I’m on a pumpkin kick. To be fair, I didn’t make the last two posts, and this post, and the NEXT post over the course of a month. I had a really ingenious pumpkin craving, and over the course of two weekends, I made all of these Pumpkin recipes. I mean, why not welcome Fall in any way we can?

I love a good pumpkin loaf. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. It’s also pretty simple to make, and that’s always a win in my books! It hit the super-soft-and-moist-but-still-tastes-like-Fall-and-I-can-eat-it-for-breakfast-for-a-snack-or-for-dessert target right on the head!

I’m not going to bore you with loads of talking for this one. Just go make it, and your senses will thank you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

For the bread:

1½ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
½ of a 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. water
1 tbsp. maple syrup

For the butter:

4 tbsp. (¼ c.) butter, softened
1 tbsp. maple syrup
¼-½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease and flour a loaf pan (or use Miracle Cake Release).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the oil and sugars. Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mixing after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the pumpkin, water, and maple syrup. Mix again.

Add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely in the pan before removing.

To make the butter, whisk all butter ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with slices of the bread.

Sourdough Focaccia

I love sourdough! There are so many things that you can do with it. I’ve made focaccia bread before on the blog, and loved it! It’s a really incredible bread with tons of olive oil in it, but a beautiful, crisp exterior.

You can top it with tons of different things. I’ve heard of peppers, olives, cheese, garlic, herbs, or just plain sea salt. That’s the great thing about focaccia. It’s completely customizable.

I originally found the recipe for this sourdough focaccia here. I didn’t change the base recipe, but I put my own spin on the toppings. I kept it simple with a little bit of olive oil, some sea salt, thyme, and a little sprinkle of parmesan.

We all know I’m a carb lover at heart, and this bread is no exception. It is absolutely phenomenal. I love how each time you make it, it can be different. You can change the toppings to match what you are craving, or making for dinner. It goes well on its own, as a side, and as a base for a kick-butt sandwich.

This is a bread that takes some time to make, but the payoff is so worth it.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 – 11×17 pan or 2 – 9×13 pans

For the sponge:

1½ c. sourdough starter
1 c. warm water
¼ c. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 c. flour

For the dough:

½ c. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
4 c. flour
Herbs, salt, olives, etc. for toppings.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, warm water, honey, olive oil, and flour. Leave in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours, until the surface is bubbly.

To continue making the dough, add the olive oil, salt, and flour (a cup at a time). Stir with a wooden spoon, until you get to the last cup of flour. For the last cup of flour, sprinkle it across your work surface. Turn out the dough onto the flour, and knead until the last cup of flour is incorporated. Dough should be smooth and supple, and slightly moist because of the oil.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, and place the dough inside, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm spot to double in size, about 2 hours.

Oil a large 11×17 pan, or two 9×13 pans, with ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil, spreading oil over the pan evenly.

Punch down dough, gently, and press into the oiled pan, into the corners. If the dough is pulling away, leave for 5 minutes to relax, and try again.

Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave to rise and double in size, about 1 hour. If there is excess oil, do not pour it out! Allow it to cover the top of the dough.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

When dough is ready, and oven is heated, press fingers over the dough to create dimples. If the dough is a little dry on top, brush with extra olive oil. Sprinkle desired toppings (I used sea salt, parmesan, and thyme) across dough, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Hamburger Buns

Summer means barbecue season, barbecue season means burgers, and burgers means an excuse to make homemade burger buns! See what I did there? Chain of thinking. It’s a beautiful thing.

Despite the fact that I don’t really need a reason to bake anything, because Paul just accepts it and loves me anyways, one of his specialties is burgers. I’ve been playing around with recipes for hamburger buns for years, but none of them have ever been great. I’ve turned my soft pretzel recipe into buns, but as good as they are, they never seem to rise enough for me. I’ve used other recipes, but they also seem to fall flat. (Hah! I’m on fire today! My pun game is strong! Sorry…)

I came across this recipe, and I had to check it out. It’s originally from Allrecipes, but when a recipe says that almost a thousand people have tried it, and the review counter is a few hundred in the positives, AND every picture included from people who have also made these buns look incredible, I figured I was on to something.

Sure enough, I was. These buns are awesome, and can hold up well to a homemade hamburger. Give these buns a shot!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 buns

2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
3½ c. flour, divided
1 c. water, at 105°F
1 egg
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk, for garnish
Sesame seed, for garnish (optional)

In the bowl of a mixer, place the yeast. Whisk in ½ c. flour and the water, and let sit 10-15 minutes until foamy.

Whisk in the egg, butter, sugar, and salt until evenly incorporated. Switch to a dough hook, and add the remaining flour. Knead the dough on low speed 5-6 minutes, until soft, sticky, and cohesive.

The dough should be sticky and elastic, but not stick to your fingers. Once the dough has reached this consistency, take the dough out of the mixer bowl, oil the bowl, and form the dough into a smooth, round ball, kneading a bit more if necessary. Place the dough back into the oiled bowl, and turn to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 2 hours.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat out to deflate. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, then form into a round ball, tucking the ends underneath.

Pat the dough balls into rounds about a ½ inch thick. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the dough balls a ½ inch apart on the baking tray. Dust buns very lightly with flour, and cover lightly with plastic wrap (this does not need to be a tight seal). Let buns rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Beat the egg and milk together. Very gently, brush the egg wash over the buns, being careful not to deflate them. Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds, if using.

Bake in the preheated oven until light golden brown on top, about 15-17 minutes. Buns will have stuck together if they were touching. This is fine. Let the buns cool completely, then tear apart and cut in half to serve.