Big Country Breakfast Bread Pudding

I think I found the skeleton of this recipe almost 14 years ago in the once free Kraft “Food & Family” magazine.  I was about 25, working full time, newly married and needed some meal ideas that were cheap and easy. I had never had anything like this before and from the first time I made it – I was hooked!

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Over the years, as I have tweaked into something quite different, but every time I start assembling this dish I can still picture the page at the back of the magazine that started my love for making tasty, easy meals -my way. I always serve it Christmas morning, but  am always looking for another reason to whip it up. 

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There are several things that make this recipe so great. First, you can use any type of bread you prefer, sweet or savory, dense or fluffy, fresh or stale. 

Looking for a gluten-free brunch option? Don’t run away at the site of bread cubes! 

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These Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Cups are crazy good and super easy ((and you’ll never miss the gluten — I actually forgot to tag them as GF when writing the recipe, they are that good!))

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Second, you can use any type of meat, faux meat or even a tasty mix of sautéed veggies. I used bacon & cooked breakfast sausage — both of which I cooked previously and froze for my stockpile. Cooking meats ahead in bulk and freezing really helps me get a tasty meal together in short order. ((which I have a lot of — short order that is!!))

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Let’s pause and talk about bacon for a second. For a twist to your normal bacon recipe, consider making a bulk batch of oven roasted candied bacon. Oven roasting bacon is my favorite way to cook raw bacon ((and by favorite, I mean LEAST messy and MOST crispy)). By adding brown sugar & cracked black pepper, you’ve created something that could be sold on street corners. This easy, and addictive recipe is HERE.

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Third, any cheese you love will work great in this casserole. This time, I used a combination of cream cheese & two types of sharp cheddar. IT.WAS.SO.GOOD!!

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Last, I love adding canned chopped green chilies. They are an unexpected flavor in a breakfast casserole & work really well. Finely chopped bell pepper or jalapeño would work nicely too depending on your heat preferences.

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So, here is my version breakfast casserole. I just love it! But in all honesty, I never make it exactly the same twice. I most recently made this to be served Christmas morning. I partially assembled it on Christmas Eve and put the finishing touches on it and baked it up in the midst of wrapping paper fragments and delighted yelps.

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I make this throughout the year (not just  Christmas) – as a matter of fact, this needs to go on the menu for my week! I love this recipe because I always have a variation of all of these ingredients on hand: 2 day-old croissants, cinnamon bread, bagels, crusty sourdough, pepper jack, mozzarella, gouda etc… they will all work gloriously.

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As always, this is how my dish looks when my herd is finished with it! A sure sign of deliciousness. If you know me at all, you know my peeps don’t eat yucky food just to be nice. So this HAS to be good!!

 

This is definitely one of those recipes that conjure up many years of meal memories with my family – from being a new wife, to a new momma — to a momma of big hairy kids who roll their eyes at me. I hope it becomes a food memory for your family too!

And don’t forget about dessert – “Mom’s BEST Banana Pudding” is sure to please your dinner guests!

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Just a few simple ingredients and 2 surprises make this banana pudding the last recipe you’ll ever need!

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Big Country Breakfast Bread Pudding
Serves 12
The perfect breakfast & brunch dish! Crispy and creamy, salty and sweet - and just when you think it can't get any better, that subtle heat sneaks in and forces you to get a second helping.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 loaf of brioche, cubed
  2. 1 c. heavy cream
  3. 1/2 c. milk (skim is fine)*
  4. 9 eggs
  5. 1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies (optional)
  6. 2 c. + 1 c. (reserved) shredded sharp white cheddar
  7. 1 c. freshly grated parm (or an additional cup of cheddar - or another type of your favorite cheese)
  8. 4 oz light cream cheese, cubed ((optional))
  9. 10 oz. browned breakfast sausage ((optional))
  10. 5 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cooked till crisp and chopped ((optional))
  11. Salt & fresh ground pepper about 1/2 t each (or 1 t of McCormick's Montreal Steakhouse blend)
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9"x13" extra deep baking dish and place about 1/2 to 2/3 of the bread cubes in the dish. Next, crack eggs into a largish mixing bowl, add cream, milk, s&p and whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes making sure to reserve about 1&1/2 c. for later.
  2. Spread green chilies on top of bread. Sprinkle 2 c. of shredded cheese evenly. Lightly press the bread down to aid in absorption of the egg mixture. Top with cream cheese, breakfast sausage and bacon if desired. Cover and refrigerate over night along with remaining egg mixture and cheeses. Bag up the extra bread for use in the morning.**
  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove bread pudding from fridge and top with remaining bread, pour reserved egg mixture over the bread and sprinkle remaining cheeses evenly over the top. Sprinkle a bit more s & p.
  4. Bake on middle rack for 45 - 55 minutes - or until the center is firm, cover the bread pudding with foil about halfway through the cooking time and then remove for the last 5 minutes or so. If you see the bread in top is getting dark at any point in the cooking process, loosely cover the dish with a foil tent until cooking is complete.
  5. Serves 12
Notes
  1. **If you want to make & serve it all at the same time ((say for dinner)), just skip the over night soaking step. Instead, preheat the oven, place a little more than half of the bread in the bottom of the dish. Pour 2/3 of the egg mixture over the bread and allow it to soak into the bread for 10 minutes or so. Add, cheeses, meats and chiles. Top with remaining bread cubes, cheese and a dash of s & p. Follow cooking instructions as detailed above.
Adapted from Kraft Food & Family Magazine
Adapted from Kraft Food & Family Magazine
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

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Oh, and if you need the perfect fancy brunch drink, try this recipe for Sweet Almond Tea! It will be a hit for sure.

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Check out my Food for a Year Shop, where you will find many beautiful vintage kitchen treasures including hand-embroidered linens,

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gorgeous serving pieces like this vintage Royal Bayreuth cake plate

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and many kitchen utility tools.

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All these lovelies and many more are for sale in my little shop, new treasures are added often – so bookmark the link and visit me often.

27 Comments

  1. Ciera says:

    I made this for Christmas morning last year and it was truly the best breakfast casserole I have ever eaten. I was in love! Sadly I somehow forgot about it during the year. I am about to throw it together again for tomorrow’s Christmas breakfast. I am super excited to enjoy it again! Thank you so much for the recipe!

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    • Emily says:

      Hi Amy – Yes, you can use bagels. I think they will result in a denser casserole – not exactly what I consider a bread pudding texture-wise. Also, they make need to soak in the egg mixture for a longer period of time.
      If you try it, let me know how it works!

    • Emily says:

      Yes, I would half everything except I would use 5 to 6 eggs and a little bit more than half of the milk. Place the baking pan on a parchment lined baking sheet just in case it overflows a little that way you can catch any drips. Thank you for asking!

  3. Hayley Pedersen says:

    This looks perfect – I am going to make this for Christmas breakfast! Thanks for the great recipe 🙂 And I am in love with the green plate the Rudolph Nose cookie is on – when you get a moment (read: after the holiday crazies) can you let me know who makes it?

    Thanks again for all the amazingness!

    • Emily says:

      Hi Hayley, thank you so much, please let me know how it works for you after you make it! I am glad you are enjoying the blog!
      And – I can so relate about the dish. I am a long-time dishes lover. Let me tell you where I got this plate:: GoodWill in Berkeley California! I am emailing you the photo of the back of the plate – sadly there is no maker mark – just numbers. I will be on the hunt for where it came from and let you know if I figure it out! ((you do the same for me if you solve the mystery))
      Merry Christmas!

    • Emily says:

      Hi Nikki, I have not tried it that way before and a few things make me think it would not turn out as good as using the cooking method I shared in the recipe. One thing that makes this Country Breakfast Bread Pudding so yummy is the mix of creamy egg-custard soaked bread on the bottom and crunchy, toasted brioche on top.
      I think the slow-cooker would steam the top, leaving it all one texture. Also, this only takes 40-50 minutes to bake, so I wonder if it would over cook if left to cook over night.
      Those are just my first thoughts, it may be fantastic! If you try it ket me know how it goes!

  4. Pingback: Christmas Morning Country Breakfast Bread Pudding ((in a jar)) - Sinkology

  5. Patty says:

    dumb question, but where did you buy your caserole pan from? I’ve been looking for something like this to hold all my jellies and jams for morning tea.

    • Emily says:

      That isn’t a dumb question at all 😊! I wish I had two of them, I use it all of the time. I bought it ((unfortunately for both us us)) in San Diego while on vacation there 5 years ago at a Crate & Barrel outlet store. I had to cart it through the airport and carry it on the plane, haha! So, I am guessing they aren’t around anymore. Maybe on eBay??

  6. HWThompson says:

    Just made this for the first time. Big hit among my men folk despite the fact that it stuck to the bottom and formed a browned crust – hard to get off despite the fact that I used a non stick -brown- 9×13″
    pan, baked it for 50 minutes. What did I do wrong?
    Thanks much.

    • Emily says:

      So glad to hear it was a hit! I have found that it really does best if placed in a porcelain or glass dish – but should work if you prepare the metal pan first by either buttering or spraying (I prefer not to use spray on nonstick but rather to butter). Because you had such trouble, I would recommend cutting a piece of parchment to fit into the bottom of your pan next time before adding the ingredients. You may need to reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes too. Thank you again for letting me know you liked it!

  7. Allane says:

    I am wondering why all the ingredients are not combined at once. Is there some kitchen science I don’t know about, or does it taste better if some ingredients are not soaked together so long? Just curious…..
    Definitely going to make it your way, it sounds perfect!

    • Emily says:

      Hi – thank you for asking. I have found that by separating it in this way allows for the custard soaked portion to become perfectly creamy and almost pudding like as it bakes. Topping it with the remaining bread, custard & cheese right before it goes into the oven adds a wonderful crunch from the un-soaked bread that toasts as it bakes. The combination of the crunchy top and the creamy underneath is where the real magic occurs ((at least I think so)). If I did it all at once I would not have that variation in texture. I hope that helps!

      • Emily says:

        Thank you! I can’t wait to hear how that substitution works – I am sure it will be tasty! if you get a chance, shoot me another comment to tell me what you think. 🙂

  8. Linda says:

    I would love to make this, but with left over buns/bread. Do you have an approximate weight or cups of cubed bread this would be? Thanks!

    • Emily says:

      I used an approximate 1 pound loaf. I cut the loaf into 2″ chunks so measuring in cups would be hard. I would say if you have a single layer of pieces on the bottom of the dish, top with cheese and meat, pour some of the egg mixture & then top with another single layer of bread and remaining egg and cheese that would be perfect. Hope this helps!

  9. Ashley Mann says:

    I liked this recipe! Nice to find a breakfast bread pudding type recipe that’s savory instead of full of sugar, and I’m sure many would appreciate that it’s meatless. The green chiles really make the dish!

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

 
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