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Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

The tangy, yeasty, sourdough-like flavor of rye bread gives these croutons enough character to stand up to the rest of the dish.

Sweet, nutty caraway seeds further add a yeasty note. Additionally, fresh, aromatic dill complements the caraway while brightening the flavor of the croutons. Butter brings richness to the dish and as the butter caramelizes in the oven, it gives the croutons a wonderfully nutty brown crust.

Tips & Techniques

  1. A quarter of the crunch. The crust of a good-quality rye bread is nutty, flavorful and very crunchy. In our finished bread pudding, we want some of that crunch – but not all of it. So, before you slice up your loaf, cut the crust off the bottom and the sides, leaving only the top crust intact.
  2. Promote quick-cooling. Spread the hot sautéed onions and garlic on a plate or tray so they’ll cool quickly before you mix them with the eggs. If their heat begins to cook the eggs, the mixture won’t be properly absorbed into the bread and you won’t get that rich, custardy, bread pudding-like texture in your finished dish.
  3. Test for doneness. The loaf is ready when the outside is golden brown and crusty and the internal temperature of the loaf is 165°F. To ensure that the loaf is cooked through, test it with a meat thermometer.
  4. Keep an eye on the broiler. The sugar in the bread and the milk solids can begin to burn in the blink of an eye. The croutons will toast in one to two minutes under a hot broiler – you’ll want to watch them the whole time.

 

Toolbox

These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Terrine. A glazed earthenware baking dish that is generally rectangular or oval-shaped. A terrine is often used for making paté, but it’s also the right shape to mold and bake the rye bread croutons.
  2. Pastry brush. This paintbrush-like kitchen tool is the best tool for spreading softened butter across the surface of a baking tray.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

Medium sauté pan

Medium bowl

Whisk

Loaf pan or terrine

Thermometer

Knife

Cutting board

Medium-sized baking sheet

Plate lined with paper towels

Serrated knife


Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 round loaf of rye bread (1 pound)

Serves: 4

Total Time: 2 hours

Active Time: 30 minutes

Method
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cut the bottom crust off the loaf of bread. Cut the crust of two sides of the loaf off. Note: you want to leave about 1/3 of the surface area crust on the bread for flavor, but leaving it all on would result in too much texture in the final product. Cut the loaf into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is melted, add thyme and bay leaf. Then add onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper to sweat onions. Stir with a wooden spoon and sauté until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and whisk. Add milk and mix well.
  4. Place a loaf pan or terrine mold on a baking sheet. Brush the pan with about 1 tablespoon of the softened butter.
  5. Add dill to bread cubes in bowl. Pour egg mixture on top of bread cubes and toss to coat. Add onion and butter mixture. Mix with hands until bread is well saturated.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan or terrine mold and press down gently to even it out.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the center of the loaf reaches 165°F on a probe thermometer. The top should be golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Use a knife to help loosen the sides, and remove from pan. Let cool completely.
  9. Preheat the oven on a broil setting.
  10. Remove the side crusts from the bread pudding. Cut the loaf into 1-inch slices. Brush a baking tray and one side of the cut slices with the rest of the softened butter. Cut the slices into cubes. Place cubes on a baking sheet and place under high broiler for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

Make it Tonight

Corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich with melted swiss

Want the best reuben ever? Just cut the loaf into slices instead of cubes and spread with mustard.  Top with sliced corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese before toasting under broiler.

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