I just wanted to share an experiment I tried this weekend that worked out beautifully. I was having an itch for bread pudding (something that happens once every, oh, month or so), and I also had about half a loaaf of stale bread to use up. So far, so good, except the bread was a rather dense part-wheat sourdough. Generally, I like to use brioche, cinnamon bread, plain white - anything soft and a little sweet. I wasn't too worried about the texture, because though the crumb may have been a bit tight, this loaf wasn't terribly chewy. I figured once it dried out, it would work fine. But sourdough? In a moment of inspiration (okay, not really a big one or anything, we're not talking Newton here), I decided to go with the sour flavor rather than fight it. So I used my regular bread pudding ratio, but subbed buttermilk for plain milk.
This was the final recipe:
1/2 loaf wheat sourdough, cut into cubes and dried thoroughly
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
raisins - I don't know, maybe 1/2 cup? More? soaked in dark rum
About 1 T butter
Whisk together the buttermilk, cream and eggs. Strain through a sieve. Fold in the cubes of bread and let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Fold in the raisins. Put the whole mixture in a buttered dish, then dot some butter on the top. Bake in a waterbath at 300 degrees.
I skipped the vanilla I usually use, because I didn't want that sweet floral note to get in the way of the buttermilk flavor. The result: a lovely, old-fashioned bread pudding, with a nice tang which contrasted well with the dark sweetness of the raisins. Recommended, particularly if you, like me, often end up with ends of sourdough around the house.