When it comes to decadent desserts chocolate bread pudding is in a class of its own. This recipe can easily become your favorite – a few simple ingredients, a few simple steps and a whole lot of “Mmm, it is sooo good!”
For fans of chocolate this is, without a doubt, the best bread pudding ever.
And if you trust us and use our secret ingredient in lieu of chocolate milk/milk and cocoa powder you will be impressed by the added depth of flavor. We give you our word.
The Ingredients & Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
The bread is key to this recipe and we recommend that you use challah or brioche. Both are blissfully porous, rich and sweet and lend themselves perfectly to the scrumptious end purpose. Panettone or even sweet Hawaiian rolls can work great too.
We used challah rolls this time around. The shape of the bread really does not matter, just be sure to have about 14 oz of it, loaf or rolls.
You will also need eggs, sugar, heavy cream, butter, vanilla and either chocolate milk or whole milk plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa. You can use chocolate chips like us or chocolate chunks.
Choose the type of chocolate you like best. We went with milk chocolate this time around because we used milk stout instead of milk. A dreamy substitution.
Milk stouts are very sweet, owing to the addition of lactose which is not a fermentable sugar. They also have a few other qualities that make them our top choice liquid to use in a bread pudding with chocolate chips. Find more information about them under the recipe card.
Equipment wise you will need a serrated knife to cut the bread, a whisk and a bowl to mix the custard and a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (or similarly sized oval or round dish).
Alternatively, you can use ramekins – the quantity of this recipe will fill ten 1 cup dishes (you will need to bake for less time).
How to Make Bread Pudding with Chocolate
Making a chocolate bread pudding entails exactly the same steps as does making a classic bread pudding.
A rich, sweet custard is mixed and poured over cubed, dry sweet bread placed in a buttered baking dish. The ensemble is given some time for the bread to soak up the liquid and then baked until it puffs up, the custard sets and the bread bits on top get nice and toasty.
Whereas raisins, dates, nuts etc. are typically added to classic bread pudding in this case chocolate is added.
Below is a step by step picture sequence of how you’d go about making a bread pudding or you can watch the recipe video instead.
Step 1. Prepare the bread – cut it into approximately 1 inch cubes and if it is still soft, place it in a bowl or colander, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit for a few hours or overnight to dry out.
TIP: If you don’t have the time to do that you can spread the bread cubes over a baking pan and dry them in the oven for a few minutes (on the lowest setting). Be sure not to toast them, just dry them out.
If you are using a few days old challah or brioche you can skip the above. You simply want to make sure that the bread is dry enough to fully absorb the custard and not become soggy.
Step 2. Make the custard. Beat the eggs first then add the sugar and whisk so it gets nicely absorbed.
Add the vanilla extract, the chocolate milk (or whole milk plus cocoa powder or milk stout), whisk and finally add the heavy cream while continuing to whisk.
Step 3. Place the bread cubes in a generously buttered baking dish, add chocolate chips or chunks and pour the custard over them.
Then let the mixture sit. Allow at least 20 minutes. We usually wait 30 to 40, depending on how dry the bread cubes were.
Generally, the longer the bread has to absorb the custard the better the end result.
Step 4. Bake. You will notice the bread pudding puff up quite a bit while in the oven, as if it is trying to leave the baking dish.
This is a welcome visual and means that the custard is baking fully and was well absorbed by the bread.
TIP: If you place your baking dish onto a baking sheet it makes handling the dish in an out of the oven much easier, especially after the bread pudding has risen.
Once a table knife inserted in the center of the baking dish comes out clean and the bread bits on top look toasted take the chocolate bread pudding out and allow it to cool off a bit.
Perhaps grate a bit of extra chocolate on top. Why not?
We prefer to serve the warm pudding with a scoop of ice cream and both of us whole hardheartedly recommend salted caramel as the lead flavor. It elevates the already decadent chocolate bread pudding to the level of ridiculously indulgent. Chocolate and caramel, warm and ice cold.
Then of course there are all kinds of bread pudding sauces out there…
A scoop of vanilla yogurt makes for a great contrast in flavors, even good creamy plain yogurt.
Most importantly – be sure there are plenty of people to serve a bowl of rich, luxurious pudding to. You really do not want to end up with more than one serving yourself – you will feel tempted to eat it all.
Decadent chocolate bread pudding recipe. Simple enough for anyone to make, yet impressively rich and luxurious to serve at a dinner party. Use challah bread or brioche for best results. You can vary the type of chocolate to suit a variety of tastes.
- 14 oz loaf of challah or brioche (or rolls adding up to same weight)* cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
- 2 tbsp butter (at room temperature, for the baking dish)
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 12 oz chocolate milk (OR whole milk plus 2 tbsp of cocoa powder OR milk stout)**
- 2 cups heavy cream
- piece of chocolate to grate over baked pudding (optional)
Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish (or individual ramekins) and place the dry bread cubes in. Scatter the chocolate chips. (Divide evenly for individual portions).
Place the baking dish (or ramekins) onto a baking tray to make handling later on easier.
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, then the sugar, the vanilla, the chocolate milk (or milk plus cocoa powder or milk stout) and the heavy cream.
Pour the custard over the bread cubes and chocolate chips (divide evenly if using ramekins). Let rest for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the liquid.
While the pudding is resting preheat your oven to 350 F.
Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. The pudding will puff up and rise as the custard sets. It is done when a table knife inserted in the center of the baking dish comes out clean and the edges and top get toasty.
If you are making individual portions adjust the time downwards - around 15-20 minutes, test that the custard has set and monitor the edges/top.
Allow a couple of minutes for the pudding to cool off once you take it out of the oven. Grate (on fine) some chocolate over it if you want.
Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.
*It is important for the bread to be dry in order to absorb the custard fully. Use bread that is a few days old or after cutting the bread in cubes, allow it to dry out before you start making the pudding.
**If using whole milk and cocoa powder, mix them well before adding to the custard.
If using milk stout, add it slowly - it will foam up initially.
If you prefer the flavor of dark chocolate, use dark chocolate chips and a stout brewed with roasted barley and possibly cocoa nibs. Or milk mixed with good quality cacao.
On Milk Stout as Substitute for Chocolate Milk
Should you decide to take our advice and use milk stout instead of chocolate milk in this recipe, let us arm you with a bit of knowledge to better understand just how exceptional your decision is.
Milk stouts were first brewed in the nineteenth century in expression of the growing at the time fascination of the Brits with sweeter ales.
Initially the ratio of roasted malt to that of brown malt in stout was altered to favor the milder, sweeter brown malt and later on lactose was added to the already sweetish stouts. Due to the fact that yeast cannot ferment lactose the ale acquired a much sweeter taste.
Today milk stouts are quite popular and are officially classified as Sweet Stout or British Stout. They are typically very dark in color, full-bodied and with a combination of soft roasty and chocolaty flavors, underlined by an unmistakable sweetness.
The one we used, brewed by Left Hand Brewing is possibly America’s most famous contemporary representative of the style. It is also available in nitro version – even creamier than the original with its flaked oats contribution and perfect for Beer Nog.
As an ingredient to desserts in general and this chocolate bread pudding in particular milk stout adds a layer of flavor complexity that cannot be achieved by using plane milk or even chocolate milk. Definitely worth trying.
We hope that you go ahead and make our exquisite sweet stout version of chocolate bread pudding. You will be glad you did as soon as you serve yourself a bowl.
Learn more about Stouts and Porters.
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