Bread, bread glorious bread, there is nothing quite like it in this world. This week in Britain, and Ireland, this staple of almost every kitchen is celebrated in Real Bread Week.
Each culture has their own version of bread whether it be unleavened, leaven, unsalted or gluten free, they are all an amazing feat of the human mind: learning about their natural habitat, domesticating a grain and inventing farming. The story is nearly as old as our history, and despite our existence on earth of around 10,000 years in our current form, bread is still a huge part of daily life. It is the last thing we get rid of in desperate times, other than pure grain foodstuffs, whilst we still have a form of cooking.
One of my favourite memories as a very small child is ‘helping’ my mum make bread (let’s be honest, as a 4 year old I got in the way, & underfoot, made a mess, & probably drove the her mad with incessant questions!). Her taking the loaf out of the oven smelling ammmmazzzing, waiting impatiently and then finally her cutting that first slice of warm crust, and slathering it in creamy, salty butter. The fact she used to mill her own grain (that was kept in a sack in the hall) using a coffee grinder and at the time was a case of needs must, actually proves the point that when we are down on our luck (which many, many families were in the late 1970’s) human ingenuity wins out. As a dense wholemeal, to my taste buds, it was, and still is, the best tasting bread ever…Yay for mum's bread!
Anyway, I digress. Since bread is a mainstay of much of the world’s human population, it follows that puddings will eventually be based on the stuff.
Although around for many years prior, White Pot (the original form of the Bread & Butter pudding we would recognise today), was first recorded by Gervase Markham in 1615 in ‘The English Huswife’. Interestingly, the first recipe book published in the United States in 1742 (in the UK 1727) ‘The Compleat Housewife’ or the ‘Accomplis’d Gentlewoman’s Companion’ also contains a similar recipe, ensuring this humble pud is globally known.
Both White Pot, and Bread & Butter pudding both use stale bread of any sort (crusts off, thank you!), dried fruit, sugar, cream, egg, citrus peel and spices. Oh, and butter of course! Having looked at a fair few recipes, if you have all of those ingredients, you can make a bread and butter pudding!
The Gooey Pud recipe is based on one I had many years ago at a dinner party. I have recreated it using sliced brioche, instead of rolls, as the crust removal is easier, but other than that, it still contains all the other ingredients, and souffles beautifully in the oven.
So, come and join us in Real Bread week, and have a delicious Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding Ingredient Box!