This past week I had kept my kefir grains in a covered jar in the fridge. It allows them to have a severely slowed growth so every time we will be out of town and I can't feed it regularly I do this. However, after a full week you have to take them out to "restart" the grains growth. I drained all the milk it was resting in and found I had about 2 1/2 cups of a thickened sour milk (much like buttermilk but a tad sharper flavored) I figured I might as well us it for the milk and adjust the sugar upward just a tad to accommodate the tartness.
Simple Bread Pudding
About 4 cups of bread torn in bite sized pieces (I used the rolls)
3 beaten eggs
3 cups milk (I added additional milk to equal the 3 cups)
1/2 cup sugar (Normally I use 1/3 cup but added more because I was using very sour milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9x9 inch casserole dish and place the bread pieces inside. Mix the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until it is well bended and a bit frothy. Pour over the bread and let it hang out on the counter for about 10 minutes so much of the liquid is absorbed by the bread. I don't like crunchy bread bits in bread pudding so I use a fork and make sure no bread bits are sticking out and that everything is well moistened.
Pop it in the oven and let it bake for 45 minutes to an hour. It seems that each time I make this the time varies. I guess since I always eyeball the bread sometimes I have different bread liquid ratios. You want the center to be just set yet still creamy. Remove from the oven and let it sit to cool for about 15 minutes. Since this is not a terribly sweet bread pudding I usually top it with a whiskey sauce, but my budget did not allow for that, so I made a very simple caramel sauce to top it.
Simple Caramel Sauce*
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
Over a low heat caramelize the sugar. All I do is put the sugar in a pot with a heavy bottom. Stir constantly (I highly recommend a long wooden spoon for this process because you will be stirring a long time. Soon the sugar will melt and will become a light brown color. Remove from the heat immediately at this point. (There is just a few seconds difference between light brown and dark brown and burned) You really should have the milk hot and the butter melted in it at this point. ( That is what a coffee cup and a microwave are for) While stirring constantly add the hot milk and butter. Put the pan back on the heat and stir and stir. (If the milk is not hot enough the caramel will harden. That is ok but it requires a little more heat and stirring time to remelt the sugar and incorporate it in the sauce) Continue cooking and stirring until it is thick and sauce like. Remove from heat and pour over individual servings of bread pudding. (Or pour it over the top of the pan. It works but makes serving it a lot messier) Sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt and serve.
*This sauce is also good over ice cream or pound cake