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Bread pudding started as a frugal measure for stretching food stores and avoiding waste. People made bread pudding with anything they had available. It was often referred to as "poor man's pudding." Food historians have traced bread pudding to the early 11th and 12th centuries. Bread pudding is now prepared as comfort food at home and a sophisticated dessert in 5-star restaurants. This dish is still an excellent way to use up left-over bread and other foods, and the recipes and methods of preparation are nearly endless.

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1. Basic Bread Pudding

Break half a loaf of bread or four hamburger buns into pieces. Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat an 8 x 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Bring 2 cups of milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add the bread, 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1.5 teaspoons of nutmeg, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a 1/2 cup of butter to the saucepan. Mix everything thoroughly, then pour the mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes until the surface looks brown and caramelized.

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