Today, I asked my friend Carmen a leading question about bread.
"What do you call the heel of a loaf of bread in the Entlebuch?"
"We say Mutsch or Mutschli. But there are many different words for it..."
She isn't kidding.
In Swiss German the Aaschnitt, or end of the bread, is called something different in practically every region of the country. It is a word commonly used to show the extreme variety in regional terms throughout the German speaking realm. In 2006, Der Spiegel published this article detailing the known words for Brotrest in all possible German dialects.
According to the article, Baslers might call it Gröpfli, Mugerli, Fuudi or Gupf, but Carmen's Mutschli, and surely many other expressions are missing.
Regardless of what you call it, there is surely no better use for your Mutschli than bread pudding. Any bread will do, no matter how stale, as a good soak in warm milky tea and low and slow bake in a water bath make this dish soft and tender.
200 g stale bread
75 g raisins
2 shots of rum (or spirit of choice)
500 ml strong, warm tea
100 ml milk
a shot of rum (or spirit of choice)
3 tbsp sugar
200 ml milk
100 ml tea
shot of rum
3 tbsp sugar
grated lemon rind
Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / gas mark 3.
Soak the raisins in rum.
Butter six ramequins.
Cut the bread into thin slices.
Prepare the dipping liquid in a large measuring cup, then pour some into a shallow dish. Keep topping this up as it runs down.
The procedure is as follows:
Cut some bread into a round (or use bread scraps to make a similar shape), dip this in the tea/milk/rum mixture, then place in the ramequin. Sprinkle some raisins on top. Repeat until you fill the dish.
If you like, you can use cookie cutters to make decorative cut outs for the top. They should also be dipped in the liquid.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the ingredients for the custard. If you have leftover dipping liquid, measure this out first, and then just top up with milk and tea to 300ml. Add eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Whisk well.
Put a roasting pan on a baking tray and place the ramequins inside. Pour the custard over the bread until it reaches just under the edge of the dish. Now fill the roasting pan with water, until this reaches about half way up the sides of the ramequins.
Carefully put the baking tray in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
- The number of layers of bread will depend on the thickness of the slices and size of the ramequin. I found I could get three rounds, plus the cut outs on top.
- Always put the rameqins in the roasting pan before filling them with custard.
- It's ok if all the custard doesn't fit in the ramequins, as this will depend on how big your dishes are and how many layers of bread you have used.
- Makes an excellent breakfast, hot or cold.