I have a soft spot for bread pudding and when I add pumpkin to the mix that spot gets even softer! This bread pudding is perfect for this time of year. I consider bread pudding to be a bit of an indulgence because it is made with lots of cream and whole milk. We should all take the time to enjoy and appreciate the foods we love (aka indulge every once in a while), but that can be more challenging when you have lactose intolerance. The holidays are filled with amazingly rich foods and often they contain a lot of dairy. Be sure to check out more lactose free recipes below from my fellow Recipe Redux bloggers.
We hear the term “lactose intolerance” fairly often, but I think the depth of understanding around it can be pretty limited. It is estimated that about 70-90% of the world’s population has some degree of lactase deficiency. That’s a huge majority of the population! So if you have trouble enjoying milk products, you are definitely not alone. Let’s explain a few definitions before we move forward too much. Lactose is a sugar naturally found in milk and many products made from milk. Lactase is an enzyme that our bodies produce to digest that sugar and break it down into simpler sugars known as galactose and glucose. If we are deficient in lactase we aren’t able to properly breakdown the lactose which can result in some pretty uncomfortable consequences such as bloating, cramps, gas and even diarrhea. You may really love to eat ice cream, but if you experience those symptoms it would be hard to enjoy it without fear of the consequences.
Most people can handle small amounts of lactose without experiencing negative consequences. Research shows that consuming more than 12 grams of lactose in one sitting can lead to gastrointestinal upset. As a reference an 8-ounce glass of milk contains about 12 grams of lactose.
Tips to Enjoy Milk
Understand that it doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate milk from your diet.
- Start small. Try eating small amounts of milk products and be sure to combine it with other foods.
- Try lactose-treated milk and dairy foods. The lactose has been broken down into the simpler sugars we talked about earlier so it will taste sweeter than lactose-containing milk products. It is real milk with all the same great nutritional benefits, just easier for you to eat!
- Eat aged cheeses and yogurt. The solid to semi-solid milk products digest slower which gives your body more time to process the lactose with the limited amount of lactase that your body does produce. The bacteria cultures found in yogurt can actually facilitate the digestion of lactose so it is often tolerated well.
- Add lactase enzyme to milk before you drink it. You can find it in tablets or drops.
- Take a lactase supplement before you eat lactose-rich foods.
- Your tolerance for lactose-containing foods/drinks can actually increase over time if you regularly and gradually incorporate them into your diet.
Now on to the fun part…baking and eating! I’ve adapted a favorite recipe for pumpkin bread pudding to be lactose-free and a little lighter because I used fat-free milk. I used a store-brand lactose free milk in place of the regular milk that was originally used in the recipe. I have also found that using a plain soy-milk also works pretty well in many baked products such as this.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 1 1/2 cups lactose free milk (I used fat-free)
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground all spice
- 1/8 tsp cardamon
- 5 cups (6-7 slices) of leftover bread, torn into pieces (can be whole wheat if you want to make it a little more filling and nutritious)
Note: I used the entire can of pumpkin because I didn’t want to have any leftover, but know that this will make the end product more “pumpkiny.” (In my opinion, more pumpkin isn’t a bad thing!) I found that the baking time increased slightly. You could also try increasing the amount of bread so that the proportion of ingredients remained about the same.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, place bread pieces in an 8×8-inch baking dish to “dry out.” Whisk together all ingredients except bread. Pour over bread and stir to coat bread evenly with mixture. Allow the bread to soak up the pumpkin mixture for about 10 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. If you used the entire can of pumpkin baking time increases to 40-45 minutes. Serves 9.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Southeast Dairy Association. I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.