Inspired by strata (a baked savory bread pudding), these waffles were born out of a way to use up leftover bread. Torn pieces of crusty bread are soaked in a rich eggy custard and then mixed with cooked sausage crumbles, green onions and plenty of sharp cheddar. The outside turns golden and crisp with crispity bits of cheese, while the inside remains fluffy and tender. And when you come across a little nugget of sausage…*chef’s kiss*.
And the best part about them? The custardy bread base of the waffles is a delectable canvas for a multitude of add-ins (read: a way to use up the bits and bobs in your fridge). Those little nubbins of cheese lurking in the back of your cheese drawer? The more the merrier, grate ‘em up. The last few roasted peppers languishing in the jar? Sure! Maybe some chopped up deli ham? That sounds nice too—welcome to the party. Just make sure you have about 2 cups of cooked add-ins, plus a cup of grated, meltable cheese, and you are good to go.
Looking for more add-in inspo? Here are some tried-and-true combinations:
- Cooked bacon lardons, caramelized onions, and Gruyère cheese
- Chorizo (or soyrizo!) sausage crumbles, corn, canned chopped green chiles, green onions, and Monterey Jack cheese
- Caramelized mushrooms, thawed and drained chopped spinach, and Emmental cheese
- Spicy Italian sausage crumbles, chopped roasted peppers, and a mix of Fontina and Provolone cheeses
Have fun—the world is your savory bread pudding waffle! —Asha Loupy
freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread, such as batard, levain or ciabatta, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
pork or chicken breakfast sausage, casings removed
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, kosher salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add the torn bread pieces and stir to coat every piece with the custard mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature until most of the custard has soaked into the bread, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the bread mixture is resting, cook the sausage. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, using a spoon to break it into crumbles, until it is golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked sausage crumbles onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess fat. Allow to cook slightly at room temperature, 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat a waffle iron to medium high heat. Meanwhile, add the cooled sausage crumbles, grated cheese, and green onions to the bread mixture. Stir vigorously with a big wooden spoon (or your hands!) to mix well.
Once the waffle iron is hot, brush both sides of the waffle plates with melted butter. Scoop one heaping cup of your batter into the center of the waffle iron. Gently spread the mixture into an even layer, about a half inch from the edges, and close the waffle iron, pressing down gently. Cook until the bread waffle is deep golden on the outside and cooked through in the center, 3 to 4 minutes (depending on your waffle iron).
Transfer the finished waffle to the preheated baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve the waffles hot. And if you like a sweet and savory combo, drizzle with maple syrup.