This is a dish I recently tried that was completely unique and delicious.
It may not look glamorous, but it was a deeply satisfying ending to a potluck feast organized by my friends Mark Shipley and Michael Thompson in Chicago the other night.
The pudding was made by Chicago fermentation experimentalist Ben Walker. When I asked him what it was called, he suggested ”Walker-kvass.” Kvass is a Slavic beverage made from dry old bread, and his starting point was just this: the dry ends of old breads, all whole grain sourdoughs.
He covered the bread with cream fermented with the Scandinavian milk culture fil mjolk, along with a little vanilla and maple syrup. Once the bread had softened, he weighed it down (with a cutting board, over a layer of parchment paper) , and let the bread sit fermenting in the cream and absorbing it, for about 18 hours, until all the liquid had absorbed into the bread. He made a sauce of melted butter, maple syrup, and whiskey, and brushed some of it on top of the bread. Thus assembled, Ben broiled the moist bread for a few minutes, just to crisp up and brown the surface, while leaving the bottom raw.
We ate the fermented bread pudding cooled, with more butter-maple-whiskey sauce, as well as home-preserved peaches. The finishing touch, oh so delicious, was a light sprinkling of chunky grains of pink salt and dry powdered galangal and ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi).
Oh this was a fermented dessert I will remember.