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Jul 15, 2020

Brown Bread Ice Cream

Brown bread ice cream is an amazing frozen vanilla custard filled with caramelized bread crumbs that stay crispy and delicious.

Brown Bread Ice Cream in bowls

The custardy vanilla ice cream is also flavored with a hint of lemon and cinnamon. You cannot really taste either, other than you can tell there is something special and unique about the vanilla flavor.

As an avid bread baker, when I discovered that brown bread ice cream was a thing, I just had to make it.

Dearest friends, it is r-e-a-l-l-y good. If you are familiar with Grape-Nuts ice cream, it's a bit like that, but the bread crumbs are much more caramel-y.

Brown Bread Ice Cream scoops

Evidently, brown bread ice cream might be an Irish thing. David Lebovitz, the author of The Perfect Scoop, says he discovered it on a trip to Ireland. That makes perfect sense, because brown bread is ubiquitous there.

I've also read that it originated in England, especially among the wealthy who could afford all of the ice cream ingredients.

Nick Malgieri, one of my favorite bread bakers and cookbook authors, who discovered it when working in a kitchen in Monte Carlo, declares it to be the best ice cream he ever tasted!

Irish Brown Bread Ice Cream

This ice cream is a bit of work, but it's totally worth it. No one will know that the chunks of goodness in this ice cream is actually brown bread until you tell them. It's practically hippy dippy health food.

For the caramelized brown bread bread crumbs, I used two cups of whole wheat sourdough bread (recipe to be posted soon). Rest assured, you don't have to bake your own whole wheat bread to make this ice cream, although this 75% whole wheat bread would be fabulous. If you want to keep it Irish, you could use Irish soda brown bread.

brown bread loaf

How to make the caramelized brown bread crumbs:

First, cut some brown bread into 2 cups of 1/4 inch cubes. Toast the bread cubes in the oven until they are dried.

Next, create some caramel by boiling water and sugar until it becomes browned but not too dark. When the mixture is ready, add more water (be sure to use a large oven mitt and turn your head away) and let the mixture bubble up and settle down.

Drizzle the caramel over the bread crumbs and sprinkle with more sugar, salt, and butter. Be sure to toss everything together.

Finally, bake the the bread crumbs again until they are crispy. You'll have to break them apart a bit when they have cooled if they are still stuck together. Save the brown bread crumbs to add them into the ice cream.

Caramelized bread crumbs

The ice cream is super custardy. There are 10 egg yolks in the mixture, and making the custard base requires tempering the eggs. Rest assured, if some of your eggs kind of form solids, you will be able to strain the solids out.

The trick is to not make scrambled eggs when adding the hot milk and sugar to the eggs. You can do this by adding just some of the hot milk to the eggs while whisking constantly. Once the eggs are tempered, you can slowly add them to the hot hot milk and sugar while whisking.

Once you've created the custard mixture, you will want to cool it in an ice bath, and then refrigerate it overnight before freezing it in your ice cream maker.

Brown Bread Ice Cream in a pan

This ice cream is amazing. The recipe makes a pretty big batch. It all fit into my ice cream maker, but I'm coveting this one where you don't have to freeze the insert (affiliate links).

Ideas for serving brown bread ice cream:

This ice cream is totally delicious served by itself in a bowl. You can also serve it over a cobbler, crisp, or a pie.

It would also be amazing with apple cake.

You could also top it with caramel, chocolate, or strawberry sauce.

If you don't want to make the custard, you can stir these breadcrumbs into any vanilla ice cream, including no churn ice cream.

Three scoops of Brown Bread Ice Cream

July is #NationalIceCreamMonth, and we’re having an ice cream social! Grab a spoon and dig into all the awesome recipes we're sharing today!

Thank you to Jolene's Recipe Journal for putting this event together.

For another interesting ice cream flavor, be sure to try tahini chocolate chunk ice cream too

Brown Bread Vanilla Ice Cream

Brown Bread Ice Cream Recipe

Brown Bread Ice Cream Recipe
Yield: 2 quarts ice cream
Author: Karen Kerr
Brown bread ice cream is an amazing vanilla custard filled with caramelized bread crumbs that stay crispy and delicious.


For the Caramelized Brown Bread Crumbs
  • 2 cups crustless 1/4 inch bread cubes. 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
For the Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or one vanilla bean, split)
  • Three 3-inch strips lemon peel, yellow part only. Use a vegetable peeler. 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 10 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream


To Make the Brown Bread Crumbs
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bread crumbs on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Leave the oven on. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the water and the sugar and cook over medium heat until it begins to turn golden. 
  3. Pull the pan off the heat. Heat the other 1/4 cup of water in a small pan. 
  4. Check the first pan to make sure the caramel is the right color. If it's not, heat again until it's a deep amber. 
  5. Using an oven mitt, and turning your face away from the caramel (for safety), add the hot water. It will bubble up and settle. 
  6. Drizzle the caramel over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the mixture with the rest of the sugar. Add the salt and butter and toss the bread crumbs to combine. 
  7. Spread the bread crumbs back over the parchment paper and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring every two minutes. 
  8. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack to let the bread crumbs cool. Once they have cooled, break them apart. 
To Make the Ice Cream
  1. Place a medium bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water. 
  2. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. 
  3. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and sugar. Add the vanilla paste (or vanilla bean) and bring to a boil over medium. 
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the lemon zest and cinnamon. Let cool for 10 minutes. 
  5. Whisk the egg yolks to combine in a large bowl. 
  6. Remove the vanilla bean (if you used one), lemon zest, and cinnamon stick from the milk mixture. 
  7. Return the milk to a boil. 
  8. Whisk about 1/3 of the milk into the egg yolks. 
  9. Bring milk mixture to a low simmer and, whisking constantly, slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the milk mixture. 
  10. Whisk until very slightly thickened and then strain into cold bowl, whisking constantly while it is cooling. 
  11. Once the mixture has cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight. Also, place a 2 pound bread pan into the freezer. You can also use a cake or casserole pan. 
  12. Just before churning, whisk in the cream. 
  13. Freeze the mixture according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Pour the ingredients into the frozen bread pan and stir in the caramelized bread crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours. 
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ice cream, bread
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This recipe was adapted from Bread: Over 60 breads, rolls and cakes plus delicious recipes using them by Nick Malgieri.

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Would you like to comment?

  1. This is genius, cannot wait to give it a try!

  2. What a wonderful, unique recipe. You constantly amaze me Karen.

  3. Those caramelized bread bits sound amazing! Perfect with vanilla ice cream.

    1. Thanks! You'd never know they are bread.

  4. What an interesting flavor idea. I think it sounds wonderful!

  5. Wow...this is unique! And it sounds delicious! Can't wait to give it a try!

  6. Oh my goodness how amazing is this ice cream?? That caramelly crunchy bread!! Droolll!!!!


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