Chocolate BREI (a homemade German pudding)

chocolate breiFamily favorite

Last week I shared a family and community favorite recipe. This week I give the chocolate recipe for the same food:  BREI. “Brei” is pronounced with a silent “e” and a long “i”.  This word rhymes with “dry” and “cry”. Say it:  BRY.

This recipe is the same as the vanilla one last week, only this time we add chocolate (cocoa) to the mix. After I posted the recipe last week, a cousin commented that they also made chocolate Brei, but she did not know the amount to add. I compared a recipe for cocoa pie1 from my grandma Barbara Swartzentruber Miller and did the math. Then I made the recipe. It came out just right, I think. You might want to add a little more chocolate, depending on how rich your like your chocolate.

I talked to cousins from four different families, and they all remembered the same things about this dish.

  • this dish was a staple in their growing up years
  • there was no recipe – you just made it
  • most folks just called it Brei or Cornstarch. Not cornstarch pudding, mind you, just “Cornstarch”.
  • oftentimes it was the meal of the evening for the family
  • when it was the main evening meal, hard boiled eggs and sometimes radishes were served on the side
  • there was always plenty of milk and this was an easy meal
  • everyone made vanilla Brei, but sometimes you had chocolate; some families more than others

chocolate breiLast time I shared about the memories my oldest brother had about Brei from when he was a young lad. If you want to know more about Brei and the information I shared last time, you can go to this link.

When my family was writing our family book of memories, the mention of Brei came up numerous times. No one had a recipe, but everyone had memories. So we asked our sister Katharine to make Brei and write down the ingredients and amounts. Now we have a written recipe2 for our family.

The chocolate brei recipe

Chocolate BREI (a German pudding)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This chocolate Brei pudding is a delightful taste of porridge or pudding. Just rich enough to be delightful but not too rich or sweet.
  • 4 cups milk
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa (or more if you like it richer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Heat 3½ cups milk to almost boiling. [To do this, heat on medium until you see circles form on top of the milk; keep stirring it while you are heating it.]
  2. While the milk is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa.
  3. Mix well with ½ cup milk
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot milk, stirring as you pour it in
  5. Stir constantly as it thickens and just comes to a boil.
  6. Remove from heat and add vanilla
  7. Serve hot or cold
  8. Optional: add a dollop of cook whip or whipped cream on top

Pinterest chocolate brei

1 Homecoming – The life and stories of Jonas B. and Barbara Swartzentruber Miller and their children by the JBM Family, Lulu Online Printing, June 2012, p. 32.

2 Family Jaunt of Memories by the Floyd J. Miller family, Lulu Online Printing, June, 2009. p. 445.

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