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What Is Bread Pudding?

What Is Bread Pudding?

It’s not just for dessert

Grand Marnier Bread Pudding

Bread pudding, in a way, is essentially the dessert counterpart to French toast. They’re served at opposite ends of the day (that is, unless, you’re a breakfast-for-dinner kind of person, in which case, all bets are off) but they’re united in the sense that they’re both creative and sweet ways to use up leftover bread that’s perfectly edible, if given a little love and some butter, milk, and eggs.

And while there’s nothing wrong with everyone’s favorite, chocolate bread pudding, one would be remiss to overlook some of the more creative variations, like this one made from zucchini, or an irresistible caramel apple bread pudding, or even one laced with Grand Marnier. Bread pudding isn’t even just for dessert — you can often find savory bread puddings paired with hearty meat dishes.

Click here to see the Duck Breast with Currants and Foie-Gras Maitake Bread Pudding Recipe.

So how do you go about concocting this grand dish? Usually, you’ll want to start with some day-old French bread or a baguette that's past its prime. Brioche is even better. Tear it up into cubes and put them in a baking dish (feel free to butter them up first if you want a really decadent dessert). Pour a mixture of mostly milk and cream, some sugar, and a few eggs and let them soak for a little while. Add some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove, or perhaps throw in a dash of vanilla extract, if you wish. Pop it in the oven until the top edges are slightly toasted or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. That’s it! Don’t overthink it! (Photo courtesy of Ellen Silverman)

So what to make of bread pudding? It’s a dessert that looks and tastes like it took a lot of work to prepare, but it’s a useful crutch for, shall we say, some of the more laissez-faire cooks among us. Don’t worry — we won’t let anybody in on your secret.


What is the best bread to use for bread pudding? And do you really need to use stale bread?

On Friday I reached out to the Twitterverse for some inspiration on what my blog post should be about that day. I received two responses, the first, was to discuss domain parking, the second was to write about what bread is the best for bread pudding.

Since the domain parking post is done, I find myself writing a post about bread pudding on Sunday morning. Over the last day or so I’ve done some research and learned more than I thought I’d ever know about bread pudding.

I also realized that this is a tricky question to answer because it depends on a number of factors as well as a clarification because it turns out there are really two kinds of bread pudding. So let’s dive in.

First – there are two kinds of bread pudding if you want to get technical (so I learned), one is just good old standard bread pudding, the other is called “bread and butter pudding” and yes, the bread you use for each is different.

Bread and butter pudding looks like this:

Described as a “classic British mommy food” it’s super easy to make and when it comes to bread selection, it’s equally easy – just grab some white bread and you’re off to the races.

On the other hand, “bread pudding” which is probably what people are the most familiar with has a much wider range of bread suggestions and can look pretty different depending on the recipe you use. Here’s what one variation looks like:

At the same time, bread pudding can also look more like a well-defined cake, like it does in this recipe for Grandma’s Bread pudding. As for what kind of bread to use, well that’s up for debate. First let’s cover what seems to be the most hotly contested topic in the bread pudding world…

Should you use stale bread to make bread pudding?

A lot of bread pudding recipes suggest using a hard or stale bread. The reasoning here is that some bread pudding recipes want you to cut the bread into smaller pieces or cubes that will then need to be able to absorb the delicious pudding mixture. The idea here is that stale bread will do a better job of still maintaining some form and texture.

That being said, it looks like the general feeling these days is that you’re actually sacrificing flavor when you use stale bread and that using fresh bread will actually make better bread pudding. After doing the research I’d say, forgot the stale bread idea, use fresh bread.

So what bread should you use for bread pudding?

A soft more buttery bread seems like the most popular and tastiest choice. Going with something like a brioche or challah, but you can also use french bread and there are some people who said they use croissants to make it extra buttery and delectable.

I’m a big fan of Challah so I’d probably use this recipe for bread pudding from the New York Times.

What about gluten free bread pudding?

So my wife has a gluten allergy, so traditional bread pudding isn’t going to work for her. When switching from regular bread pudding to gluten free bread pudding, I read an interesting article that suggested using gluten free bagels for the best results…if you don’t make your own bread that is, which we don’t.

Here’s a good article for anyone that would like to make gluten free bread pudding.

What about bread pudding domain names?

Of course, you might be reading this and thinking, okay, but your blog is about domain names, so what about getting into the exciting world of bread pudding domains? Well, I do have some good news for you, BreadPudding.com, while originally registered back in 2001 is available for sale, or at least it is now when I’m writing this post in April of 2020.

If you do want to delve into the exciting world of bread pudding domains, I’d say owning the exact-match .COM is the way to go. That being said, if someone does decide to launch .pudding at some point in time, bread.pudding will likely be one of the best names in that extension.

All that being said. If you do invest in a bread pudding-related domain, set your expectations low. The .COM, .NET, and .ORG are all listed for sale so chances are if you enter this niche, you’ll need to build out a site and try to make money through affiliate marketing, maybe sell some bread-makers?

And there you have it. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, here’s what you’ve learned.

  • When you say “bread pudding” make sure to specify if you mean traditional bread pudding or bread and butter pudding…which is traditional in England
  • Some people say you need to use stale bread for bread pudding but you don’t have to listen to those people
  • You can make gluten free bread pudding, and if you do, it’s the only time that bagels have come up as a popular bread choice
  • If you love bread pudding so much you want to start buying bread pudding domains, the .COM, .NET, and .ORG are for sale

Thanks for reading, now I don’t know about you but I’m feeling pretty hungry right now!


How to Make Old Fashioned Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray an 8x8 baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix the bread cubes and raisins. Set aside. I used a bunch of bread crusts that I had cut off when making sandwiches for a party a few months ago. Threw them right in the freezer and nearly forgot them, but I knew they'd come in handy sometime.

In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, salt, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk to combine thoroughly.

Pour the wet mixture over the bread cubes and raisins. Stir well.

Pour into prepared baking pan. Dot the top with butter. Don't be afraid of the butter. It really adds a richness to the bread pudding.

Bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve with whipped cream.


Bread Pudding

This recipe for Bread Pudding uses leftover biscuits. We found it while digging through The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery and knew we had to add it to our Forgotten Recipes of the Smokies series.

In the book, there’s a whole section on bread puddings and they say “Bread puddings were one of the earlier desserts and one of the most convenient when there were leftover biscuits available.” It was a recipe submitted by Ruth Holcomb to The Foxfire Magazine, which was started in the mid-1960s as a way to record the foods, crafts, and lives of Southern Appalachians.

While many of their recipes come from the North Georgia Mountains region, it borders the Great Smoky Mountains and early settlers were spread all along the Appalachian Mountains.

Testing Notes:

This recipe shows the ingenuity and resourcefulness of cooks in Appalachia. It is simple and quick, so it can easily be prepared right after dinner for an evening treat or dessert. It makes a thick batter, which when baked gets crunchy on top, but is creamy inside. it can be served with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream, but is delicious on its own.


Basic Bread Pudding Recipe

Let’s face it: Bread pudding is not the most exciting dessert in the world. It often looks like a gloppy mess, and its main ingredient is stale bread. In fact, bread pudding is essentially a conduit for leftover bread in thrifty (or poor) households throughout the world, and in mindful restaurants, it’s a way to use bread whose crust has hardened but whose dough still has a bit of sponginess left, instead of merely throwing it out.

That doesn’t mean bread pudding has to suck.

Here, we present a recipe for bread pudding that actually rivals chocolate cake, apple pie, and flan, mainly thanks to the ingredient we use to liven up that stale bread: Good ol’ Kentucky bourbon. Mix it up with caramel and cream, and you’ve got one hell of a sauce. Plus, the bread is treated so that it’s almost French toast-like, making for a dessert made from leftovers that might even re-surface as breakfast—though you’ll probably polish this off first.


This is the easiest part. Place your bread pudding in the oven and bake it, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. The timing may vary on the strength of your oven. As a rule, you want to bake your bread pudding for 45 minutes, test it, and then bake in 5-minute increments if it needs more time.

When I was growing up in Michigan in the 90s, my stepdad, Bob, would always smother his homemade bread pudding with a simple white frosting. I still remember the moment I tasted this mixture for the first time. It was pure heaven. With that in mind, I highly recommend creating a simple lemon & vanilla sauce to accompany the bread pudding. It takes like 3 seconds to make.

  • 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

Directions: Whisk sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice together until you get your desired consistency. Add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice at a time if the mixture is still too thick.

An alternative to the lemon frosting that many people prefer is caramel sauce, which you can make or buy from the store and heat in the microwave.

I used the same saucepan to make my frosting that I used to melt my butter
  • 3 cups divided granulated sugar
  • 5 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons divided vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cubed allow to stale overnight in a bowl Italian bread
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted, plus 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 beaten, for the sauce egg
  • 1/4 cup brandy

Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Mix together 2 cups granulated sugar, 5 eggs and milk in a bowl add 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, 1/4 cup softened butter and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

Mix together 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.


Sourdough Bread Pudding with Hot Honey Sauce

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees . Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, then beat in the milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and the vanilla. Gradually add the sugar and mix until dissolved.

Place the bread cubes in a 9-inch round baking dish and pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle the pecans on top and press them into the bread. Bake until set, about 50 minutes.

A few minutes before the pudding is done, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 stick melted butter with the honey, cinnamon, cayenne and salt over medium heat, whisking to combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Drizzle half of the warm honey sauce over the bread pudding and serve the rest alongside.


Recipe Ingredients

This recipe uses simple ingredients that you may already have on hand! Here’s what you will need to make this easy bread pudding recipe:

  • Day-old bread: To start this recipe you’ll need some bread, hence the name bread pudding. I like to use a loaf of challah bread when it comes to making this recipe. Josh’s grandma used slices of toasted white bread when she would make it. Some other great options are French or brioche bread. You also want to use day-old or stale bread so that it absorbs the moisture from the egg and milk mixture.
  • Eggs: You will be using 5 large eggs for this bread pudding recipe.
  • Milk: I prefer to use whole milk in this recipe, but Josh’s grandmother typically used skim milk. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand!
  • Sugar: There’s 1 cup of granulated sugar in this dish to add some sweetness.
  • Vanilla & spices: These add a little flavor to the bread pudding. For the spices there is a mixture of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.



STORING, REHEATING + FREEZING

How to store/reheat bread pudding? Place in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Be sure to cover well since it’s typically already dry and you don’t want it to dry out even more.

You can reheat in the oven or microwave, but be sure it reaches an internal temp of 165. If you want the top crisp, we recommend broiling for the last minute.

How to freeze bread pudding? Cover tightly and place in fridge for 3-4 months. Be sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. If it’s lost too much moisture we recommend adding a bit of caramel sauce or heavy cream before reheating.

This bread pudding is so delicious as a simple dessert recipe, or an extra decadent breakfast. It proves that you only need a few everyday ingredients to make a delicious treat, and everyone always wants a second helping!