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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bread Pudding Experiment

I love bread pudding. There’s nothing quite like it. Especially when there’s chocolate involved.

Today I found myself with a loaf of 2-day old pugliese Italian bread that we really had no use for. I’ve only ever used soft breads for bread pudding, you know, brioche, that light fluffy white Italian bread from the grocery store bakery section, croissants, etc. Recipes always called for that kind of bread and some of them even said things like “cut the crust off.” So it comes as no surprise that I was always scared to try making bread pudding with a more rustic, crusty bread. And that fear has been the waste of several decent loaves of stale bread because….

That crusty, rustic pugliese worked GREAT in bread pudding. That’s right, I took the plunge. And the water felt good, people. Don’t be scared, use that crusty bread!

I did slice off the pointy crusty top from the loaf, and, after I cut the bread into 1″ – 2″ slices, I cut the bottom crust off each piece. The rest of the crust I left on. I liked having varying textures in the pudding, and the crusty parts absorbed the custard and cooked beautifully.

I am so glad I experimented with that bread today. Because, turns out, chocolatey bread pudding makes a mighty tasty lunch. Nutritious, too.

Bread Pudding Experiment
My creation after reading through a whole bunch of recipes and picking what I liked best.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (more if you use raisins or fruit as the mix-in)
  • 4 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 3 cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounce loaf of white bread (brioche, Italian, whatever you have on hand)
  • Chocolate (chips or chopped) OR raisins, optional. If you don’t add anything at this point, it will be delicious topped with fresh fruit upon serving.
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a tea towel or cloth flatly in a 9”³ x 13”³ baking pan. Butter an 8”³ x 8”³ baking dish (I actually forgot to butter the dish, and everything was fine). Get a bunch of hot water ready for when the pudding is ready for the oven (I just filled my tea kettle and turned the heat on so it would be hot when I was ready for it).
  2. Cut off the ends of the bread and slice the bread into 1”³ – 3”³ cubes – no need to be exact. Cut off any particularly thick or crusty pieces of crust. Place bread pieces in the 8”³ x 8”³ dish, being sure not to overcrowd.
  3. If you are adding a raisins or chocolate, do so now just by sprinkling over the bread.
  4. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer until it’s that pretty light yellow color. Stir in the milk and butter then pour the mixture over the bread. Dunk the pieces of bread down into the egg mixture with your fingers so all the pieces have been soaked. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Place dish in the prepared 9”³ x 13”³ pan, laying 8”³ x 8”³ pan on top of the cloth. Place both pans in the oven. Pour hot water into the 9”³ x 13”³ pan until the level is about halfway up the side of the 8”³ x 8”³ dish.
  6. Bake around an hour. Mine was done at exactly 65 minutes. You can tell it’s done when you poke around in the middle and the custard is mostly set. There may be a little bit of liquid left, but not a lot.
  7. Serve cold or warm, with whipped cream or not. I love it a few minutes after baking because the tops are still crispy. YUM! Keeps in the fridge for several days.

Happy Eating!


  1. I love crusty bread in bread puddings! If I have a slice or to of the artisan stuff left I sometimes even make myself a little “single serving” of bread pudding using the microwave…a treat for just me 🙂
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

    • Jane Maynard

      how do you do the single serving? just an egg whipped up with some milk or something? love the idea!!

    • yep! just a very simplified version of what you show here…sometimes I even just use some egg whites, a little vanilla, a dash of milk or half n half mixed with some honey or maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon…then nuke it a few minutes…that, and a good cup of coffee and a book is my ideal winter evening 🙂

  2. 2

    I looooove bread pudding. Its such a great dessert and can feed so many people because it’s so rich. Check out the panettone bread pudding I made at Christmas on my blog!

  3. 3

    looks fabulous! love bread pudding!

  4. 4

    Looks so good Jane!

  5. This looks fantastic, Jane! Bread pudding is my sister’s favorite dessert. I’ll have to make this recipe for her on my next visit. Thanks!

  6. 6

    I love crusty bread pudding too! It tastes a lot more substantial than croissants. I like how the egg-soaked bread is the main focus here. Yummy!

  7. I LOVE chocolate bread pudding! So glad to hear you gave in and tried it with that beautiful crusty bread.

  8. 8

    Thank You! I have some of that exact bread right now. I may have to use some for this- looks so good- and I’ve always been wary of bread pudding… though I’ve never seen one w/ chocolate!

  9. I’ve never been a fan of bread pudding, but hub lives the stuff and has been quite deprived since I never make it or order it at restaurants….. Low and behold …. Chocolate bread pudding, never even thought of that and it sounds great. I will have to give it a try next week… Maybe as a surprise on Sunday when nubby gets off work! I’m actually excited about this one. Thanks forthe fantastic idea. I’m thinking the 2 yr. Old will scarf this stuff down as well!

  10. 10

    I love crusty bread in pudding because the crust gives it a substantial, chewy texture!

    • Jane Maynard

      exactly! I’m beginning to wonder where the standard for using only soft, crustless bread came from…sure it’s more pudding-ish, but this is just so darn good!

  11. 11

    I love bread pudding; I wish my husband liked it too so I can actually enjoy it at home. We always have rustic loaves in the kitchen and I can see how it would work for this pudding–more body to hold its own against the wet ingredients. I might just try this anyway. Who says I have to share? Thanks. 🙂

  12. 12
    Nancy from Mass

    I love bread pudding and it was something my mom made often while I was growing up. My favorite bread pudding though is one I made with a half loaf of zucchini bread that was drying up. that made the BEST bread pudding I have ever had! If I ever have leftover zucchini bread again, I’m making it. I have also used a lemon coconut bread and a pumpkin bread…mmmmmmmm……….

  13. You should try Ina Garten’s croissant bread pudding. I made it last week — yum!

  14. oooh we made tri-berry banana bread pudding for dessert on christmas. it was divine… now i’ll have to try chocolate bread pudding! 🙂

  15. 15
    Janna M

    Growing up we had a strictly whole wheat bread house and my mother would make bread pudding with that. It was best with chocolate and we would pour milk over it. Seems like the options are endless. Great recipe Jane!

    • Jane Maynard

      I’ve been wondering what bread pudding would be like with whole grain bread…sounds like it must be good! maybe one day I’ll try it…maybe 😉

  16. 16

    My favorite is to use white chocolate with half and half…so good!

  17. 17

    i’m pretty sure my husband will love you for this! 🙂

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