Bread and Butter Pudding is surely the ultimate use of leftover bread!! While wonderful made with pre-sliced bread, it’s company-worthy made with chunks of bread, whether it’s a leftover loaf, dinner rolls or even hot dog buns(!)
A classic comfort dessert, custardy on the inside, golden and buttery on top. The only real question is this: what will you serve it with? Ice cream, cream, custard – or something else? 😉
Bread and Butter Pudding
I remember the first time I had Bread and Butter Pudding. I was really cynical. Stale bread for a dessert?? It sounded ridiculous.
How wrong I was.
If you’ve never tried Bread and Butter Pudding before, be prepared to be amazed because it truly is a thing of beauty. Try telling me you don’t want to eat this!!
And while it’s well-known as a rustic, home-style dessert of frugal origins, nowadays the humble Bread and Butter Pudding even makes an appearance on the menu at upscale bistros! Though admittedly, they tend to make it with rich and extra-buttery bread like brioche and challah, which gives it a really luxurious edge.
But today, we’re using old school, economical everyday plain white bread. 😇 Though I think you’ll agree there’s nothing economical about how this tastes!!!
What you need for Bread and Butter Pudding
Bread…butter… and just a few other things: eggs, milk, cream (or more milk), sugar (less than in most recipes you’ll find), plus sultanas or raisins, cinnamon and vanilla for flavour.
Best bread for bread and butter pudding
I think it’s better to use bread that hasn’t been pre-sliced because then you can cut or tear it into chunks so you get a better custardy texture inside and WAY better crunch on the surface — very appealing characteristics of a Bread and Butter Pudding that I deem company-worthy!
However, my recipe includes directions for the best way to layer pre-sliced bread as well.
As for what type of bread, it’s best to use a soft plain or sweet bread:
Plain white bread – sliced, unsliced, loaf, block, rolls, hot dog or hamburger buns
Raisin bread or other similar flavoured bread that will suit a sweet dessert
Buttery breads – like brioche and challah
Stale plain cake – I personally am not the type to leave leftover cake lying around until it becomes stale, but if you happen to, then by all means use it. Just be a bit more gentle when tossing in egg mixture
Not recommended / “unusual” results…..
Bread that is TOO stale – slightly stale bread is ideal (see recipe notes), but bread that’s so gone dry it crumbles into breadcrumbs when you crush it, or if it’s rock hard and you can’t tear it by hand, or so solid you can grate it into bread crumbs, it is no good. This is because once soaked in the egg mixture, it will disintegrate into breadcrumbs;
Very crusty and chewy artisan bread (like sourdough) – while it will work just fine, it will not be as soft and custardy. Mind you, the sourdough sold at grocery stores and everyday bakeries are not that crusty so will work fine, I am mostly referring to the more expensive (proper) sourdough;
Seeded and savoury flavoured breads – I’m not here to tell you how you should or should not flavour your bread and butter pudding, but I will say that using Cheese and Bacon Rolls might yield a somewhat odd result…😂
Heavy breads – Pumpernickel, dense ryes and the like …. obviously.
Today I’ve used a stale loaf of plain white cob bread that was intended for another recipe that never happened.
How to make Bread and Butter Pudding
Here’s how to make it:
Cut or tear bread into chunks;
Whisk wet ingredients and flavourings together;
Mix through bread gently – especially if using bread that’s not stale because it will disintegrate – then leave to soak for 3 minutes so the bread really absorbs all the flavour;
Transfer to baking dish, then drizzle with butter (because, after all, we are making a Bread and BUTTER Pudding!) which will make the top extra golden;
Bake 25 – 30 minutes until golden but still jiggly underneath when you poke it; and
Optional – brush with more butter to make it glisten and for extra buttery flavour.
Pre-sliced bread – the steps are a bit different because the slices are thinner so it’s better to butter then layer them, then pour over the custard mixture. I’ve included directions in the recipe notes.
It looks pretty unimpressive when you soak the bread in the egg mixture, and you will probably be dubious – I certainly was the first time I made this. But have faith! Because half an hour in the oven will transform THIS….
Golden and crusty on the surface, and beautifully custardy inside, once you start eating, it is impossible to stop!
Large one for sharing – or individual servings
For ease of preparation, I’ve made this in one big baking dish but you can certainly make individual ramekins if you’d like. That’s how it’s made at upscale bistros, and it plates up really nicely if you put the ramekin on a plate along with a little jug of sauce or a dish of ice cream.
If you make one large one, just leave it to rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. It will make it “set” slightly so you can cut neat slices rather than the bread pieces tumbling everywhere.
Also, a nice way to serve it is to cut square pieces and stack them on top of each other to make it look taller, which is how it’s pictured throughout this post.
Toppings for Bread and Butter Pudding
I intentionally make my Bread and Butter Pudding less sweet than most – I only use 1/2 cup of sugar compared to around 1 1/2 – 2 cups for the same quantity of bread in some versions – because my base assumption is that there WILL be toppings.
There’s plenty of options, and here are just a few ideas:
Ice cream – the contrast between creamy and cold against hot/crusty/custardy is just a match made in heaven;
Custard – rich and silky, I prefer using the pouring kind but the dolloping kind would be terrific too!
Cream or mascarpone
Strawberries and cream (YES!)
Maple syrup, golden syrup, honey
Chocolate sauce, strawberry, salted caramel or other sweet sauces
Fellow Bread and Butter Pudding fans! TELL ME – what is your favourite topping? Let’s round out the list!! – Nagi xx
Watch how to make it
Bread and Butter Pudding
- 8 heaped cups white bread, preferably slightly stale, cut into 2.5 cm / 1" cubes (see Note 1 if for pre-sliced bread)
- 1 cup sultanas or raisins (or more!)
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk (low or full fat, not zero fat)
- 1 cup heavy / thickened cream (or any other cream, Note 2 for more milk option)
- 3 tbsp / 40g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Finishes / Serving
- 30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted - for top pre baking
- 20g / 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted - for brushing post baking (optional)
- Icing sugar / powdered sugar, for dusting
- Ice cream, cream, custard, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, etc
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types)
- Egg Mixture: Place eggs in a large bowl, whisk briefly. Add remaining Egg Mixture ingredients and whisk.
- Soak Bread: Add bread and sultanas, briefly mix, then set aside for 3 minutes to allow egg mixture to soak through the bread.
- Transfer to baking dish: Pour into a baking dish (10 cup / 2.5 litre / 2.5 quart). If you have lots of sultanas on the surface, poke them below the surface (Note 3).
- Drizzle then bake: Drizzle over melted butter, then bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden on top and the inside is set but still slightly wobbly (poke to check).
- Brush with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp melted butter (optional), then dust with icing sugar.
- Serve - rest for a few ninutes, then serve immediately, with toppings of choice! My favourites are ice cream, custard and cream.
Originally published April 2017. Updated with sparkling new photos and video – because I had a disaster recipe filming week this week, needed something low stress to shoot to share today, and because I had a giant loaf of stale bread to use!
More cosy warm desserts
Life of Dozer
Yet another benefit of shaved-belly-Dozer……
…..less WATER SPRAY! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been splattered when I’m not suitable attired. At least I can enjoy 20% less splatter until his fur grows back!!!
And from the original publication date:
(And for once, he’s right. They were on sale. I stocked up!!!)