Heather Rode enjoys photography, baking, antiques, and hair care.
Do You Like Bread Pudding?
My husband doesn't like bread pudding at all. I love it—so much in fact that I've been known to make it twice in the same week. I like to make it a few different ways. My husband loves this version and always has second helping. If you're not a bread pudding fan, because of the goopy texture it can have, try having it this way. You might love it. It has a texture similar to fruit cake.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Cools for: 30 mins
Chill in frig for: 4 hours or overnight
The Perfect Bread Makes the Perfect Bread Pudding
There is a bit of science to making a great bread pudding, but you don't have to be a scientist. The success to this dessert is in the bread. You don't want to use fresh bread. Using the right bread at the right time is so important because it needs to successfully absorb the pudding ingredients. If it's too fresh, it will be moist and unable to fully absorb the pudding sauce. The drier the bread is, the better. Think of a sponge. It can't slurp up any water if it's already soaked full, but a bone-dry sponge will certainly do the trick. The same applies to this recipe.
What Bread to Use?
I use a crusty ciabatta baguette in another recipe (see link below), and it always comes out fabulous. The ciabatta slices give the top of the dessert a very charming appeal. For this version though, I was looking to develop more flavor but without any extra work. I used a loaf of cinnamon raisin Wonder bread. This bread comes double wrapped and very moist—the exact opposite of what you need. I pre-chopped this bread two days in advance and let it dry out. I used the entire loaf (a sixteen-ounce package which is pre-sliced). Cut the slices in thirds and then those thirds into quarters with a bread knife (each slice will yield 12 pieces now). You can do a few slices at a time and it doesn't have to be perfect. I put the bread chunks into a large mixing bowl, covered with a tea towel and let sit for two days.
Make sure none of your chunks are still stuck together from the cutting process because this can keep them moist.
- 1 loaf (16 oz) cinnamon raisin bread, cut into smaller pieces
- 4 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract or flavor
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups milk
- cinnamon, for sprinkling
- 1 cup cool whip, (optional)
- 1 tablespoon grenadine, (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Grease two 9" baking pans.
- Take your dried out and pre-cut cinnamon raisin bread and distribute half into each pan. The bread must not be moist, read above. Arrange and rearrange pieces of bread where necessary to keep your display looking even and attractive. This will also ensure even baking.
- In mixing bowl, combine melted butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, eggs, and mix very well. Pour half into each baking pan, covering bread pieces. Sprinkle tops of cakes with cinnamon.
- Allow pans to sit for 10 minutes. This step is important (as important as the bread itself) as the dry bread needs time to absorb your pudding mix before it begins baking.
- After 10 minutes, place both pans in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Use a toothpick or knife to test centers and ensure baking is complete. Cool for at least 30 minutes. This step is also important. Don't skip it.
- Optional: Mix approximately 1 cup of cool whip with 1 tablespoon of grenadine (you can go more or less on either). This yummy "glue" holds your layers together and looks pretty.
- Place first layer on cake stand or dish and frost top (I didn't go to the edges). Place second cake directly on top. Chill in fridge overnight.
Bread Pudding Baking Tips
- Don't worry if it looks like your dessert isn't "doing anything" for the first 30-40 minutes. It might seem like it's just sitting there—a bunch of bread in liquid. About half-way through, you'll notice your dessert expand, start to boil, and really begin to evolve into more than just bread and liquid.
- Your cake(s) will rise and grow out of the pan a little. As soon as you remove them from the oven, they'll deflate, so be prepared for it and allow them to cool for the entire 30 minutes. This helps them set.
If you love raisins in your bread pudding, this recipe saves you the step of adding them. The main reason I use this bread and love this dessert is because the final result tastes wonderful. It makes sense that a flavored bread would add so much more depth and developed flavor to a bread pudding than just a plain bread. Of course, you can achieve this by adding other ingredients, but it's a time- and step-saver for sure. I use this bread when I'm feeling like a lazy baker and in the end my laziness is rewarded with a delicious treat!
More Recipes from the Kitchen of Heather Says
- Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
Turn a classic sugar cookie dough recipe into a colorful work of art. These stained glass cookies are pleasing to the eye and tummy! A how-to with pics.
- Cherry Craisin Oat Bars
A healthy snack I whipped up that tastes good and is good for you. These bars are faster to make and yummier than cookies or cupcakes.
- Ciabatta Bread Pudding
You can't make a perfect bread pudding without the perfect bread-- and a days-old ciabatta baguette lends itself nicely to this long-loved dessert. This recipe is easy to make, easier to eat and especially easy on your wallet. A how-to with pics.
Anita Hasch on December 27, 2017:
These recipes look super delicious. Will certainly try, thank you for sharing.
Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on January 02, 2016:
Huge congratulations on hub of the Day Heather! Looks delicious! Wonder if it would freeze? I need ways to 'hide' treats so hubby and I do not eat too much at one time!
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 02, 2016:
Congratulations for HOTD.
I love bread pudding, will certainly be making this one, I usually make it with plain bread, have never tried Cinnamon Raisin Bread, this recipe will not require any fruit in it as it's already there. Thanks.
RTalloni on January 02, 2016:
Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this yum looking recipe!
Geri McClymont on January 02, 2016:
mmm... this looks exquisite. I also like that it only requires 1/3 cup of sugar. I have never used grenadine but looks like it's optional. Can't wait to try it this week!
moonlake from America on January 02, 2016:
I wish I had seen this three years ago. My husband loved bread pudding I am not a fan but might like this recipe. Love your photos and congratulations on HOTD.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 02, 2016:
Heather, I haven't had bread pudding in ages! I would love to try out your recipe this year and give it a go. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on this useful HOTD!
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on May 31, 2013:
Sounds absolutely wonderful. What a great bread to use to make Bread Pudding. SHARING.
maryhoneybee from Richmond, Virginia on June 28, 2012:
This recipe brings together my two favorite things: bread and dessert. Sounds/looks absolutely delicious! The trick for me is seeing if vegan substitute ingredients would make it turn out the same way. May try to see! Voted up (they should have a "delicious" button as well).
kelleyward on June 06, 2012:
Heathersays, as always this is a fantastic looking recipe with lots of beautiful pictures! Useful and awesome! Take care, Kelley
Claudia Tello from Mexico on June 06, 2012:
If there still was a "vote-up" option I would certainly vote this up (voted awesome instead). I like the way you presented this recipe and your photos are quite unique. I loved the one with the ingredients in measuring devices.
I´d make this bread pudding without the coolwhip+granadine, just one big layer of cinnamon bread.
Laura L Scotty from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 06, 2012:
Applause for using the already made cinnamon breads in your recipe. I never thought of it and I love bread pudding.
Carmen Beth on June 06, 2012:
I love cinnamon and bread pudding, and it's such a great idea to use flavored bread to make bread puddings. Nice recipe here and lovely pictures too. Useful and awesome.