Are you a fan of rich, indulgent, and wonderfully creamy food? This Paula Deen bread pudding is for you.
Bread pudding is one of those unicorn dishes you can serve for breakfast or brunch. Or even dinner!
Bread pudding is like French toast, only it’s baked and easier to adjust. But it has many of the same elements, like sweet custard and tender bread.
For example, have you ever tried bread pudding with dark chocolate chips and banana slices? How about white chocolate and raspberries?
Man, I’m getting hungry. Aren’t you? Let’s get this bread pudding in the oven!
What Is Bread Pudding?
Bread pudding is a rich, creamy baked dish featuring stale bread, eggs, milk, and sugar.
Typically, you soak the bread overnight in sweet custard before baking until golden and fluffy.
You can also serve it savory, with cheese, meats, and vegetables.
This simple yet scrumptious dish was first made to use up stale bread. Now you see people leaving fresh bread out to dry- just so they can make it!
Got a craving for bread pudding but don’t have stale bread? No worries! Try chopping fresh bread and baking it to dry it out.
Fresh bread would work in a pinch. But the pudding will be much softer and maybe even mushy. Dry bread is best because it can soak up the custard.
Once the bread is ready, you can make this pudding your own! Try adding bourbon, warm spices, fruit, or chocolate. I love this banana bread pudding.
But you cannot go wrong sticking with this Paula Deen bread pudding. It is perfect on its own.
How to Make Paula Deen’s Bread Pudding
You only need a handful of pantry staples to make Paula Deen’s bread pudding. And about 15 minutes of your time.
Note: Want to serve this as an indulgent breakfast or brunch option? I suggest making it the night before. But don’t bake it yet. Cover it, and leave it in the fridge overnight.
1. Get the bread ready.
Start by cubing the bread. As mentioned, it should be dry and stale. One to two days old should be enough.
(Or you can bake for a few minutes to help it dry.)
Add the bread cubes to a greased baking dish. I like to use butter to add to the richness.
Ideally, use a casserole dish that’s not too deep. Otherwise, the top will burn before the custard in the middle can set.
2. Make the custard.
Add the eggs to a medium-to-large-sized bowl. Whisk the eggs a little to break the yolks and whites. Then, add the sugar and whisk until it is incorporated.
Finally, whisk the milk into the eggs, followed by the vanilla. You can use cream, too, if you prefer.
Pour the sweet custard over the bread. Gently press the top so it sits under the liquid and can absorb.
3. Make the pecan topping.
Now, you need to make the pecan topping. It is a simple blend of brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
I suggest you do this with your fingers and don’t worry about it being perfect. Everything will melt and caramelize in the oven, anyway.
If you need to bake this right away, sprinkle the pecans over the top.
But if you leave it overnight to soak, set the topping aside in the fridge. Add it once it is time to bake.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177°C) for 30-45 minutes. It’s ready when the top is golden, and the middle springs back when you press it.
Remove the pudding from the oven. Residual heat will continue to cook the pudding for a few minutes.
Serve with sweet brandy sauce, melted chocolate, or even ice cream!
What Is The Best Bread for Bread Pudding?
The best bread for bread pudding includes brioche and challah. But any mild, sturdy loaf will work.
French baguettes would be excellent, as would a Pullman loaf. It should be a whole loaf you cut into cubes. Most pre-sliced loaves are too thin.
Make sure the bread is a day or two old.
I like to use brioche because it’s an enriched bread (it’s made with eggs and butter). That added flavor makes the bread pudding extra indulgent.
Unless you’re making savory bread pudding, stay away from anything seeded or sour.
Tips & Tricks
Are you worried the bread is not stale enough? Panicking that the middle will not set?
Do not worry; this recipe is crazy easy! Plus, I have a few tips and tricks to keep you on track:
- Chop fresh bread into cubes and either bake until golden. Or leave them out overnight to dry.
- Stale bread is your best friend for this recipe. But always ensure it is not moldy.
- Use brown sugar for a caramel finish.
- Try adding raisins to the mix to plump up as the mixture sits.
- Leave the bread pudding to sit before baking. For at least a few hours-overnight if possible.
- Remove the dish from the fridge about 30 minutes before it goes into the oven.
- Use whole milk or a mix of milk and cream for extra decadence.
- Make it extra sinful! I love adding orange zest and dark chocolate chips.
How to Make Paula Deen’s Bread Pudding
This recipe is enough for 15 servings. If you have time, cube the bread the night before. And leave it out, uncovered, to dry.
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