HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Most custardy moist bread pudding?

I've got a nice leftover challah and want to use it up in a bread pudding.

Anyone have a "northeast diner style" super-custardy recipe that still calls for plenty of bread? Not interested in the bready NO-style relying on sauce on top.

I've seen many recipes around but it's really hard to tell which ones are super-moist/pudding-like.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Take a look at this site devoted to bread puddings....have fun!!!


    3 Replies
    1. re: ChowFun_derek

      Not sure if that site used to be useful, but right now all I get are weird ebay listings and links to random searches.

      1. re: JugglerDave

        yep..very changed...sorry about that...pity

        1. re: JugglerDave

          Yep, a worthless site now, don't bother.

      2. I would use the recipe for "Coach House Bread Pudding". There is probably twice the custard to bread. It is just sliced buttered white or challah bread layered in a gratin dish, then cover in a custard mixture and baked in a water bath. When done, sprinkle with powdered sugar and run under the broiler to brown and crisp the top. There are versions of this recipe in many cookbooks. If you need one, I can post mine.

        1. This pumpkin bread pudding is from a very old Martha Stewart magazine- I make it often and like it because it is not complicated and is moist and delicious and uses ingredients I usually have around
          Preheat oven to 350. Butter 6-10 oz ramekins with unsalted butter and sprinkle each with 1 tbsp dark brown sugar.

          Place one cup of raisins in bowl and cover with 1/3 cup bourbon and 1/3 cup hot water (or omite bourbon and double hot water). Soak until plump about 20 min, then drain.

          In a large bowl whisk together
          1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
          4 large eggs
          1 cup sugar
          1 1/2 cups milk
          2 tsp vanilla
          1 tsp ground cinnamon
          1 tsp ground ginger
          1/4 tsp allspice
          pinch of salt.

          Cut up one 12 oz day old loaf of brioche or challah bread into 3/4 inch cubes. Toss bread cubes in custard and let stand a few minutes. Fold in raisins. Divide among prepared dishes , pressing down slightly.
          Bake at 350 until center is set about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Unmold upside down on plates and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
          This is great with vanilla ice cream or homemade corn, vanilla or pumpkin icecream.

          1 Reply
          1. re: emilief

            That sounds fantastic. I would like to make this in one big pan. Anyone have an idea of what that would do to the cooking time? And also what size pan would be appropriate...

          2. Last time I made bread pudding, I used a suggestion I read here. I soaked the bread in buttermilk overnight before making the dish. Made a big difference.

            1. UPDATE: last night I made the bread pudding. I used a recipe I found by googling, "Cucina's Restaurant Custard Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce".

              I doubled the recipe; that used up about 4/5 of the large Challah I had, and I used brown sugar instead of plain sugar, and added some spicing, a touch of cardomon, dried lemon zest from Pensey's and a touch of cinnamon.

              The "caramel sauce" was a little bit of a disaster of my own doing; it called for 1 cup of sugar (carmelized) and 2 cups of heavy cream. Well, I decided to use instead 1 cup of milk and a TB of butter . It just wasn't very thick, so I did a little cornstarch magic and got some slightly thicker sauce but still with a starchy edge to it. The flavor was fantastic though, and on the pudding it went very well and the starchiness almost disappeared.

              The BP itself was great, exactly what I was looking for.

              Thanks for all the suggestions.

              1. Even though you said you don't want NO-style pudding, here's what I learned from chef Horst Pfeiffer when I worked for Bella Luna Restaurant in that city: Bread pudding is about the custard, not about the bread. Don't add too much bread. There should be a little space between the cubes or chunks of bread when you put it all in the pan. The more bread you use, the drier the pudding will be.

                Sarah C

                1 Reply
                1. re: kittyfood

                  Agree. I make lots of bread puddings. Too much bread and it tastes like something you get at a bad buffet restaurant. Great sauces are also key.

                2. If you want something incredibly decadent, go for the Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Pecan Caramel Sauce. It's wonderful. Here's the link on epicurious:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: susan1353

                    Now THAT sounds delicious! I'll have to try it and let you know how it turns out.


                  2. Here's a recipe that my mother got from a woman in North Carolina. The overnight soaking is the key. It works equally well with any kind of milk. I've used 1% in desperation and it was fine. It's good even without spices!

                    Mary Allen's Bread Pudding

                    1 tablespoon melted butter
                    2 cups half and half or 2 1/2 milk
                    1 cup sugar
                    3 lightly beaten eggs
                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                    8 slices firm textured white bread or 7 oz french bread

                    Spread butter in a 2 quart square baking dish, coating bottom. In a large bowl, mix half and half (or milk), sugar, eggs and vanilla. Tear bread into pieces, about 4 cups. Add bread to mix. Stir gently to combine. Pour into baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 2 to 24 hours.

                    Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven 30 -35 minutes until knife comes out clean.

                    1. The Tartine recipe is extremely custardy. I think you could make any recipe super custardy by adjusting the radio of custard to bread. Let the bread soak up the custard, then top off with even more custard. Also, if you use a taller pan rather than a shallow one, you will have more of the soft filling and less of the crunchy bread topping.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Anya L

                        I've had bread pudding twice at Tartine's ..tasty enough, but I wouldn't define it as 'custardy' at all..
                        It's also not 'firm'...just somewhere in the nether world in between.....
                        I wonder if the recipe is any different from the Tartine product ..on site?

                        1. re: ChowFun_derek

                          The recipe has a very high proportion of custard to bread, and the bread is very soft (brioche), so to me it was very custardy, or at least mine came out that way. Perhaps I used less bread than they use at Tartine. I have actually never had the bread pudding there (I keep meaning to, but am always distracted by the morning buns), but it does appear more bready (yet very soft) than my homemade version.

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                            The bread pudding at Tartine is very hit or miss for me. I blame their love of being "rustic" rather than machinelike in precision. The result is sometimes that part of the bread pudding has giant chunks of custard, and some has more bread. I always want to takk the server to dig out the custard for me. Grrrr

                        2. OP's question solved, but just have to mention this wonderful and decadent White Chocolate Bread Pudding from Todd English's The Fig's TAble. I like it with raspberry puree. Don't worry if you like white chocolate or not--it's really not about that.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: coconutz

                            I worked in a restaurant whose signature dessert was white chocolate bread pudding. They served it with creme anglaise (sp?) and macerated berries. Absolutely decadent and rich.

                            Wish I lived a little closer now...

                          2. Thanks for the recipe..I will DEFINITELY give it a try!

                            1. Here's another that I just ran across, chef especially notes that it is designed to be custardy--"I love custards and am often disappointed by bread puddings with too much bread and not enough pudding." From Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques


                              9 Replies
                              1. re: coconutz

                                Thanks for this recipe..it is now in 'memory'..
                                Interesting I just saw Suzanne Goin on Top Chef last night (she was a guest judge) and was quite taken with her comments...

                                1. re: coconutz

                                  I made Suzanne Goin's recipe linked above and my custard curdled. I am unsure of why it curdled. I will provide some details here in hope that someone can help me diagnose the issue.

                                  Here are some differences and details of my approach:

                                  1) I buttered the 9x9 pan. The recipe does not instruct to butter the pan.
                                  2) I used large eggs, not extra large.
                                  3) I used whole milk in place of heavy cream.
                                  4) I didn't sprinkle granulated sugar and caramelize the top.
                                  5) I didn't use brioche or white bread. I used a day old naturally leavened cranberry pecan loaf from my local breadery with ingredients: bread flour, whole wheat flour, sweetened dried cranberries, pecans, water, sea salt
                                  6) The enclosing pan with the water bath somewhat snugly fit the 9x9 pan.
                                  7) I soaked the bread pudding overnight.
                                  8) I baked an extra 5 minutes to "make up" for chilling the bread pudding.
                                  9) When I cooled the bread pudding, for the first 10 minutes I left it in the water bath.

                                  1. re: bmorecupcake

                                    A baked custard (which is what you made) curdle or break if cooked too long. I suspect your extra 5 minutes, plus the 10 in the water bath are to blame. The snug water bath might also be at fault, by not providing enough of a thermal damper.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Thanks for the reply.

                                      Also, I can't find any explanation for why water baths are only half way up the pan and not more. Anyone know the reason?

                                        1. re: coll

                                          I see, so the water doesn't get into the final product. So obvious. Thanks!

                                    2. re: bmorecupcake

                                      Using milk instead of cream can also cause curdling - the fat in cream sort of "insulates" the proteins and keeps them from curdling. The same thing can happen if you use milk (or not enough fat) in baked mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, etc.

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        Doesn't cream itself have "curdling properties"? When heating cream on the stove, I feel like it will curdle a lot quicker than if I am heating milk.

                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                          No, heavy cream (35% fat) doesn't curdle when heated - you can boil it and reduce it without fear. It will curdle in the presence of acid, but otherwise you're safe. Perhaps the cream you've heated has been "light" cream or something? Here's a thread on the subject:


                                  2. Gee, I was all excited to offer my recipe for "Custard Bread Pudding," but now that I see the OP is from 2006, I wonder if anyone will be interested.

                                    I got this from a magazine when we lived in California some years ago, so I'm guessing it may have been Sunset Magazine as they always had good recipes. I absolutely loved it because I'm all about the custard, but haven't made it in years since there are only two of us.

                                    Custard Bread Pudding

                                    6 c whole milk (I made with 1% and it worked fine)
                                    5 slices firm white bread
                                    2 T butter or marg.
                                    6 large eggs
                                    1 cup sugar
                                    1 T vanilla
                                    1/2 tsp salt
                                    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or to taste)
                                    (I have a note that I added golden raisins, but no amount given)

                                    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13x9 glass baking dish. In 2qt saucepan heat milk just to boiling over medium-high heat. Meanwhile toast bread. Spread butter on 1 side of the slices; cut each diagonally into quarters. In medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until blended. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture until well combined. Pour custard into baking dish. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on top of custard; sprinkle with nutmeg. Set baking dish in large (11.5x17) roasting pan, plan pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into pan to come halfway up side of baking dish. Bake custart 50-60 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer baking dish to wire rack; let stand 15 min. to cool before serving. (Or cover and refrigerate to serve later.)

                                    I remember that the photo from the magazine looked really appealing because the diagonally-cut bread gave a nice golden stained-glass look on top.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Thanks4Food

                                      By firm white bread, do you mean day old bread or a bread that is firm to begin with?

                                      1. re: bmorecupcake

                                        Sorry to jump in here....but I use challah bread that is sort of stale, to make it a little fancy. Same with french toast if I'm thinking ahead.

                                        Sunset Magazine does have the best recipes, I collect their paperback cookbooks at local thrift shops. Usually a buck each.

                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                          Well, since I got the recipe from a magazine, it's not really what I mean but what they meant. I probably used some Pepperidge Farm "Farmhouse" white bread since my husband likes it and it's got more body than the average packaged sandwich bread.

                                          1. re: Thanks4Food

                                            Thanks again for the recipe. Made this tonight and it was quite good. Unlike most recipes that call for too much bread, this one needs more bread. I would say at least 6 slices instead of 5.

                                            A clear syrup formed "underneath" the custard. (Not sure how to describe it actually.) Is that normal?

                                            Also, anyone know what would be the significance of warming the milk over medium-high heat versus, say, medium-low heat?

                                      2. Replace the bread with croissants.

                                        I know it sounds decadent, but it's worth it. This is how my mom made it and while I like regular bread pudding, I can't really regard it as the same thing my mom made.

                                        It's much more custardy b/c the croissants are so much lighter than bread, so you get better absorption and distribution. They really dissolve into the custard.