This Breakfast Treat Makes The Best Bread Pudding Base

Bread pudding is a classic dish but it doesn't have to be predictable. Although it typically consists of stale bread and a custard made with sugar, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon, and raisins, other ingredients like vanilla and bourbon can be added for an upgraded taste. And you don't have to stop there. In addition to swapping out the standard French bread or brioche in lieu of canned cinnamon rolls, you could opt for a base made from a beloved breakfast staple: French toast.

French toast is known for its decadence and dessert-like qualities, which are attained by the eggs, vanilla, and sugar that coat the bread before it's toasted up on the stove; it boasts a cooking process quite similar to that of making bread pudding, making it an easy substitute. While Tasting Table's recipe for rich bread pudding calls for whole wheat bread, the loaf can be swapped with French toast before it's shredded and added to the other ingredients — raisins, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg — and doused in milk and cream.

Leaning into bread pudding's French toast base

Once you've created the French toast base for your bread pudding, continue to let your creative juices flow with additional ingredients and toppings that tend to go well with the breakfast dish. You could swirl some icing, syrup, or caramel through your mixture for added sweetness and top the dish with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or fresh raspberries and blackberries. If you want a more dessert-like presentation, think ice cream, whipped cream, and sauces like chocolate or strawberry.

Other pairings that could work for your French toast bread pudding are bananas and pecans, cream cheese and strawberries, peaches and almonds, or blueberries and jam. You could also team your bananas with Nutella hazelnut spread. 

If you like the idea of switching up your bread pudding recipe but don't want to take the French toast approach, there are plenty of other breads to consider. Among them are challah, sourdough, and Hawaiian rolls. Additionally, you could kill two birds with one stone and swap in raisin bread.