or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.
It’s traditional, it’s British and it takes everyday ingredients and turns them into something magic. Bread and Butter Pudding is a delightful baked dessert with a long history of satisfying sweet cravings and adding a little moment of bliss to people’s lives.
A quick guide to the long history of Bread and Butter Pudding
One of the earliest published recipes for bread and butter pudding can be found in Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife, first published in 1728.
Eliza Smith was an English cookery writer and her early recipe consisted of slices of bread soaked in warm milk or cream, mixed with sugar, nutmeg, and orange zest, and then baked until set.
Eliza Smith’s recipe played a significant role in popularising bread and butter pudding, and dire times and rationing helped cement its appeal – families would eagerly turn stale bread into a delightful and affordable treat, wasting nothing and creating something delicious out of humble ingredients.
The simplicity, accessibility and versatility of the dish means that it has an enduring popularity that not many other desserts can rival.
What is Bread and Butter Pudding?
To make Bread and Butter Pudding you take stale bread, butter it and pour over a custard mixture. It’s baked until set, and – amazingly – you end up with a dessert that truly is hard to beat. The contrast between the warm, custardy interior and the slightly crisp top is what makes it extra special.
Bread and Butter Pudding is a great example of resourceful cooking and minimising food waste.
The Recipe for Bread and Butter Pudding
This recipe for Bread and Butter pudding is my Nan Mac’s version.
The whole family has loved it for years, but my Dad loves it so much that he wrote out the ingredients himself years ago to ensure Mum made it just like her mum, Nan Mac.
This little record of the recipe is in short form and missing a couple of things, so keep scrolling for the full recipe.
Ingredients for Bread and Butter Pudding
One thing you might notice about this recipe is that it uses milk powder instead of milk and/or cream.
That’s right, my nan insisted you get a much better result, especially texturally, using milk powder.
Okay, so now that we’ve established that key feature of this recipe, here’s the full list of ingredients:
- bread slices (thicker, toast sliced)
- butter, softened
- sultanas (optional)
- milk powder
- vanilla extract
- boiling water
- ground nutmeg (optional).
Ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Bread and Butter Pudding
Start by pre-heating the oven to 190 degrees celsius/ 375 degrees fahrenheit.
Grease a 2 litre (approximately) baking dish with butter.
You’ll also need another slightly larger baking dish fir this recipe.
Butter your bread
Cut the crusts off the bread slices and cut each slice in half diagonally.
Butter both sides of the bread.
Arrange the slices and pour over the custard mixture
Arrange half the bread in the dish and sprinkle with half the sultanas.
Arrange the remaining bread on top and sprinkle with rest of the sultanas.
Whisk together the milk powder, sugar, vanilla, eggs and boiling water until frothy. Pour over the layered bread slices.
Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.
Baking your pudding
Place the baking dish in the larger baking dish and fill the larger dish with boiling water half way up the sides of the smaller baking dish.
Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and set.
Enjoying Bread and Butter Pudding
Serve your pudding warm, with ice cream or cream for added indulgence.
That’s my personal preference!
You can also eat it cold, dust with icing sugar, drizzle with chocolate, sprinkle with chopped nuts or serve with a fruit compote.
You can vary the recipe by:
- customising the bread – use brioche, croissants or hot cross buns for a richer dessert
- giving it a twist – you can incorporate different flavours (such as citrus zest) and spices (such as cinnamon or cardamom) to infuse the pudding with aromatic flavours, or add a layer of sliced bananas, berries, or a sprinkle of chocolate chips in place of sultanas.
Q. How long will it keep?
This pudding must be stored in the fridge and is best eaten within the first few days.
Q. Can you freeze bread and butter pudding?
Apparently you can.
I’ve never attempted this as it’s one of those things I just put together at the last moment and it gets gobbled down quickly.
Q. What is the best way to reheat the pudding?
Place in an oven, heated to 180°C, for 10-15 minutes. Cover with foil and then uncover a few minutes before you take it out. You can also reheat in the microwave.
Q. Do you have other recipes that use stale bread?
Q. Do you have any other pudding recipes?
Plenty! Find them all here.
Bread and Butter Pudding
- baking or casserole dish (2 litres, approximately)
- larger baking dish
- 8 slices of bread (thicker, toast sliced)
- 50 grams butter (softened, for easy spreading)
- 1/3 cup sultanas (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups milk powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celsius/ 375 degrees fahrenheit.
- Grease the baking dish with butter.
- Cut crusts off bread and slice each slice in half diagonally. Butter both sides of the bread.
- Arrange half the bread in the dish and sprinkle with half the sultanas. Arrange the remaining bread on top and sprinkle with rest of the sultanas.
- Whisk together the milk powder, sugar, vanilla, eggs and boiling water until frothy. Pour over the layered bread slices. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Place the baking dish in the larger baking dish and fill the larger dish with boiling water half way up the sides of the smaller baking dish.
- Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and set.