My Mom always used to make bread pudding and I loved it. It's best made with a heavier textured bread like raisin cinnamon bread, brioche, or a Christmas bread. You may need to add extra cinnamon and raisins depending what the bread has in it. I love to watch it puff up in the oven. It will not stay totally puffed up but it will still be pretty. I usually like it for breakfast just plain, but some use buttery maple syrup. It can be served as dessert with hot buttered rum sauce. It looks fabulous in a stemmed glass with sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3/4 to 1 loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread, or Cinnamon Raisin Bread, preferably uncut. If your bread is to fresh your bread pudding can be too soggy.
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
more raisins if needed
Slice bread into thick slices and smear with butter, then cute into squares, if it's soft sometimes you can tear it apart. Lay in 13X9 pyrex that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
In separate bowl whisk eggs and milk together. Add vanilla and whisk. Pour evenly over bread. Sprinkle with raisins and then cinnamon and sugar.
Let sit for 10 minutes so the egg mixture can soak into the bread.
Bake in preheated oven for about 40 to 45 minutes depending on your oven. It will puff up and get golden brown. Every oven is different so watch it so it doesn't get overly brown.
If you choose to serve it with Hot Buttered Rum Sauce:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons rum
Melt cream, sugar and butter in medium sauce pan over LOW heat. Do not boil. When sugar is dissolved add 1 1/2 tablespoons rum.
Drizzle warm sauce over each serving of bread pudding just before serving.