I bought a gorgeous loaf of sourdough for another recipe, but before I had the chance to use it, my entire family contracted this nasty, week-long cold/flu bug. Rather than letting a stale loaf of bread go to waste, the only sensible option was to find a recipe that called for crusty bread.
My initial thought was to make a stuffing, but who eats stuffing in January? I contemplated simply slicing it and using our long-lost griddle to fry up some thick French toast. But I’ve never made bread pudding before, so I thought it would be a fun weekend challenge.

The original recipe was fairly basic and straight forward, so I decided to add apples, pecans for texture, and additional spices to really jazz up the flavor. This recipe was referred to as a baked French toast casserole, but suggested a shorter cooking time for bread pudding.
I let mine soak over night, so most of the custard was absorbed before I baked this, leaving me with a drier and denser bread pudding, the perfect texture, in my opinion.



  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (or whatever mild flavor)
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves (optional)
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 to 3 apples, peeled and diced (I used granny smith)


  • Grease your preferred dish(es) with butter. I used a 9×9 and individual ramekins, because I wanted some individual servings. Recipe makes enough to fill a 9 x 13-inch dish.
  • Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes; evenly distribute in the baking pan(s).
  • In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread.
  • Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight so the bread has time to absorb the custard. Make sure to mix the bread a few times during the waiting time to make sure all of the bread absorbs custard evenly.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • To prepare the topping, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles.
  • Remove casserole from the fridge and top with the diced apple and pecans. Mix well to incorporate the apples and pecans into the bread and custard mixture.  For a denser bread pudding, with a spoon, press down on the bread mixture to flatten and create an even surface on the top. For a fluffier finish, skip the flattening step.
  • Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.
  • Bake for 45 minutes for a softer or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm. Top with powdered sugar, sauce or ice cream of your choice.