Make 4AM Bread Pudding

Why do I call this “4AM bread pudding?”

Because I’m up at 4AM writing. This makes it convenient for me to pop things in the oven and eat breakfast hot and fresh. The secret is prepping the dough, mix, or batter the night before so all I have to do is toss it in the oven while I make my coffee. Then, I relax and let the stove serve me like I’m a queen.

I do this with my “Daily bread” dough, I have the dough mixed (this takes 5 minutes) and rising before bed.All I have to do is throw it in the oven and my house smells amazing before I run out the door to school–with freshly baked and buttered bread in hand.

Bread pudding’s one of those prep-ahead recipes, and it keeps me from wasting. I like to think of it as bread’s savior. When I bake fresh bread, once in a while I get to the stale end. I’m a big fan of recycled food–I’ll take any leftover I can and make it into something else that you’ll never suspect was headed for the trash.

Try this in any variation, and you’ll be in love, too. Two pro tips: Save scraps of bread from loaf ends and other bread products in the freezer until you have enough for a good bread pudding. Any leftover hamburger bun or day-old stale loaf no one wants to eat will be great for this purpose.

Second, mix this up at night and leave it in an oven-proof dish in your fridge, then all you need to do is set the oven for 350 degrees and pop it in while you’re drinking your coffee and trying to get everyone ready for work and school.

4AM Bread Pudding Recipe


  • leftover bread or rolls–enough to fill your baking dish 3/4 full
  • milk, cream, or non-dairy milk like almond milk or soy (about 2 cups depending on the size of your dish. I use some of each)
  • Something sweet. I often use 1/4 cup of maple and 1/4 cup brown sugar, but I often use local honey as well. Regular sugar works. Make this as sweet as you want!
  • The options: Try using vanilla, cinnamon, or even mixing in a half-can of pumpkin. You can use berries, cut up apples, or reconstitute cocoa powder into a sauce separately, and mix that in, too.  One more set of options is to skip the fruits and sweets and mix in sauteéd veggies and cheese and make this a savory breakfast dish.
  • Eggs. The number is optional. Standard recipes call for two, but I used 6 today to raise the protein level. I have chickens.


  1. Soak the bread in the the liquid. It should be fairly liquidy because it’ll cook up and absorb.
  2. Add all the optional ingredients. Try many flavors of this over time!
  3. Scramble in the eggs and mix well.
  4. Put the mixture in your baking pan. Don’t overfill–it’ll rise and spill over if you do.
  5. Pop in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Cooking time depends on the size of of the baking dish.
  6. Serve warm or cold. You can also freeze portions for another day.

Want to waste less?

Use this same principal to refresh stale-ish cakes or quickbreads, too. Add milk and eggs, bake until the eggs are set, and you’re golden. You’ve got a custardy pudding.

Want to look fancy?

Instead of putting this in a baking dish, put any of these in wide-mouth Mason jars or Weck mold jars. Bake a little less since each pudding is smaller, and top with homemade whipped cream (except for savory pudding–that would be gross. Go with melted cheese on top of a savory one).

You’ve got a Martha Stewart approved dish!