When it comes to pudding, the world really is your oyster! Whether it’s sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fudge pudding, sponge pudding…or, one of the most commonly loved puddings – bread pudding!
With a deliciously fluffy texture and crispy outer layer, bread pudding really is a crowd pleaser. Everyone loves bread, everyone loves pudding, so what’s not to love?
The milky, warming flavor and feel of bread pudding is a home comfort to many, but is also loved by people of just about every age!
Not only does it taste wonderful, but bread pudding is a great way to use up leftover bread without requiring too many other ingredients or effort.
So, it is a great way to use up leftover bread, but what happens if you have leftover pudding? We are all guilty of the typical ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’ saying, so ending up with leftover pudding isn’t often unexpected.
Today I am going to tell you the best way to store your bread pudding to keep it as fresh and as moist for as long as possible, but also the best way to eat it after it has been stored!
What is Bread Pudding?
Before we get into the best ways of storing and reheating bread pudding, it is a good idea to understand just what bread pudding is, and the ingredients that are used to make it.
Bread pudding is a traditional dessert, most commonly eaten in the United Kingdom. And it is often referred to as bread and butter pudding. It is made simply by using bread and custard, and then it is baked.
Of course, like any recipe, people have developed their own versions and have experimented with various fruits, spices and chocolate to jazz it up a bit. But traditionally it is a very simple and easy recipe with amazing results.
Requiring only bread, eggs, milk, vanilla essence, and sugar, it is a fantastic last minute pudding which requires very little time and very little attention.
The key to getting any bread pudding correct, is ensuring you have the right bread-to-custard ratio. Too much bread and your pudding will be dry, too much custard and you won’t even notice the bread in there.
How to Make Bread Pudding
As mentioned, making your own can be really simple. Understanding how it is made can help to understand why it needs to be stored certain ways because not only do some ingredients go bad quicker than others, but certain recipes can dry out a lot quicker than others too.
Below is the list of ingredients you will need:
- 1 loaf of stale bread (cubed in to small pieces)
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
To make this bread pudding recipe:
- Preheat your oven to 350F and whilst this is heating up, apply a coat of butter on a baking dish. Meanwhile, soak your raisins in some warm water to help soften them up. Then go on to place the cubed bread pieces into your dish and evenly spread them out.
- Separately, take a large mixing bowl and beat the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until they combine nicely and the spices are well mixed in. Take this mixture and pour it over the bread in the dish and make sure all of the bread is properly covered.
- Drain your raisins and evenly sprinkle them over the top of the mixture and allow it to all rest and soak up the sauce for around 15 minutes. After this, you can place some small cubes of butter along the top of the bread and mix.
- Pop this in the oven and bake the pudding until the top becomes crispy and darker in color. This will probably take around 45 minutes but it is good to check on it every now and then.
- Once your pudding is finished it is ready to serve! It can be nice to serve with some fresh fruit or a sprinkle of chocolate!
How to Store Bread Pudding
Once you have made your bread pudding, it is likely you may have some leftovers, unless you are cooking for a number of people.
Bread pudding is usually okay if left for a couple of hours after baking. But after this you will need to make sure you store it correctly. This is because the egg and the milk may start to go bad if left at room temperature, as they would if they were left cooked in any other way.
If this is the case then there are a few ways you can store it so that you don’t let it go to waste.
Can Bread Pudding be Refrigerated?
In short, yes. You can refrigerate your bread pudding. Just ensure it is stored properly so that it can continue to be enjoyed.
You should store your bread pudding in an airtight container and then refrigerate it. If not, the bread, combined with the milk, will begin to go moldy very quickly.
Alternatively, you can tightly wrap your bread pudding in gallon-type paper and ensure no air can go inside. This will help to keep it fresh. Any air will help develop and spread any mold that may begin to form.
Try to store your pudding away from other products in the fridge. The bitter or salty foods in the fridge can affect the flavor of your bread pudding and it may end up tasting weird if it is not isolated in the refrigerator.
Once it is stored correctly, it should last for another two days. However, after two days your pudding is most likely going to be ready for the trash if you want to avoid eating it once it has gone bad.
If stored correctly, the tightness of the packaging may actually help lock the flavor in. You may even find your pudding develops an even sweeter taste than when it was first baked and enjoyed!
Can Bread Pudding be Stored in the Freezer?
If you are looking to keep your bread pudding for longer than two days, you can choose to freeze it instead. Again, this needs to be done properly to ensure it is safe to eat.
Firstly, when storing in the freezer you need to make sure the bread pudding has cooled down to room temperature before putting it in the freezer. The sudden change of temperature can cause rapid mold growth.
Additionally, if you have made a sauce for the pudding, this should be frozen separately from the bread pudding in a different container.
It is also important to remember that the pudding will slightly expand as it freezes. And so it is important to leave room for this to happen so that it does not end up cracking the container.
It is also a good idea to freeze the pudding in smaller portions and in separate containers, if possible. This helps the bread pudding to freeze more evenly and also faster. It also means when it comes to thawing it and enjoying it, it will defrost quicker and more easily.
If you are using a plastic wrap, you should also use an aluminum foil as this will help to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can use a freezer-safe storage food containers, which will also ensure it is airtight.
A nice idea is to also label the portions with the date of which you freeze them. The bread pudding should be safe for up to three months, but after this time you should consider getting rid of it. Three months can make it easy to forget how long it has been there, so by labeling with the date it can avoid you eating it once it has gone bad.
If you have already poured the sauce on the bread pudding, it is recommended to refrigerate and consume within a couple of days. Freezing bread pudding with sauce may go very soggy once you begin to defrost it.
How to Reheat Bread Pudding
Once you have successfully stored your bread pudding, the next stage is understanding how to correctly reheat it once you decide to go back to it.
There are, in fact, multiple ways to reheat your bread pudding. It is important to make sure you always thaw your bread pudding if you are reheating it from frozen. This means that reheating it from frozen is exactly the same as from refrigerating, so long as it has completely thawed.
To thaw your frozen bread pudding, you simply need to leave it at room temperature. Allow it to slowly and evenly defrost.
Similarly, once removing it from the refrigerator, you should also allow the bread pudding to reach room temperature before you consider heating it up to eat.
Once your bread pudding is at room temperature, you can choose to add your sauce. I prefer to wait until the pudding is hot before adding the sauce but this is entirely down to preference. Allowing the pudding to reach room temperature first means that when it reheats it will heat up a lot more evenly. This method also reduces the chance of any temperature shocks.
Reheating Bread Pudding in the Oven
For best results, preheat your oven to 350F. Then pop in your bread pudding for around 10 to 15 minutes. If you keep your bread pudding covered with some aluminum foil, this will help to lock in any liquid. This will keep your bread pudding nice and moist. It may end up quite dry when reheating if it is not covered correctly.
For a crisper top, you can keep the bread pudding covered. Then remove the cover for the last couple of minutes. This means the moisture will be locked in but will allow for the top to crisp up right before the end.
Using the oven to reheat your bread pudding means that you are maintaining all of the original qualities of when it was first prepared – this gives the most desirable outcome.
It is important to remember that if you are reheating an entire loaf, or more than enough for one or two portions, you may need to extend the cooking time accordingly.
Reheating Bread Pudding in an Air Fryer
Reheating your pudding in an air fryer gives a very similar final product to that of using the oven. However, the air fryer should be set to around 300F. The pudding should be cooked for around 5 to 7 minutes.
If you use a higher temperature, your pudding may end up burning on the outside but still cold in the middle.
Reheating Bread Pudding in the Microwave
Although this is the fastest method for reheating bread pudding, it gives the least desirable outcome.
Reheating bread pudding in the microwave will not give you that nice crispy topping. It will also leave your pudding slightly chewier than the other methods.
To reheat in the microwave, you should have your microwave on the 50% setting and do this in 60-second intervals. It should take a total of 1 to 3 minutes, but check the temperature of your pudding accordingly. If your microwave does not have a lower setting, simply lower the interval times to 30 seconds and work with this.
If you do desire that crispy top, you can always reheat in the microwave and then place the reheated pudding under the grill for a few minutes before serving. Alternatively, you can use a chef’s torch to scald the top.
When using the microwave, it is best to do this in small portions so that they heat up throughout and you do not risk drying your pudding out whilst trying to ensure the inside is also heated through.
Reheating Bread Pudding on the Stove
Finally, you can reheat your bread pudding on the stove. But it does require some extra steps and adds a few more calories to your dish – but who’s counting?
You need to begin by buttering your bread pudding on each side. Or alternatively you can heat up some butter in a pan. This is just to prevent the pudding from sticking.
Add the slices of pudding to a heated pan and cook for 60 seconds on each side. This will heat it through and will also crisp up the sides. Not only is it super quick, but the extra butter adds a fresh burst of flavor. It also gives some more moisture whilst speeding up the crisping process.
This is the quickest and tastiest method for reheating your bread pudding. Although it is a lot more indulgent and least healthy.
To all of the above methods, adding sauce will help to prevent your pudding from getting dry. The key to reheating is to ensure you are heating it through to at least 165F. And then the level of crispiness will depend on your chosen method.
Does Bread Pudding Need to be Refrigerated – Final Thoughts
Bread pudding is one of the nation’s most loved puddings, but we always seem to end up with leftovers.
If you do find yourself in this scenario, it is easy enough to save it for another time.
The key points are to make sure your pudding is never left out in room temperature for more than a couple of hours. Simply wrap it up tightly and securely and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively you can store it in the freezer and this will last a lot longer.
When it comes to eating the pudding, make sure it has thawed back to room temperature throughout before you begin to reheat.
You can use either a microwave, stove, oven, or air fryer to reheat your pudding. Using an oven and air fryer and the most similar to the original pudding and give a moist yet crispy outcome.
Alternatively, you can use a microwave. Although this may leave it slightly soggy, chewy, and doesn’t provide that crispy top. However it is the quickest method.
Finally, you can add some extra butter to a pan and reheat your pudding on the stove. This gives a delicious version of the reheated pudding, although it is slightly more unhealthy than the others.
So, whatever way you plan to continue enjoying your bread pudding, just make sure it is heated through. And then top it off with some sauce and you are good to go!
(By the way, coffee goes great with bread pudding. But do you know what goes well with pumpernickel bread?)
Bread pudding should not sit out for longer than 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. After this amount of time you should store correctly and refrigerate or freeze.
You can tell if your bread pudding has gone bad if it begins to smell sour or has developed any areas of mold.