Delicious, savoury, overnight bread pudding, filled with ham and cheese and a touch of mustard, baked in a milk and egg mixture. Perfect holiday or special breakfast or brunch treat.
Why you’ll love this bread pudding
Breakfast casseroles like this savoury bread pudding are always welcome, but no more so than during the holiday season. This bread pudding has all the great taste of a classic Monte Cristo sandwich in easy, breakfast casserole form. It’s perfect for Christmas morning or a special breakfast or brunch over the holidays.
The flavours of this savoury bread pudding are all at once, savoury, sweet, crispy and creamy. It’s as easy as making a sandwich, too!
The dollop of raspberry jam and a dusting of powdered sugar, brings just the right amount of sweet to this savoury dish. You’ll also love that this dish is a little less wet than some bread puddings. It means that some of the top part of the bread toasts up lovely and crispy, which adds great texture.
It’s also easy to make ahead or assemble this breakfast bread pudding, refrigerate overnight and bake fresh in the morning.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Bread – My favourite bread for this one is a sourdough round. You could also use a loaf of Italian or French bread. A nice, light rye bread would also work here, though the loaves are usually smaller, so you will probably need to use more slices. You can buy the bread pre-sliced or slice yourself into 1/2-inch slices.
The best bread for bread pudding is “day-old” or slightly stale. If your bread is fresher, you can lay it out on a baking sheet for a couple of hours ahead, flipping once or simply pop into a 325F oven for a few minutes (3-5 min), then let cool.
Ham – Sliced, black forest deli ham works perfectly here. You will need about 8 oz. You could substitute the ham with deli turkey slices, if you prefer (or add some in with the ham).
Cheese – I’ve used shredded Gruyere cheese here and it would be recommended, if possible. Alternately, shredded Swiss, Emmental, Jarlsberg or even a nice old cheddar cheese will work as well. Use as much or as little as you like.
Mustard – Dijon mustard work nicely here. You could also use a whole-grain mustard or even regular yellow, prepared mustard if you prefer.
Arugula – you can never go wrong adding a little green and arugula adds the perfect, fresh peppery touch. That said, you can certainly omit, if you like.
Step 1: Start with 8 large slices of bread (or if your bread is smaller, use a few more slices). Butter half the slices of bread, then spread some Dijon mustard on the other slices. Add about 4 slices of deli Black Forest Ham to the slices with the mustard. I like to ruffle them up a bit, rather than laying flat.
Step 2: Top the ham with shredded Gruyere cheese (or you could use Swiss, Emmental, Jarlsberg or even a nice old cheddar, if you like. Place the buttered slice of bread over-top, forming a “sandwich”. Cut the sandwiches into small pieces, as shown. If your slices are more square-ish or smaller, simply cut into triangles.
Nestle the sandwich pieces into your baking pan, placing the triangle pieces point-end up and the crusty pieces, crust-side up. Here I’m using a roughly 9×13-inch oval baking pan, but I’ve also baked this one in a 10-inch top diameter cast-iron skillet. A 9-inch round baking pan should work well, too. Use any pan that will hold the pieces close to each other.
Step 3: Mix up the egg and milk mixture and pour over the sandwich pieces, pouring slowly to make sure it runs over the top of all the sandwiches. You should have liquid pooling in the bottom of the pan, about 1/2-3/4-inches deep. If you feel the pan needs more, you can mix up more milk/egg mixture, using 1 egg for every 1/2 cup of milk. Cover pan with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, if baking right away or if making ahead refrigerate 2 hours – overnight.
- This bread pudding is not as moist as some bread puddings. As written, about 1/2 of the bread is soft and creamy and the top half is toasted and crispy. It complements the “sandwich” aspect of this dish nicely.
- That said, you can certainly add more egg/milk mixture if you prefer a wetter/softer bread pudding. Simply make more of the mixture using the basic formula of 1 egg for each 1/2 cup of milk. In all cases though, the top part of the bread should be above the level of the liquid.
- If your bread slices are smaller than the ones shown here, simply make more of the “sandwiches”. If slicing the bread yourself, slice into no more than 1/2-inch slices. You don’t want the bread slices too thick.
Making Ahead, Storing and Freezing
You can assemble this bread pudding, cover and refrigerate from as little as 1 hour or as long as overnight. If you’d like to refrigerate longer, it might be best to assemble the sandwich part and mix the egg/milk part, but keep them separated until bedtime. Then simply pour over before bed, cover and refrigerate overnight, to bake in the morning.
Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator, where they will keep well for a couple of days.
After baking, you can freeze any left-overs for up to 2 months. To re-warm, simply pop into a casserole from frozen, loosely cover with foil and place into a preheated 350F oven until warmed through (expect 30-40 minutes, from frozen), but check regularly. **I reheated this one from frozen and I can report that it held up beautifully!! Don’t hesitate to freeze left-overs and enjoy for another meal later.
Don’t skip the jam! I’ve put a dollop of raspberry jam on top for the photos, but when serving, it’s much better pass a small bowl of raspberry jam that everyone can add to their plate. It’s a fabulous flavour combination!
Get the Recipe: Savoury Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding
- 8 large Sourdough or Italian bread slices, day-old recommended, pre-sliced or cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 3-4 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3-4 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 16 slices deli Black Forest ham, about 8 ounces (225 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère, Swiss, Emmental, Jarlsberg or old, white Cheddar, DIVIDED
- 2 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole milk (3% b.f.)
- 5 large eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Icing/Confectioners’ sugar
- Raspberry Jam
- Arugula, optional
- Grease a shallow baking dish, approximately 2.5 quarts, such as this roughly 9x13-inch oval baker. A 9x13-inch rectangle may be too big. A 10-inch top diameter cast-iron skillet would work well or alternately a 9-inch cake tin. You want the bread pieces to be very tightly together in the pan.
- If your bread is fresh, lay out the slices ahead and let them stand on the counter for a couple of hours to dry out or alternately, place on a baking sheet and pop into a 325F for 3-5 minutes, then let cool.
- Lay bread slices out. Spread 1/2 of the slices with Dijon mustard and the other 1/2 of the slices with soft butter.
- Working with the slices with the mustard, top with about 4 slices of ham, ruffling them up a bit, rather than laying flat. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Top with the buttered slice of bread, with the un-buttered side up (like you're making a sandwich). Repeat with the remaining slices.
- Cut the "sandwiches" into small pieces (see Step-by-Step photos above this recipe card to see how I cut my slices). Place the sandwich pieces into your prepared dish, nestling them up very close to each other and with the pointed ends or crust side up. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the sandwiches, being sure to pour a bit over each bit of bread. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/2 cup-ish of shredded cheese. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the dish and bake until golden and the egg mixture is set, about 35-40 minutes. Remove and let cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with icing/confectioners’ sugar. Top with a dollop of jam and arugula.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!