Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
5 cups torn day-old country bread
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
2 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1. Heat oven to 400°F|200°C. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted, spoon, transfer bacon to a large bowl to cool.
2. Add the cheese, bread, and sage to the bowl. Whisk the milk and eggs in a separate bowl, then pour it onto the breadcrumb and bacon mixture. Mix to combine and let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Pour mixture into a loaf pan and cover with foil. Place loaf pan within a metal roasting pan surrounded by a water bath that reaches 3/4 the way up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil, and bake an additional 45 minutes to allow the top to brown top and the pudding to rise.
4. Cut in slices to serve. Can be eaten directly from the oven or after it has cooled.
Chef's note: The pudding is also good the next day cut into slices and reheated by frying until brown on both sides.