4 cups milk (I used 1%)
4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus a little for greasing the pan
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
½ cup dark brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (any bread is fine)
4 eggs, beaten
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the bottom and edges of an 8×8 baking dish thoroughly.
In a small saucepan over a low heat, warm the milk, butter, vanilla bean, brown sugar and salt. Continue cooking until the butter just melts, then cool the mixture a bit.
While the mixture cools, fill your baking dish with the cubed bread.
Remove the vanilla bean and add the eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk, then pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Be sure to push down any floating cubes so that all of the bread is dampened with custard.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard is set and the tips of the bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature, perhaps dolloped with rhubarb curd.
Simple Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding