skip to main content
Learning at Black Country Living Museum

Recipe - Bread Pudding


Men, women and children had to work incredibly hard to earn a meagre living. To enable whole families to work long hours, food had to be nourishing and filling (many dishes were known as ‘rib stickers’ or ‘bally-fillers’).

This bread pudding recipe from 1875 uses water, but richer households may have used milk.


  • 1lb (400/500 gr.) stale bread
  • 6 oz (170 gr.) suet (could be less if preferred)
  • 2 oz (50 gr.) sugar
  • teaspoon mixed spice
  • 6 oz (170 gr.) dried fruit
  • 1 egg


  • Soak the bread in water until it is soft.
  • Squeeze and remove as much water as possible and break up the bread with a fork
  • Add suet, sugar, spice and dried fruit and mix well.
  • Stir in beaten egg
  • Put in a greased tin and bake in oven for 1 ½ hours. However, probably wise to regularly check and turn the dish every now and then to avoid it burning on one side.

About bread

Bread was a very important part of the daily diet, but was not often baked at home, instead it was bought from the bakers. Cottages in rural areas often had brick bread ovens incorporated in the brick surrounding of the fireplace. However, many industrial houses did not have brick bread ovens and baking bread in cast iron oven is much more difficult as the heat can be too fierce. In addition Baking was the ovens in cast iron ranges were too small for the amount of bread required for large families.

About Eggs

For poorer families, eggs were a luxury. Eggs could be bought in small numbers, at Gregory’s store it was possible to just buy one egg. Eggs were dearer in winter than in summer as chickens lay fewer eggs in winter. Interestingly, in 1913,  the majority of eggs consumed in England were imported, Russia being one of the main suppliers. In the early 20th century egg shells were white as well as brown, while now they are brown.

About suet

Suet is raw beef of mutton fat, especially the hard fat around the loins and kidneys. Suet is used in cooking, especially traditional puddings, but is also used to make tallow (candles).

Lard is pig fat (fat surrounding the kidneys and loin) rendered down very slowly in a large saucepan. The melted fat was poured into containers to set. The resulting lard was then used for frying food, for pastry and cake making. 



Try some of our other listed Black Country Recipes



Visit BCLM this half-term for some more ‘fun in a bun’!

Between Sat 14 – Sun 22 Feb the Museum will ‘knead’ young bakers to rise to the occasion and get involved with series of hands on activities, crafts and demonstrations. From ‘Lardy Cakes’ to ‘cake sandwiches’, follow a trail around the Museum and discover all sorts of weird and wonderful facts about cooking and baking in the Black Country. Bake it in the Black Country Half Term Activities

Don't forget... you can pay once, visit for 12 months with our new annual pass.


 BCLM UnChained Annual Pass

  Book online & save 


‘Bostin Fittle’ by Pat Purcell (1978, published by the Black Country Society) Interestingly, the recipes in this publication are based on a hand written recipe notebook by Miss Bissell, written in 1875.

‘A feast of memories, Black Country Food and Life at the turn of the century’ by Marjorie Cashmore (1986, Westwood Press Publications). The recipes in this book are based on interviews and oral histories taken in the 1980s, many of those interviewed remembering life in the Black Country in the early 20th century.

Advice was also taken from Mrs Beeton, Book of Household management.

Did you know?

interesting fact image

By 1846, steam engine design had developed so fast that the engine fitted to the SS Great Britain was capable of 1000 horsepower.

Your Feedback
Your Feedback
BCLM Newsletter
Join Newsletter