1poundcubed crusty breadday-old sourdough or French bread is best
¼cupmaple syrupplus more for serving
Generously grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter. Add cubed bread and chopped pecans to dish in an even layer.
In a large bowl, add eggs, milk, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour egg mixture slowly over cubed bread.
Cover casserole with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, remove casserole from refrigerator to rest at room temperature.
Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for another 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through in the middle. If needed, use a toothpick to test the center of your casserole - eggs should be set, not runny.
Serve your casserole warm with maple syrup or powdered sugar on top.
Using fresh bread can result in a soggy casserole due to the extra moisture. If you have fresh bread on hand: cube it, spread onto a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes to dry out your bread slightly.
To freeze leftovers, allow your casserole to come to room temperature, then tightly seal individual portions (or entire casserole) with two layers of foil.
Move frozen casserole from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before reheating to allow to thaw.
To reheat leftovers: place casserole in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for up to 30 minutes, or until warm. Individual portions can also be microwaved.