Whisk eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, extract, and salt in bowl.
Pour egg mixture on top and let stand for 5 minutes.
Submerge bread and refrigerate until one hour before ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bake until bread pudding has puffed up and is golden brown, approx 50 minutes.
Remove and place on cooling rack. Begin to make Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in small bowl.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add sugar mixture, cream, and bourbon to saucepan, stirring continually.
Cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
Pour sauce over bread pudding and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve.
I use challah bread, but if you can't find challah, choose the eggiest bread you can find. Brioche is an excellent alternative, but French bread or almost any light bread will work. Avoid dark breads like rye or pumpernickel as their flavor will be too overpowering.
If you don't drink or would prefer to leave out the alcohol, you can. If you don't love bourbon, use you can use rum, whiskey, rye, or Kahlua instead.
Love pecans? Consider toasting them ahead of time and adding them to the sauce at the very end.
How to Make It Ahead of Time: If you want to serve the bread pudding soon, but bake it ahead of time, complete recipe steps 1-5. Then, cover and refrigerate it for up to one day. When you're ready to enjoy the dessert, complete steps 6-8 and reheat the sauce on the stove.
Make-Ahead Instructions for Bourbon Sauce: Follow sauce steps 1-5, then cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Reheat on stove.
How to Freeze It: Alternatively, you can freeze the bread pudding to enjoy at a later date. Simply complete the entire recipe (including for the sauce), then wrap the pan with foil and freeze inside a freezer-safe bag. Thaw in the fridge then reheat at 375° until warm.