Place pieces of bread in a large bowl and pour milk over bread. Give it a gentle stir and let stand 10 minutes.
Whisk eggs in a medium size bowl; add sugar, raisins, 3 tablespoons butter, and vanilla and stir well. Pour egg mixture over soaked bread as you stir gently. You want the pieces of bread to hold their shape.
Pour mixture into a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish or sprayed with cooking spray. Stir together honey and remaining melted butter;drizzle over bread pudding. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until edges are browned and mixture is bubbly. Serve warm or chilled with or without optional sauce.
Vanilla Sauce OPITIONAL
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Add sugar and milk. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring often. Meanwhile, stir together cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
When mixture comes to a boil, stir in cornstarch slurry and vanilla. Cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until slightly thickened.
Variation: Instead of vanilla extract, split one vanilla bean in half, to but not through the other side and scrape out the vanilla beans and add with the cornstarch slurry.
Variations: Trade dried cranberries for raisins and add 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Use chocolate milk for whole milk and add 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Keyword bread pudding, day old bread, honey, leftovers, new orleans, raisins