Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375. Butter a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Put bread in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 2/3 cup of the sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and salt
Pour egg mixture over bread and stir gently to coat. Let soak for 6 to 10 minutes or til moist of the liquid is absorbed. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
IN small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla powder. Sprinkle generously over bread mixture.
Bake uncovered til bread pudding is puffed and golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean, from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of your baking dish. Transfer dish to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8
Note: This wonderful bread pudding represents something special. It's dessert disguised as breakfast. The amount of sugar called for is really just a suggestion. Sweeten more or less according to your taste.