Cut bread in 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl. Pour milk over it; let stand for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325°F Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13x2-inch oven-to-table baking dish.
In another bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir this into the bread mixture. Add the dried cherries.
Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before reheating. Reheat, covered with foil, at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pass a pitcher of cream to moisten.