This is Gale Gand's recipe for Strata. I love her cookbooks and have a favorite recipe for chocolate shortbread from her. She is all kinds of awesome.
Strata is perfect brunch food, a cheesy egg bread pudding that usually starts with bread (or English Muffins) either cubed or sliced and soaked overnight in custard. It's a great make ahead dish and actually tastes better if it soaks for 12 hours. The world is your oyster when it comes to making strata. Want mushrooms and bacon? Throw some in. Sausage? Ham? Go for it. I made four of these this morning . . . they are just out of the oven all puffy and golden and beautiful.
5 cups of cubed French bread (with crust)
2 cups grated cheese
10 large eggs
1 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Put the bread cubes in the dish and sprinkle them with the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the filling ingredients over the egg mixture and fold them in gently. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Uncover the baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, until the mixture has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top, and the strata doesn't shimmy with uncooked custard when you shake the pan. Tent the dish with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve by the spoonful, using a large serving spoon.
*Bacon, cheddar, mushroom and tomato. Ham, Swiss, Asparagus. Fontina, Spinach, Salami and Roasted Garlic. Be creative!