How To Make A Breakfast Savory Bread Pudding (Strata)– Learn how to make this delicious, easy dish for family gathering, around the holidays and anything in between.
What is Strata?
Strata is basically a savory bread pudding made with eggs, milk or cream, that is usually prepared in advance.
Very easy to make and extremely suitable for a hearty breakfast or brunch, this egg dish is perfect for when you have a house full of people and want to spend more time with them instead of being in the kitchen the entire morning.
You can put the strata together before you go to bed. The next morning you just have to remove it from the fridge and bake it, which is a very unstressful way of having people over.
Strata is usually made with stale bread that is layered together with anything you have in the fridge. This is the beauty of it, you can make it with whatever you want.
The liquid base is usually milk and eggs, but I saw recipes that use sour cream and eggs instead. I personally like the strata with sour cream instead of milk.
However, if you make it with sour cream, the texture is going to be a little bit different, just more “egg-ish” than the one made with milk.
To make a beautiful breakfast savory bread pudding (Strata) you will need:
Baking dish– for 4-6 people, you might need an 8x8x2 inches baking dish. For more than 6-8 people, you might need a 13×9 inches dish.
Bread– Any kind of bread will do. I like French baguette, sourdough, French loaf, artisan bread, but even gluten free would work.
I like to cut the bread in chunks and leave it for the day, covered in a bowl, on the kitchen counter.
This is how I make sure the bread is dry and ready to absorb the milk(or the sour cream) and the eggs.
If you don’t have stale bread, then use fresh one, but cut the bread in chunks, place it on a baking pan, then in the oven at 350F for 5-7 minutes until the chunks are crisp on the outside but not completely dry.
When cool, measure the bread and make sure it fits in the baking dish you want to use. To serve 4-6 people, you will need about 4-5 cups of cubed bread.
Liquid base– As I said before, the traditional strata is made with milk and eggs but sour cream and eggs combination is perfectly acceptable. I like the sour cream. I also use it when I make quiche.
Note on using the sour cream instead of milk: A strata is baked for about 40-45 minutes if it is made with milk. If you use sour cream with eggs instead, reduce the amount of baking to only 30-35 minutes, as there is not a lot of liquid in the pan to evaporate.
You can flavor the liquid base the way you want it. A good start would be salt and pepper. A little bit of nutmeg and maybe some hot sauce would work well if you like it spicier.
Shredded Cheese– Any kind of melting cheese is great.
The most popular is of course, cheddar cheese. Gruyere, mozzarella, a mixing of Mexican cheese, they all work well. If you don’t like it very cheesy, add less, not a big deal. However, it needs some cheese, this is not an ingredient to skip completely.
Tip: Mix the cheese with the dried bread and keep a handful of cheese aside to sprinkle on top of the dish when you are ready to place it in the oven.
Meat: Sausage/chorizo, bacon, ham, other cold cuts are the most popular
Vegetables: asparagus, peppers (I prefer the red, yellow or orange), sun dried tomatoes, scallions, white or red onion, mushrooms, leeks, spinach etc.
Herbs: thyme, marjoram, rosemary, dill etc
Some of my favorite combinations would be:
- Ham and green onion
- Ham or bacon, green onion, pepper and sun dried tomatoes
- Spinach, bacon and red onion
- Ham and spinach
- Mushrooms, green onions and dill
- Bacon and leeks
- Asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and green onion
Assemble the strata
In a baking dish, place the bread on the bottom and add the shredded cheese, cooked meat and vegetables chopped small.
Add the mixture of milk/eggs and top the dish with more shredded cheese. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Overnight is better because the ingredients will have time to get friendly with each other. Friendly ingredients = delicious dish!
The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and place the dish inside. Bake the dish for about 40 minutes and check the inside. It is ready if it doesn’t jiggle when shaken. The dish should be golden brown on top and cheese should be melted.
Remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
Note: If the dish was at room temperature, it might need only 40-45 minutes to bake. If the dish was super cold, it might need another 5-10 minutes. The dish should reach 160F inside to make sure the eggs cook inside. Check and make sure you don’t overcook it!
Can you freeze uncooked strata?
Basically, you can freeze almost anything. However, I am not a fan of freezing eggs. First of all, the texture will change and become rubbery when frozen. I know that people will probably say that I am wrong, but this is my opinion. USDA.gov is very clear about this as well.
How to store cooked strata:
After baking, leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours and kept for up to four days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze cooked strata for up to three months.
Suggestions of other egg recipes for breakfast:
Here is one of my favorite Strata recipe I make:
- 4 cups cubed stale bread(French baguette, rustic, sourdough, regular, or gluten free)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream(OR 2 cups whole milk)
- 4-6 green onion chopped small(or a small white or red onion)
- 1 cup chopped ham(or cooked sausage/chorizo, or cooked bacon)
- 1 small red pepper chopped small(yellow or orange peppers work well too)
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes chopped small
- 1 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Use a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Cut the stale bread in cubes and place it on the baking dish.
- Add shredded cheese, but keep a handful of cheese to sprinkle on top of the dish before you bake it.
- Add meat and vegetables.
- Separately, beat the eggs and add milk or sour cream(according to your preference). Add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Mix well and pour over the bread.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and cover with foil.
- Place the dish in the refrigerator overnight.
- Next morning, preheat oven at 350F.
- Bring the dish to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Bake the strata for 40-45 minutes if you added milk and 35 minutes if you made it with sour cream.(See the notes on the blog about that).
- Check the temperature of the strata in the middle. It should be 160F. The dish is ready when it does not giggle in the middle when shaken. The color should be golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Strata can be frozen already assembled for up to 3 months. Make sure you thaw it in the refrigerator over night. Then, bring the strata to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking it.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 245mgSodium: 755mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 22g