|A breakfast strata is a favorite in our household. It has a couple of compelling draws to it. It is flexible in the ingredients. It makes use of ingredients that might not make a meal on their own. Strata is an easy meal to feed a group. Strata is not so much a recipe as it is “guide lines”.My basic breakfast strata starts with a loaf of stale french bread. If the bread is still kind of fresh, slice it into one inch thick slices and let it dry over night. The bread is then broken into chunky pieces. One slice might yield four to five chunks.Beat 8 to 9 eggs into 1 to 1-1/2 cups of milk. Add salt, pepper and any other seasonings you like (cayenne pepper sauce).
Pour the egg mixture over the bread chunks and let the bread soak up the egg mixture. I use a gallon size zipper bag for this. Let the bread soak for at least 40 minutes or over night. Turn the bag over to make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed through the bread. At the end, the egg mixture should be absorbed by the bread without liquid pooling in the bag.
Spread half of the egg soaked bread in a greased baking dish. Add filling ingredients to the dish. In this example I am using ham and spinach with chopped yellow onion. We also like sausage, bacon or pepperoni. Green onions, bell peppers, summer squash and many other vegetables are great to use. Let your imagination run wild.
Top the dish with the rest of the egg soaked bread to layer the filling in the middle. Top with cheese and bake at 350 to 375 F for 30 to 40 minutes until the egg mixture is set and the bread is starting to toast or crisp around the top and edges.
Remove from the oven and serve hot. This works well in a warming tray as well.
If you use vegetables that have a fair amount of water, you may need to salt them or pre-cook and drain. When using fresh spinach, use a thin layer and use an oven temp of 375 F.
Don’t press the bread mixture into the pan. You want the bread and egg mixture to be loosely jumbled into the pan so it has more edges to crisp and brown. This helps to avoid a gooey texture.