Don’t toss out that old French Bread loaf, use it to make this easy strata recipe!
Have you ever made a strata? For me, a strata is a new thing because I usually never have any leftover bread. My kids can devour an entire loaf of French bread in a day, so it’s a really rare thing to have any old bread. But recently, I went on a bread shopping spree and ended up with two loaves of French bread that were almost rock hard…eek! I hate wasting food, so I needed a recipe to help me use up my old bread.
This easy strata recipe using leftover bread was the perfect solution. Not only is it a great way to use up rock hard bread, it’s also a fantastic way to use up leftovers in general and turn them into a whole new meal! In addition, this recipe is very forgiving and you can add or substitute most of the ingredients for thing that you have and like.
- 7 cups of old French bread, cut into about 1" pieces
- 7 large eggs (minimum 6 eggs if you don't have 7)
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 T. unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup ham, chopped
- 1/3 cup cooked spinach, chopped and squeezed dry
- 1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped*
- 3/4 cup smoked Gyuere cheese** (grated from a block)
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme or two sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
- Prep an 8" x 8" ceramic/glass baking dish with cooking spray and add in the bread. Set aside.
- In a pan over medium heat, add butter, sprigs of thyme, and onions. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add in the mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and spinach. Cook until most of the liquid of the mushrooms have evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove the sprigs of thyme and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, cream, pepper, Gruyere cheese, ham, and any other additional spices/seasonings you want to add (see notes).
- Pour mixture over the bread and mix everything together. Cover with foil and let sit for 6 hours or overnight in the fridge.
- When ready to bake, remove the baking dish from the fridge and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place strata in the oven and bake for 35 minutes covered. Remove the foil cover and bake for additional 15 - 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is set.
- Once baked, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
*if you want some heat, substitute with a 4oz. can of medium fire roasted peppers (drained) or keep the bell peppers and add 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper
**can be substituted with smoked Gouda
Note: 3/4 tsp. of mustard powder can be added if you like things tangy. If you're not sure if you'll like it, you can serve prepared mustard on the side, which is what I prefer to do.
Freezing: To freeze leftover strata, make sure the strata is completely cool. Cut into to serving portions and store in a single layer in an air tight container or in individual resealable bags. To reheat, remove a serving of the strata and microwave for about 2 min. 40 seconds on high.