Recipe video above. Strata, breakfast casserole, savoury French toast bake or savoury bread pudding. It doesn't matter what you call this, it's totally delish and can be made ahead, so it's great for feeding a crowd! It tastes like a cross between a quiche, French toast and an omelette.Excellent use of leftover bread, and also to make less bacon stretch further. Also customisable - imagine all the add in possibilites!
Cook bacon: Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. (Use a bit of oil if not using non-stick). Add all but 2 tbsp of bacon (reserve some for topping just before baking), cook until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
Whisk eggs and milk: Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl (or container, if leaving overnight).
Soak bread: Add the bread, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and the cooked bacon to the egg mixture. Mix well. Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (until all the egg is soaked into the bread) or overnight.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
Grease cake tin: Generously grease a 20cm/8" springform cake tin with butter (cake pan without loose sides also ok, also see Note 3 re: leakage risk).
Fill: Pour the bread mixture into the cake tin, pat down to compress. Scatter with reserved uncooked bacon and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover loosely with foil.
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (no raw egg).
Rest & slice: Allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing the springform or turning out. Garnish with parsley if using. Cut into slices to serve. Be civil and eat it on a plate with a fork, or just use your hands!
1. Bread - any plain bread will work here, white or wholemeal, loaves, French sticks/baguettes (which is what I used), hamburger buns, rolls. I personally prefer plain rather than with seeds or other bits in it just to have a smooth custardy centre.Also best to avoid artisan dense breads like sourdough with really thick chewy crusts which are a bit too thick for the custardy inside of this dish.How much bread? - It's a bit tricky to define because different bread have different weights. I used a standard baguette - about 270g / 9 oz. Best to go by volume: 7 packed cups - push the bread cubes into a 1 cup measure for each cup, pressing down to level the surface.2. Cheese - You can use any good melting cheese eg. tasty / cheddar, gouda, Monterey Jack, pepper jack.Although tempting, avoid mozzarella because it doesn't have much flavour (but if you do use it, add another 1/4 tsp salt).3. Cake pan - If you don't have a springform pan, use a standard cake pan (it holds together well enough to turn out) or a 10"/25cm square baking dish . Do notmake this in a sandwich pan with a loose base (ie not springform) - egg will leak.Leakage note - if you know your springform pan is prone to leaking with runny cake batters, put a tray on the shelf underneath, just in case (not on the same shelf, reduces heat around cake pan so increases cook time). The bread should soak up most of the egg so there should be little leakage, if at all.4. Leftovers - Will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, and can be reheated in the microwave. Also tasty at room temperature! Freezes for 3 months - wrap in cling wrap and store in airtight container (reheats 100% perfectly like quiches do!)5. Nutrition - Assumes 8 servings, including an estimation of bacon fat discarded.