Strata is different than other egg casseroles.
Unlike other breakfast casserole recipes, which call for the ingredients to be mixed together, strata preparation necessitates the bread to be layered with the filling to create custard- like layers, called strata. A mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and cheese is poured over meat, vegetable, and bread layers.
Strata has make ahead convenience.
Strata is an excellent choice if you want a make ahead breakfast because you allow the strata to rest overnight before it is baked.
Strata is easy to make.
Breakfast strata casserole is one of my favorite things to make when I am meal prepping for the week. I love that I am able to make the recipe the night before I want to serve it and then pop it in the oven the next morning. While it bakes, I have time to prep for my day.
Because of its main ingredients, strata is most often served for breakfast or brunch. However, strata can easily be used as a supper meal. Strata’s best feature is that it can be whatever you create it to be. It’s your strata; make it the way you want.
How to make a strata
Begin with a greased baking dish and fill it with cubed bread
Select an oven-proof baking dish that will hold the amount of servings for the number of people you are planning to feed. Grease the dish with cooking spray, oil, or a bit of butter. Add cubed bread pieces. Any kind of bread will work. Bread cubes should be packed loosely into the baking dish. The bread pieces should fill the baking dish. It is perfectly okay to reduce the bread; it does not alter the taste. It merely produces a thinner strata.
Use half as much milk and eggs as bread
A mixture of eggs and milk makes the custard-like filling. If you don’t have a recipe, a good rule of thumb is whatever your bread volume produced, use half that measurement for your milk and eggs. For example, if you had 2 cups of bread cubes, then you should use 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of eggs. The volume of your milk and eggs should be equal. Pour milk and eggs into a bowl and whisk until well combined. Set this aside for later.
Add some spices to your milk and egg mixture
You can season your egg and milk mixture with whatever your taste buds desire. Salt and pepper are always a good seasoning to add, and then whatever you want: such as stone ground mustard, paprika for a smokey flavor, a hint of nutmeg, or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper to give it some zing. I love using fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano, or thyme. Whisk it all together.
Add some cheese
Cheese is another main ingredient in strata. As a general rule, add equal parts of cheese as your milk and eggs. If you use 1 cup each of milk and eggs, use 1 cup of shredded cheese. It is okay to add less cheese if you want to lighten things up. For the best strata texture, it is important to use cheeses that melt easily such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella, cheddar, or Gruyere. After you have chosen and measured your cheese, mix it with the bread in your baking dish, reserving a little to sprinkle on top just before popping it into the oven.
Add extra ingredients
If you are like me, you will want your strata to have more than just eggs and cheese. The sky is the limit here. Add whatever you want. Use an equal amount of extra ingredients as cheese. If you used 1 cup of cheese, use about 1 cup of extra ingredients. There is no set rule for this step except the extras should be cooked and completely cooled before adding it to the strata. Combine your cooled extras into the bread and cheese mixture.
Put your strata together and let it sit
Carefully pour the milk and egg mixture over the bread mixture. Make sure the bread is covered with liquid. Sprinkle on the reserved cheese. Cover your dish with foil or plastic wrap and store in your fridge overnight. Let it sit on the counter while you pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake your strata
Before baking your strata, cover it tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover and continue baking until the cheese is melted on top and the egg mixture is set. This should take about 15-30 minutes. It might take longer if your strata is extra thick. You don’t want to overcook your strata, so be sure to check often. Your strata is done when the center doesn’t jiggle when shaken. Remove your strata from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Still looking for a recipe? Click here to try my Spinach and Ham Breakfast Strata