4 T. butter plus a bit more for lightly greasing the pan
2 T. Dijon mustard (I really like a grainy one)
12 thick slices of bread, – Challah or brioche are really lovely here
1 1/2 cups shredded old Cheddar (or another cheese of your choice)
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 cups milk
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. paprika if desired
Instructions: Blend together 4 T butter with 2 T Dijon mustard and use as a spread on slices of bread. Cut each piece of bread into quarters. Start layering as follows into the greased 9 by 13 pan: 16 quarters of bread, then 1/2 cup shredded old Cheddar, 1/3 cup Parmesan. Repeat this so that you have made three layers in total. Mix together eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this egg mixture over the layers in the pan. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp of paprika if desired. You can bake this as soon as all of the liquid is absorbed by the bread layers (I find an hour is the minimum you can get away with) but it’s also a great make ahead dish. In fact, I like it best of all when it’s been chilled and allowed to soak in overnight! Bake for one hour in a 350 degree oven (uncovered). You want a knife to come clean when you stick it into the strata.
There are TONS of variations you can make with this recipe. I’ve personally tried adding leftover veggies like asparagus, spinach, caramelized onions, and broccoli; instead of using all Cheddar, I’ve used 4 cheese blends (a great way of using up last little bits of leftover cheeses); and of course, if you’re not going meatless, this is a great way to use some leftover bits of meat like ham. Without any of the spices and by cutting back on the mustard, I made this dish for my daughter when she was a baby. It’s soft and was easy for her to eat and she LOVED it.