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Author Notes: This is a great way to use up any less than fresh bread you might have lying around. Stale bread is perfect for bread pudding since it will help the bread keep its texture in the dish and not turn to mush. —Sarah | Wisconsin from Scratch
- 1 pound good sourdough, cut into about 1 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups milk, heated until almost boiling
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 2.5 ounces cream cheese, at room temp, cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- If your bread is not already stale, lay the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, until they crisp up slightly. Or, if you plan ahead, you can leave the bread cubes lying out on your kitchen counter overnight to help speed up the staling process.
- Place stale bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the warm milk over them. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk has been absorbed by the bread, about 10 -15 minutes.
- While bread is soaking, cook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are just beginning to crisp up.
- Add the garlic, scalllions, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to the pan, and continue to cook until tomatoes soften and start to burst, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook 1 minute more.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Add to the bread mixture, along with ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, stirring well to combine.
- Spread half of the bread mixture into a greased 8x8 casserole dish and top with the tomato/bacon mixture, followed by an even layer of cream cheese pieces. Cover with the remaining bread mixture and top everything with the remaining ½ cup grated parmesan.
- Bake strata at 350 degrees until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.