My friend Charlotte gifted me with a loaf a sourdough bread her husband had made. My folks and I had some lovely sandwiches with it and decided the reminder would be perfect to form the base of my overnight casserole.
This is a great timesaver on Christmas morning, as you build it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The bonus is it is also one of those dishes where you can empty your fridge of leftovers – we had some sausage patties from a previous breakfast and some mushrooms we had sautéed for pizza but are using here instead to go with bread that was starting to go stale.
I like using smoked Gouda but Cheddar or any other good melting cheese would be delicious. We used sourdough bread but use what you have, knowing that thicker slices is best.
The bread softened beautifully and the casserole was so nice and creamy and smokey. Such a very good way to start a holiday or for brunch anytime of the year.
Sourdough Breakfast Casserole
1 pound sourdough bread, about thick 5 slices
½ pound breakfast sausage, about 4 to 5 patties
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half (or cream)
8 ounces smoked Gouda, grated (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Toast the bread until golden brown. I run it through 3 light toast cycles to get it well dried out. Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
Brown the breakfast sausage. Remove from heat to a large bowl. In same pan, sauté the mushrooms until they’ve released their juices. Remove from heat.
Lightly butter a 9×13 baking dish.
In a large bowl, toss together bread, sausage and mushrooms. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, half and half, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt and pepper.
Lightly butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Turn bread and sausage mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing bread pieces down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Transfer to oven and bake uncovered until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.