Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 15 mins.
Baking time:
45 mins. to 50 mins.
Total time:
7 hrs 10 mins. to 13 hrs 35 mins.
Yield:
about 12 servings
This smooth, rich dish is ideal for a crowd at brunch — especially in springtime, when fresh asparagus is in season.
Volume Ounces Grams

  • 10 to 11 cups sourdough bread cubes (3/4" cubes)
  • cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces frozen or 1 bunch fresh (15 to 20 medium stalks) asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped; a scant 1 cup
  • pound ham, diced
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • cup to 1 1/2 cups half & half (fat-free is fine)
  • teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. 1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and grease a 2-quart casserole dish or 9" x 13" pan.
  2. 2) Toss the bread in a bowl with the melted butter, and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Heat the bread in the oven for 10 minutes; it won't color, but will dry out a bit.
  3. 3) If the asparagus are frozen, use them as is. If they're fresh, cook them very briefly; a couple of minutes in the microwave should be sufficient. You want them to be crisp, but not hard.
  4. 4) Toss the asparagus, onion, ham, and 1 cups of the cheese with the toasted bread cubes. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. 5) Mix together the eggs, 1/2 cup of the half & half, and salt, and pour over the bread mixture, pressing the bread gently into the liquid. Add up to an additional 1 cup half & half if it doesn't come to within 3/4" of the top of the bread cubes.
  6. 6) Cover the pan, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  7. 7) Sprinkle the top of the strata with the remaining cheese. Bake the strata uncovered, in a preheated 375F oven, for about 45 minutes, or until it's puffed and golden. A knife blade inserted into the center will come out clean. Remove the strata from the oven, and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
  8. Yield: about 12 servings.

Tips from our bakers

  • Half a loaf of our Alaskan Sourdough Bread Mix works well in this recipe.
  • Why is there such a variation in the amount of half & half? Because a lot depends on the size and shape of your casserole dish. Use enough so that the liquid comes to within about 1/2" to 3/4" of the top of the bread.