Cheesy Breakfast Bake

Needing to feed a crowd for breakfast or brunch then this do ahead luscious breakfast bake is perfect. Put out some fresh seasonal fruit, brew pots of tea and plungers of coffee and you have something to satisfy everyone.

The secret to making this dish is to let it stand for at least several hours before baking so that the bread absorbs the egg mixture. This style of breakfast or brunch dish is popular in the US where it is often called a ‘strata’.

Serves 10- 12

60g butter
200g bacon, rind removed, cut into 1cm pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
about 300g baby spinach leaves
10 free-range eggs
3 cups Origin Earth Milk
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf (400-500g) rustic-style bread – we used a farmhouse loaf which had body – cut into 2.5 cm squares
250g grated Origin Earth Takenga Gold

1              Grease a large baking dish with about one-third of the butter – we used a large oval dish 35cm in length and 24cm wide at its widest point.

2              Melt remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add bacon, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add spinach, toss to combine, cover and cook until spinach wilts. Remove cover and cook to evaporate any juices which have been released from the spinach.

3              Place eggs, milk and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste with a good grind of salt and black pepper.

4              Scatter half the bread in the base of the prepared dish, then top with half the spinach mixture and sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers. Pour over egg mixture and if necessary press bread gently to submerge. Cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5              When ready to cook, preheat oven to 200°C. Remove plastic food wrap and bake for 45-50 minutes or until top is golden and bake is set – if top is browning too quickly cover with foil. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.