Bread that is a little bit dry will hold up better in the casserole and provide more structure, which is why breakfast casseroles tend to call for "day old" bread. If your bread is fresh or soft, after you cube it, spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in a 200°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
- 1 pound Italian pork sausage
- 10 large eggs, beaten
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 5 cups cubed day old bread (we recommend rustic French or Italian loaf), cut into 3/4-inch to 1 inch-wide cubes
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 cup peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes (optional)
1 Brown the sausage: Heat a skillet on medium. Break up the sausage into chunks and cook, working in batches if need be, until cooked on all sides. As you cook the sausage, you can break up the larger chunks into smaller crumbles (which are easier to distribute evenly over the casserole).
When lightly browned, remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess fat.
2 In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper.
3 Assemble the casserole: Place the cubed bread in a well-buttered 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and mushrooms, if using. Top with the browned crumbled sausage, distributing it evenly. Pour the egg milk mixture evenly over the bread and cheese.
4 Cover and chill, if making ahead: At this point, the casserole can be covered and chilled in the fridge until ready to bake and serve, up to overnight.
If baking immediately, let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before putting in the oven (to give the bread a chance to absorb the milk-egg mixture.
5 Bake the casserole: When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if the top begins to brown too quickly.
6 Serve: Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.