Do you find yourself stuck with leftover bread that you don’t know what to do with? I know I do, especially the ends of bread loaves, which are hard and not so nice to eat.
Inspired by Japanese chef Masa, I developed a simple recipe that uses leftover bread to create a delicious breakfast casserole that kids will love. Why? Because it has all the usual suspects that kids adore like smoked meat and cheese!
What I like about this breakfast casserole is the short list of pantry ingredients – just five ingredients, other than salt and pepper! Other than bread, I usually use vegetable scraps from soups or roasts, so this is a great way to minimize food wastage as well.
I don’t need to use cream for this, which is a relief, because Asian kitchens don’t always have cream (at least mine doesn’t). Despite the absence of cream, you end up with a creamy sauce because of the potatoes; their starches will thicken the milk so you don’t need the additional richness from cream.
Best of all, this dish can quickly whipped up in just half an hour, inclusive of baking time!
Questions and tips
Will it really work without egg? You read right – there’s no egg in this recipe. I had my doubts when I first made it too, but the end result turned out custardy and casserole-ish, if you know what I mean. Egg is usually present to contribute bulk or body. Here, the potatoes do the job.
What type of cheese to use? I have tried making this with various types of cheese. I once did it with mozzarella because I wanted the melty effect. However, I found it too bland. You can still use it but mix with a stronger, saltier type of cheese like cheddar.
Make sure there’s enough milk. By this, I mean that the milk should nearly cover the tops of the bread when you pour it into the dish. Otherwise the dish will end up too dry.
Customise it. This recipe can be easily tweaked to your personal preferences. For additional crunch, scatter breadcrumbs on top. For some green, sprinkle with chopped scallions – the possibilities are endless!
Leftover Bread Casserole
- Oven-proof baking dish, pot
- 2 slices bread
- 2 tbsp smoked meat (ham, bacon, or smoked duck is good)
- 3 tbsp potatoes and/or carrots
- 1/2 cup milk
- shredded cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200 C.
- Dice bread into cubes and line bottom of baking dish with it.
- In a pot, heat up a little oil and fry ham/bacon/smoked duck until crispy and starts releasing its own oil. Add the potatoes.
- Add milk. Simmer over low-to-medium heat until sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour mixture over bread-lined baking dish.
- Scatter top with shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until top has turned golden brown. Serve!