Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast

Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast

The perfect holiday breakfast is special, satisfying—and simple. Here’s a secret to achieving all three: Get it together the night before.

We know you don’t want to be spending your holiday morning in the kitchen while your family watches the parade or opens gifts, so we asked Panera Bread® chef and Food Team member Mark McDonough to brainstorm a breakfast that practically makes itself (well, after you put in some time the night before). His recipe for a one-dish, egg-custard-based breakfast fits the bill. And if even that feels like too much? Order in! Who doesn’t enjoy a spread of bagels, muffins, and fruit in between presents and good cheer?

Make It Eggy

Does your mind turn to eggs when you think of a holiday breakfast? Whether you have a taste for a sweet or savory breakfast, an egg-based dish such as a strata will satisfy. And it’s easy to prep and assemble. All you have to do is master a simple egg custard recipe. “The best thing about any kind of egg bake is that you can prepare it the night before, using whatever ingredients you have on hand, and then toss it in the oven when you wake up,” Mark says. His easy instructions follow.

For a savory custard: Mix four whole eggs, two egg yolks, 2 cups of whole milk, ½ cup of grated Parmesan, ½ teaspoon of salt, and a dash of white ground pepper. Line the bottom of a baking dish with slices or cubes cut from half of an Artisan French Bread Miche from your local Panera Bread bakery-cafe. Top the bread with 3 cups total of the ingredients of your choice (bacon, ham, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms). “You can combine all the ingredients or assemble your strata in layers; then pour the custard on top, letting it seep to the bottom,” Mark says. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, bake the strata at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes and let it stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

For a sweet custard: Combine three whole eggs, three egg yolks, 2 cups of whole milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar or maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon of salt. “In a baking dish, pour the custard over roughly 3 quarts of cubes cut from our Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread or an egg-based challah bread,” Mark says. Top the bread with no more than 1½ cups of fruit such as berries. Refrigerate overnight. Bake the strata at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes and let it stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Or Let Panera Make Your Meal

If even the simplest amount of prep work is too much, why not stop by your local bakery-cafe the day before the holiday (check your local Panera Bread for hours) and bring home a variety of muffins, bagels, breads, and pastries? “Our Holiday Bread is a great choice,” Mark says. “Add a few Bear Claws, Orange Scones, and Pastry Rings, or an assortment of our freshly baked bagels and cream cheese spreads, and you have a delicious start to any holiday morning.” Just add coffee.