All of these casseroles are based on the similar principle of soaking leftover bread and filler ingredients (like onions, mushrooms, and cheese) in some sort of liquid and then baking until the inside layers are soft and creamy. It seems that main difference lies in the kind of soaking liquid you use.
• Panade - Made with only broth, either chicken or vegetable. The resulting casserole is fairly soupy. In fact, one of the best panade descriptions we came across was, "soup to stand your spoon in." It becomes Thanksgiving stuffing when you decrease the quantity of liquid and equal out the ratio between the bread and the other ingredients.
• Strata - Made with eggs and milk (or cream). Stratas usually have more eggs than cream, making them more eggy in consistency and flavor.
• Bread Pudding - Also made with eggs and milk (or cream), but usually with a more equal ratio of eggs and milk. This makes the interior custardy and soft with a milkier flavor. Bread puddings can also be either sweet or savory, where the other two casseroles are almost always savory.
The lines between all three dishes are definitely blurry. We're not terribly picky about names as long as the resulting casserole hits the spot!
Do you have a favorite among the three?
(Image: Emma Christensen)