The world of bread-based casseroles is a wide and wonderful one, from brunch-worthy stratas to decadently sweet bread puddings for dessert. How do they all really differ? The terms are often used interchangeably and, judging from appearances, you may think they are really just the same, along with the rustic dish panade, another bread-based creation. Actually, they are all in fact different.
The Difference Between Strata, Bread Pudding, and Panade
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. The main difference lies in the kind of soaking liquid you use.
This kind of bread-based casserole is made with eggs and milk or cream. Stratas usually have more eggs than cream, making them more eggy in consistency and flavor, which is why they are often favored as part of a brunch spread. They are usually savory, but can also be sweet.
3 Great Strata Recipes to Try
Also made with eggs and milk or cream, bread pudding usually has a more equal ratio of eggs and milk. This makes the interior custardy and soft with a milkier flavor. Bread puddings follow the opposite rule of stratas: they are usually sweet, but can sometimes be savory.
3 Great Bread Pudding Recipes to Try
A panade is made with only broth, either chicken or vegetable, and no eggs. 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 similar to Thanksgiving stuffing when you decrease the quantity of liquid and equal out the ratio between the bread and the other ingredients.