1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced (baby portabellas are my personal preference)
8 cups (packed) bread, I'm using 2 day old Italian
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
5 large eggs
3/4 cup chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
9 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup (packed) grated Fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.
Combine bread and milk in large bowl. Let stand until milk is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Whisk half and half and next 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Stir in goat cheese.
Place half of bread mixture in single layer in prepared glass baking dish (bread will not cover bottom of baking dish). Top with half each of mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, Fontina cheese, and half and half mixture. Repeat layering with remaining bread, mushrooms, Parmesan and Fontina cheeses, and half and half mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Bake strata uncovered until firm in center, puffed and golden, about 1 hour.
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