I keep a bag of cut French Bread cubes in the freezer - Ray's /French Bread Loaf (this is like a dense Italian bread...it does not have the crackling crust of typical French bread), cut into 1" cubes - leave the crust on and let dry out.
Start by taking out the pan you want. This recipe is for 6 - 8 people...so a deep dish 9 - 10 in pie pan is perfect. Put enough handfuls of the bread cubes on it to cover the bottom...no stacking...you want it to be moist, with a layer of custard at the bottom after it cooks.
3 1/2 C milk (I use about 1/3 C of hvy cream, the rest 1% milk)
1/2 C heaping dark brown sugar
1/2 t of vanilla,
1/8 t salt
2 dashes nutmeg
Beat WELL. Add bread to mixture, mix gently so bread is covered. Let soak while you brush crumbs from pan and rub all over with either butter or a piece of coconut oil (at room temp it's hard). Pour egg/bread mixture into it, sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake 350, for about an 1 hr - 1 hr 15 min. Turn pan around when half an hour is left to promote even browning. You want the top to be puffed and golden brown.
Bacon option: This is wonderful! Cook bacon that's been cut into very small pieces, drain WELL. Put one layer of bread soaked in eggs in the pan (a little less than half), sprinkle bacon over it - a "med" amount...not too much - and then put the rest of the bread/egg mixture on top. Same cooking instructions. An easier way is to cut up precooked bacon. Do not use too much or it will overwhelm the custardy flavor.
Blueberry option: This is also wonderful. Sprinkle a good amount of frozen blueberries over bottom layer - don't cover it, just a nice scattering - and then top with remaining soaked bread. Sprinkle just a few on the top for appearance, then pour the rest of the egg mixture.
Warm Berry Sauce
2 C frozen berry mix (I use CostCo’s Triple Berry Blend, with a small handful of Marionberries or frozen blackberries thrown in to soften the flavor)
1/3 C sugar (depending on taste)
Splash of orange juice, dash of lemon juice
1 T rice flour
Heat berries, sugar, orange and lemon juices over low until sugar is dissolved, taste if needs more sugar. Sprinkle a T of rice flour, stir gently and see how thick it is after a few minutes....if it needs water or more flour for the right pouring consistency. When done, take off heat...it should be warm but not hot when served.