1 16 ounce (450 g) loaf of French bread, sourdough bread, or challah (day old bread works best), cut into 1-inch cubes with the ends discarded
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (optional – leave out if preferred)
1 1/2 – 2 cups sliced strawberries, divided
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
more fresh berries
Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Set aside in the fridge.
For the casserole Lightly grease a 9×9-inch square baking dish or 2.5 quart casserole dish.
Arrange half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan. Drop spoonfuls of the softened cream cheese over the bread and top with half of the mixed berries.
Layer with remaining bread cubes on top.
In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla.
Pour evenly over bread cubes. Press the bread cubes slightly down to absorb the milk/egg mixture.
Top evenly with remaining berries. Sprinkle the streusel topping over top. Cover pan with foil.
Allow to chill in refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
When ready to bake, remove french toast from fridge. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 23-26 minutes or until fluffy and golden.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm with syrup and additional toppings if desired.