Make fresh pears a highlight of your savory breakfast with this bacon and cheese strata. Drying the bread cubes for this strata helps them absorb the egg mixture more readily.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 4 to 6-qt. Dutch oven cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from Dutch oven and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 1 tablespoon drippings from Dutch oven. Add shallot; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more or until shallot is softened. Add pears; cook and stir 2 minutes more or just until pears are softened. Remove from heat; transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in bacon, honey and thyme; cool slightly.
Wipe out Dutch oven with paper towels (or wash and dry, if necessary); coat with cooking spray. Place half of the bread cubes in the Dutch oven. Top with half of the pear mixture and a third of the cheese. Repeat layers. In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper; pour over mixture in Dutch oven. Press bread down lightly to moisten. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Cover and bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand, covered, about 15 minutes. Drizzle strata with additional honey and sprinkle and additional thyme.
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Cut bread into cubes and arrange in two large baking pans. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring twice; cool. (Bread will continue to dry as it cools.)Let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.