Heat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle of oven. Lightly butter one side of all the bread with 4T of softened butter. Set the bread, buttered side up, on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Meanwhile, hull and thickly slice strawberries. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 T sugar. Toss and set aside.
When bread is toasted, reduce oven temperature to 325 and set a large roasting pan half filled with water on the middle rack to act like a water bath. Trim the crusts off the bread and slice diagonally in half to form triangles.
Use the remaining 1 T butter to grease a 9x12 inch baking dish. Line the sides of the dish with pieces of bread, points up. Line the bottom of the dish with more bread. Stand the remaining bread, points up, wedged between the bottom slices. (Don't worry if there are some spaces in between the slices or if the pieces standing up are a bit leaned over).
Scatter almonds and chocolate chips over the bread and between the slices. Lift the strawberries with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices behind, scatter them around the dish.
In a large saucepan heat the half and half and the remaining 1 Cup of sugar over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture is hot but not boiling.
In a medium bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolks to blend. Whisk in vanilla. Remove the hot half and half from heat and immediately whisk into the eggs. Pour custard through a sieve into the baking dish. Set the dish in the rasting pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until custard is set.
Remove from water bath and serve warm, room temp or chilled.