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Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

A mixture of milk and cream delivers a custardy interior texture, but you could use 1½ cups whole milk if that’s what you’ve got on hand. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Ingredients

  • 6 ¾-inch-thick slices challah, brioche, or Pullman loaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Pure maple syrup, jam, or powdered sugar (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 250°. Lightly beat eggs, cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a large shallow baking dish (a lasagna pan is perfect). Add bread, turn to coat, then press down gently on bread until you feel it start to soak up custard mixture—this is key for a luscious, not dry, texture. Let soak, 10 minutes.

  • Flip bread and soak on second side, pressing down gently from time to time, until bread is saturated but not soggy, another 10 minutes or so.

  • Heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When foaming subsides, carefully lift 3 slices of bread from custard, letting excess drip back into dish, and cook in skillet until golden brown and center of toast springs back when pressed, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer toast to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven while you cook remaining slices of bread with 1 Tbsp. butter and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

  • Serve French toast with butter, maple syrup, jam, and/or powdered sugar.

Reviews SectionSuch a good recipe! I added cinnamon into the egg & cream mixture because I can't imagine French toast without a little warm spicy goodness. Made with brioche but mine wasn't as thick as the recipe so beware of not letting it get too soggy. Otherwise this is such a great recipe!!AnonymousMinneapolis06/14/20Just made this for breakfast! I cut this recipe in half and it was perfect. I used brioche bread from Trader Joe’s and added a dash of cinnamon to the custard. Topped with ripe strawberries and a dash of strawberries. Would 100% remake!AnonymousLos Angeles03/15/20Sorry not a review... but a question. If I can edit this I will add my review afterwards... is that a typo or am I reading it incorrectly. Soak the bread for 10 mins per side???Holy hell, this is amazing. More of a bread pudding texture than the french toast I'm used to, and it has OPENED MY EYES to what french toast was meant to be! I added a dash of vanilla to the custard and used homemade cinnamon milk bread for it, and all I have to say is: WOW. And so simple! It really is the kind of thing that can be thrown together in between the other steps of my morning routine.honeybeebutchMinneapolis08/31/19Loved this recipe! Will definitely be using it one again.An absolute winner! I did a test run for mother's day a few days in advance, following the steps as written, and was more than happy with the results. The only thing that I did differently for mother's day was add cinnamon, vanilla, and a dash of almond extract to the custard. Since I was making a lot for mothers day (30 pieces), I fried three pieces at a time two hours before everyone arrived but did NOT put them into the 250 degree oven. Instead, I placed them onto cookie sheets to cool and cooked them in a 400 degree oven when everyone arrived until warm and the custard was set. I used homemade brioche bread made in loaf pans and cut each slice diagonally before dredging.AnonymousVoorhees NJ USA05/15/19Straightforward and delicious made with an old italian loaf. The perfect basic recipe that can be dressed up on weekends.I like the recipe and the soaking technique. However, there are a few missing ingredients that make French toast, well, French toast: a teaspoon of vanilla extract and plenty of cinnamon! Perhaps there are regional differences in preferences. I also add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. Sometimes I add a dash of Penzey's Pie Spice in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg. I have not used heavy cream with the milk before; that is a nice adjustment I plan to make.wilron8628connecticut03/18/19i like the balance of cream to (whole) milk. i usually prefer savory French Toast, but butter and some powdered sugar or maple syrup might be a nice change. definitely challah slash brioche!hollis5Vero Beach, FL01/24/19

3 Eggs &ndash Medium sized room temperature eggs work best here. For a richer more custard french toast you can use replace 1 egg with two egg yolks. This is a great way to use up leftover egg yolks from recipes that just require egg whites.

1 Cup Milk &ndash I make this recipe with whole milk but this can be substituted. Soy, almond, oat or coconut milk can all be used as well as cream of half and half for a richer french toast recipe.

2 tsp Sugar (optional) &ndash French Toast can be served savoury so you may not want any sugar.

Flavorings (1 tsp ground cinnamon / 1 tsp Vanilla Essence) &ndash The flavorings you use depend on how you want to serve the french toast. Cinnamon and vanilla go really well with berries and whipped cream but you may not want them with just maple syrup.

8 Slices of Bread &ndash Any bread can be used here, I would recommend using what you have on hand. Make sure it&rsquos stale so it can soak up the egg mixture or instead leave the slices sitting out for a few hours to dry out.

Butter for frying &ndash Butter can be replaced with margarine or oil.


Preparation

  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, put a baking sheet on each rack, and heat the oven to 250°F.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish.
  • Working in batches, add 2 or 3 slices of bread (or as many as will fit in your skillet in a single layer) to the mixture and soak, turning once, until saturated but not falling apart, about 2 minutes total.
  • In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt about 1/2 Tbs. butter. When the foam subsides, use a slotted spatula to add the soaked bread in a single layer. Cook, turning once, until goldenbrown, 1-1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet in the oven, arranging the pieces in a single layer, to keep warm.
  • Repeat with the remaining bread, briefly rewhisking the batter before soaking, and wiping out the skillet and adding fresh butter between batches.
  • Serve drizzled with maple syrup.

Make Ahead Tips

The batter can be made ahead and kept at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

Go with fresh bread, not stale. Although stale bread may absorb somewhat more batter, fresh bread, which is softer to begin with, makes more tender French toast.

Recipe Notes

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Classic French Toast

Who does not like waking up in the morning with the smell of French toast?

The sweet, buttery, cinnamon eggy smell…so enticing…

I must confess that I do not make French toast as much as I should considering that I bake so much bread. Most of the time the bread is gone…

I purposely cut 4 thick slices of my egg sandwich bread and separated for this recipe.

Back in Brazil, we call it “rabanada” and usually serve by sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar, so the concept of maple syrup was totally new to me.

– Why French toast is so versatile?

You can use all kind of bread and all kind of egg mixture.

– How long should I dip the bread into the egg mixture?

I personally like mine French toast kind of crispy on the outside and almost creamy inside…almost like a bread pudding. Can you picture it?

– Ready to try this super easy and delicious recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk (or any dairy free milk of your preference)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 thick slices egg sandwich bread or challah
  • Butter

In a flat bottom plate whisk together egg, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon

Place bread slice, one at a time into the egg mixture and flip to the other side, making sure both sides of bread are well-coated with the egg mixture. Set aside.

Repeat with all the remaining slices of bread. Make sure the bread absorbs the egg mixture.

Melt butter in a large skillet and place the slices in skillet, cook on medium heat until golden brown and flip to the other side, about 3 minutes.

Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit or whatever your palate desire.


This classic French Toast recipe is the perfect breakfast for a family weekend. Many families love to get their kids involved in baking breakfast and this is the perfect recipe to bring them in to help out.

Milk and Eggs

There’s two schools of thought when it comes to French Toast recipes. The first is how much milk you use (this recipe uses a full cup when many people use half that amount) and the second is how many eggs you’re using.

The custard in the recipe is the most essential part. This recipe has a very slightly sweetened mixture of milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of vanilla. The combination of the strong flavors of vanilla and cinnamon are what gives French Toast most of the classic flavor people have loved for decades.

The milk adds moisture to the french toast and helps to effectively flavor the insides of the bread.

  • You can use any kind of milk you’d like, but we tested the recipe with whole milk. When testing with half and half or heavy cream, there was a slight increase in richness, but nothing substantial enough to warrant the extra fat content.
  • When testing with low-fat milk options the flavor of the egg was more prominent and the custard was thinner and less flavorful.
  • Evaporated milk could also be a shelf-stable option to consider, we have tested the recipe well with evaporated milk.
  • Sweetened Condensed milk should not be used as a milk substitute in this recipe, but you could use it for creating a syrup to serve with it.

Some people use up to an egg per slice of bread. The egg is meant to be a part of the mixture that just aids the setting of the custard, it isn’t meant to take the place of most of the mixture as the custard becomes too thick. Using more eggs also creates a tougher exterior to the French Toast that isn’t necessary, the eggs solidify making a more rubbery exterior.

Butter

Butter not only adds a fat component for cooking for the recipe, it also adds flavor. If you want to make a swap to the fat you’re using be aware that the mixture of vanilla and sugar and butter are meant to create a delicious, rich, flavor in the bread.

When cooking the recipe you’ll have to decide how much butter you feel comfortable using. We use a moderate amount (shown above) to make a golden brown exterior, crispy edges and with 8 slices of French Toast in the directions, it’s less than 25 calories of butter per slice.

If you prefer to use less, or none in favor of a spray, just know it will change the texture of your recipe.

MORE BREAKFAST RECIPES

Cream Cheese French Toast Bake

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast Bake

Overnight French Toast

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake

French Toast Tips and Tricks:

  • Use bread that’s thicker than most sliced bread.
  • Use a slightly sweeter bread like challah, brioche, cinnamon raisin bread or Texas toast instead of more savory breads like wheat bread.
  • In place of whole milk you can also use half and half or heavy cream. If you use fat free milk or 1% milk the custard will not be as flavorful and the egg will be a much more pronounced flavor.
  • When dunking the bread make sure to not let the bread soak indefinitely in the milk. If you were going to soak it all the way through it should be baked as part of a French toast casserole instead of on the griddle.

How to Make French Toast:

  • We make the custard the night before since it’s the only part of the recipe that requires preparation.
  • Once the custard is well mixed add the bread slices to the mixture and allow the milk to soak in before adding it to a buttered skillet or griddle.
  • Add the bread to the skillet and let it cook until the custard has completely set and the bread is crisp before flipping.
  • Quick and easy garnish people love, use a bit of powdered sugar sifted over the slices of bread and add a couple of pats of butter to the top of the slices before serving.

Classic French Toast

The real beauty of this recipe is that you can use old stale French bread — or any stale bread —that otherwise might be thrown out. When you have those leftover heels or a few slices that no one ate while it was fresh, you can put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag in the freezer. Whenever you have more stale bread, toss it in the bag in the freezer so you have plenty when you’re ready to make French toast.

Ingredients

12 slices of stale French bread

1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

Butter or canola oil, just enough for frying

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg, and mix well to incorporate.

Soak stale French bread slices in the egg mixture briefly, turning each slice over to ensure it is coated with the egg mixture on both sides.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add just a bit of butter or canola oil (enough to grease the entire pan lightly). When butter is melted (or oil is shimmering) and pan is hot, add bread slices soaked in egg mixture to the pan and fry them for 2-4 minutes, or until browned on one side.

Turn bread slices over and cook the other side for 2-4 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from pan and serve with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar and some maple syrup.


BEST BREAD FOR FRENCH TOAST

You might be wondering, “What is the best bread for French toast?” French toast is so versatile you can literally use whatever bread you have.

I used regular sliced white bread because it’s what we always have on hand. Many people like to use Texas toast for thicker slices.

For true “French Toast,” use a loaf of French bread and cut it as thick as you like. Brioche or challah bread is great to use for a richer, more indulgent French toast.

In Utah we have a couple of bakeries that make a Cinnamon Chip Bread that is my absolute favorite bread for homemade French toast. Cinnamon swirl bread is really good too.

Stale bread will soak up more of the custard, but I prefer a super moist bread for baked French toast.


How to Make French Toast That's Just as Easy as It Is Decadent

Start your day off right with this recipe for decadent French toast.

French toast has always been a weekend brunch favorite: It&rsquos a classic that will win everyone over, every time. And you can easily make the dish extra special by serving it with fun toppings: maple syrup, fresh fruit, chopped nuts and chocolate sauce. Just think, &ldquoWhat would I love to put on an ice cream sundae?&rdquo and then put that out for your French Toast bar!

But if you've never made it before and are wondering how to make French toast, the classic recipe is so simple. You don&rsquot have to make a batter like you do with pancakes or waffles and it&rsquos made up of ingredients that you probably already have on hand: eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, and bread. Of course, there are so many ways to elevate French toast, but it all starts with this basic recipe.

The best part about French toast is that you can make it with any kind of bread imaginable. Just use whatever you have around: Sourdough, banana bread, challah, or even croissants will work. Depending on the bread you use, you might have a softer or sturdier French toast, but we&rsquoll get to that later. French toast is so versatile, it can be made for a simple weekday breakfast, a fancy weekend brunch, or even a holiday feast. On occasions when you&rsquore serving a crowd, try a French toast casserole. Or on a day when you wake up just needing something a little indulgent (we all deserve that sometimes!) this French toast recipe will do the trick.

How do you make French toast from scratch?

Homemade French toast is so easy, you&rsquoll have it whipped up in no time. Just remember three simple steps: whisk, dip, cook. First, you whisk up your custard, then you dip in your bread, and finally you cook both sides until they&rsquore golden brown. Oh, but there is one last step that&rsquos very important: adding toppings! This is where you can really have some fun. Try some of our favorite toppings: butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, fruit, whipped cream, granola, chopped nuts, and caramel sauce.

Why is my French toast soggy?

The key to making great French toast is making it not too soggy and not too dry. There's nothing worse than French toast that&rsquos undercooked on the inside, and burned on the outside. To avoid these mistakes, try to remember three simple French toast rules:

  1. The best French toast starts with good quality bread. If the bread is too soft or too thin, it won&rsquot hold up to the thick custard. This usually means avoiding generic sliced sandwich bread. We prefer a thicker slice of good quality bread instead. If all you have is sandwich bread, don&rsquot worry! You can still make a delicious French toast in the form of Crunchy French Toast.
  2. It&rsquos all about the custard. The basis for a creamy custard is eggs and milk. We prefer using half-and-half for its richness, but whole milk or even cream will work well. The custard needs to be completely whisked together. Add a touch of vanilla, some sugar for sweetness, and a bit of cinnamon for flavor, then soak the bread. To avoid a soggy mess, don&rsquot let the bread sit in the custard for too long (this isn&rsquot a bath)&mdashit should be dipped in to soak up just enough liquid on each side.
  3. Control the heat. This is important to avoid overcooking or burning your French toast. Start by pre-heating a non-stick skillet over low heat, then add the butter, and after you add your toast, hover between low and medium-low, depending on how hot your stove gets. It cooks up quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it.

What's the best bread for making French toast?

While any bread will work in this recipe, it&rsquos also important to remember that bread is the central ingredient, so it should be a good quality, tasty bread. Picking a loaf of bread rather than a pre-sliced bread gives you the ability to make thicker slices or even cubes (if you&rsquore making a French toast casserole). Here are our recommendations for bread:

- Brioche or Challah: Buttery and creamy.

- French bread: Hardy and chewy. Make sure to let this bread soak up the custard a little longer.

- Texas Toast: Thick, country style bread with fluffy texture.

- Cinnamon bread: Try this bread for some extra flavor.

- Croissants: Light, airy, and slightly crisp.

Can you make French toast in advance?

Sometimes cooking French toast on the spot can be a daunting task, especially when you have a million other things going on. We get it&mdashmornings can get busy! To make French toast even easier, you can prepare everything in advance. Make the full recipe, then arrange the cooked French toast slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 250˚F for up to 30 minutes to keep them warm. To freeze, place the baking sheet in the freezer until firm, then transfer to a sealed container for up to 3 months.


Classic French toast

I admit it. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with French toast.

When I was a kid, there was a simple magic to it: The way the soaked bread would puff in the pan, the toast crisping to a rich, golden brown in the hot fat. Fresh out of the pan, the dish was topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, like a dusting of fresh snow. This was dessert for breakfast -- it almost felt wrong. With each bite, the crisp, almost brittle crust would give way to a tender, soft-as-a-pillow interior, subtle with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and fragrant notes of vanilla.

As I started to cook for myself, it became a go-to recipe for its sheer ease and simplicity.

French toast remains a favorite breakfast choice. Done right, there’s an unpretentious beauty to this classic comfort food. But there is an art to French toast.

Sometimes there’s nothing as tempting as a plate of crisp, thick slices piled high on a plate with a sprinkling of sugar. But this is one dish that’s not limited to the classic presentation. Try soaking the toast overnight, then baking it as a casserole the next morning the toast will swell like a souffle in the oven as the scent of spiced custard fills the house. Or try stuffing the bread before frying, hiding a pocket of soft cheese, maybe chocolate or even a savory filling inside. This is one dish that’s not limited to the skillet, or even the breakfast plate.

Great French toast starts with the bread, but though almost any bread can be used in a French toast recipe, enriched breads with a loose structure, such as brioche or challah, are favorites. Still, whole-grain breads can give the toast an almost rustic appeal.

Slice the bread thick -- about an inch-- so there is still plenty of soft interior after the exterior of the bread crisps. Let the slices dry a little -- dry bread, like a dry sponge, will absorb the custard batter more readily.

With the custard, it’s all about the ratio of dairy to eggs. Recipes will vary -- a few eggs can be whisked with as little as a couple of tablespoons or as much as a cup of dairy. The more dairy, the lighter the custard less dairy means a heavier, richer custard with the egg more prominent. And though milk works fine in the custard base, nothing beats the richness and silky texture of cream.

Add other flavors to the custard with a light hand, so as not to interfere too much with the toppings. Vanilla or almond extract will add a little richness, citrus zest will brighten the flavors and a dash of liqueur will add extra personality. A little spice -- cinnamon, nutmeg -- is classic, and a pinch of star anise, cardamom or allspice might add an exotic note. Or try a little chile powder, paprika or garlic for a savory take on the dish.

Leave the bread in the custard long enough to get soaked through but not completely saturated, maybe a couple of minutes on each side, depending on the bread. Then gently fry the bread in a hot skillet lightly coated with fat. Butter is traditional (and nothing beats the flavor of a little browned butter), though it can burn if not watched closely. Clarified butter or a neutral oil also works well. For more robust flavor, go with a hardier fat, such as bacon grease.

And though a skillet or griddle is the most common, it is by no means the only way to cook French toast. Try cooking it in a waffle iron or even a panini press (great for stuffed French toast). If using a skillet, make sure it is heavy enough to evenly heat, and cover the toast as it’s frying so it cooks evenly.

French toast can also be baked. Bread slices are assembled in a baking dish with the custard poured over to soak. Baked like a casserole, the toast souffles in the oven, still crisp but much more like a bread pudding in texture.

Maybe the best thing about baked French toast is that virtually all the work is done ahead of time. Assemble the dish the night before to soak and refrigerate it. The next morning, remove the baking dish from the fridge as the oven heats so it can warm slightly (for even baking). Top the bread with whatever you want, then put it in the oven. In less than an hour, breakfast is ready. It’s a perfect dish when you have houseguests.

There must be a reason stuffed French toast seems to be showing up on more menus lately. Maybe because you can never have too much of a good thing. Slices of battered bread are sandwiched around a variety of fillings --jams, cream cheese, mascarpone -- before frying, then plated with a wide variety of sauces, glazes and toppings.

Methods vary, but the process is fairly simple: Use thinner slices of bread and batter them as you would for classic French toast (batter on one side only if you have a particularly moist filling). Then fill the sandwich. Use a thick jam or a fruit compote, try a flavored or herbed soft cheese or even a spread (Nutella, anyone?). Spoon the filling onto one side of the sandwich, leaving enough room around the edge so the filling does not spill out as the French toast cooks. Then gently fry over moderate heat, keeping the pan covered so the sandwich cooks evenly. Voila.

And the method works great with savory fillings. Take what you have in the refrigerator and improvise -- maybe a little caramelized onion, cheese, bacon and leftover dandelion greens. Served with a tart salad and a glass of wine, it makes a perfect meal to close the day.


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