I know that I promised Caroline that the Croissant Breakfast casserole would be the next recipe … but I realized that I don’t have a picture of it yet because it is eaten so quickly.
So – today is our semi-famous French Toast:
This is less of a recipe, and more of a technique – you’ll get a feel for the right custard consistency with practice. And no – it isn’t too much cinnamon 🙂
French Toast – 8 pieces
1 loaf challah bread
6 eggs – break them into a liquid measuring cup first, because you’ll need:
Equal volume of heavy cream
Equal volume of whole milk
1+ tablespoons cinnamon
1-ish tablespoon allspice
Dash of salt
Ground nutmeg and/or ground cloves if you want
Butter – one stick, very soft
Griddle or pan (to cook the toast)
Mixing bowl and whisk
Pastry brush (I like silicone ones)
Tongs for dipping (or you can use your hands)
Spatula for flipping
1. Preheat oven to 325° F
2. Slice the challah into 8 thick slices (at least an inch, or however wide you can make them depending on how big your loaf is). Let it dry out a bit while you have a cup of coffee and prepare the custard.
3. Beat the eggs in a bowl large enough to easily dip a slice of challah. Add the spices and a dash of salt and mix very well. It will be light brown. Drink another cup of coffee.
4. About 15 minutes before you are ready to start, put your griddle or pan into the oven to preheat. This will ensure that it is evenly heated when you start.
5. Add the milk and heavy cream to the egg mixture and mix well. The custard should be rather thick – it should flow, not run. If that makes sense. Which it probably doesn’t. The goal is for the custard to sink slowly into the challah, not immediately saturate it.
6. Dip each piece of bread into the custard, letting it sit for a couple of seconds submerged in the mixture. Remove to a glass baking dish and let sit while you dip the rest of the bread slices. These can sit for quite a while, the longer they rest the custard-ier the toast will be (see “Hints” below).
7. When you’re ready to cook, get your griddle or pan out of the oven. If using a pan, be sure to put a towel or hot pad on the handle so you don’t just grab the handle out of habit. I learned this the hard way 🙁 Put the griddle or pan on medium or medium-low heat on the stove top burners. Turn the oven off.
8. Spread a little of the butter around the pan (you can stick it on a knife or use your pastry brush), then put as many pieces of toast as can fit comfortably, but don’t crowd them or allow them to touch each other.
9. Let cook, undisturbed until the toast is dry on the bottom and just beginning to brown. Use visual clues instead of looking at the time … adjust the heat if it is browning too fast (or too slow).
10. Flip the toast with your spatula, and then brush a little butter on the dry surface (the one that just cooked).
11. Continue to cook – rather slowly – flipping as necessary to keep the browning even. Brush a little butter on the top each time you flip, or to taste. You may want to use less butter. You’ll be wrong, but I won’t hold it against you. The toast should be a deep, golden brown with slightly caramelized edges. Time for more coffee!
12. If you need to cook in batches, put the finished toast on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in a warm oven. If you remembered to turn the oven off after you removed the pan or griddle, it should still be warm. If it is hot, crack the door.
Lucky #13. Put the French Toast on warm plates and dust with a little powdered sugar. Serve with real maple syrup (of course) and anything else you like. You can use peanut butter and bananas, maple butter, fruit compote … the sky is the limit. Enjoy!
You may need to stir the custard after every couple of bread slices to keep the spices suspended in the mixture.
Be sure the French toast is cooked through. The thicker the bread, the longer it takes (up to 10 minutes on medium-low heat) If you poke it with your finger, it shouldn’t be super squishy in the middle. Well, a little squishy is OK if you like it that way. Think moist sponge vs wet sponge.
If you substitute low-fat anything, your custard will be thinner and might get the bread too wet. If you need low-fat substitutes then don’t let the bread sit very long after dipping. If you use regular white or gluten-free bread, don’t let it sit long either.
If you like custard-iest French toast, you can ladle a little custard into the baking dish before placing the dipped challah slices in. You can also ladle custard over the bread while it is resting.
You will probably have left-over custard.
I use silicone-tipped tongs to dip the bread, but you can use your hands if you want. I’d recommend wearing gloves if you do. Metal tongs can rip the bread.
You can spread the toast out on a baking sheet (use parchment paper or foil coated with cooking spray), and bake at 350° for – well – however long. Flip the toast once during baking and spread with butter. I don’t do this often, so I’m not 100% sure on baking time.
Yes – there are easier ways to make French toast 🙂