Jun 29 2015
French toast is something that seems pretty easy, doesn’t it? I mean, you take some bread, let it go for a swim in milk and eggs, and then fry it up in a boatload of butter. But, if you want to get French toast that you’ll be thinking about for the rest of the day, there are a few things you can do to make this breakfast basic truly fantastic.
- Use the right bread. That thinly sliced Wonder bread might be fresh, soft and delicious, but it’s not the stuff you want to use for French toast. If you do, it will fall flat – if it doesn’t fall apart first. What you want to use is a thick bread that has a very dense crumb. Think cake, but in bread form. Oh yeah, it’s already gettin’ good! Thick-sliced country bread, Challah, and brioche are all great choices that will stand up to the soaking you’re about to put it through.
- The drier the bread, the better. Bread is already pretty moist. Add more moisture to that and well, you can guess what’s going to happen. By using dry bread, the custard have plenty to soak into so either lay your bread out the night before or put it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes before making your French toast.
- Strain your custard. This is a must. Even if you’ve whipped up your custard using a mixer, there’s a chance that you’ll still have stringy bits of egg in there – and that does not a good custard make. Instead, strain it before you place your bread in and you’ll have smooth, rich custard with no stringy bits.
- Use full fat. You are, after all, having French toast. Now is not the time to skimp. Unless you have some kind of food allergy or special dietary requirements, use full-fat cream or at the very least, full-fat milk. Again, this will help add to the creaminess of the custard and you’ll be happy you did.
- Really saturate that bread. Just getting the surface of the bread wet will give you a creamy exterior, but you’ll find it also won’t penetrate the bread enough to give you that soft, creamy interior. To make sure that my bread is really saturated, I place my bread on the custard, flip it over, and then push the bread down into the custard, holding it completely submerged for a few seconds. If you’re using the right bread, it still won’t fall apart, but it will give you that creamy, yolky inside you’re looking for.
- Get that pan hot! And you need to do it before you put any bread in. If you don’t, the egg is going to seep out from underneath it and form a pool for the French toast to cook in. It won’t only be difficult to cook, it will be difficult and unappetizing to eat. By making sure your pan is hot, hot, hot, the eggs will start to cook as soon as they hit it, and you’ll be on your way to perfect French toast.
- After frying it, bake it. Okay, this isn’t a must for perfect French toast, but it’s a technique I’ve recently found and have fallen in love with. Baking French toast makes it act a bit like quiche in the way that it will puff up and become even more luscious. Just like quiche, it will start to fall quickly after you’ve removed it from the oven but if nothing else, it really fills the house with all those great baking aromas. It makes me happy, happy, and I bet it will for you, too.
- Use the recipe below. It’s the one I use when I’m cooking French toast for my family, and I haven’t had any complaints yet.
1 1/3 cups full-fat milk or cream $0.50
3 eggs $0.60
1 tablespoon sugar $0.01
1 tablespoon vanilla extract $0.66
1 teaspoon cinnamon $0.15
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg $0.08
Pinch of salt $0.01
6 – 8 slices thick bread $0.09
4 tablespoons butter, for frying $0.24
Powdered sugar and/or maple syrup, for serving $1.00
Total cost $3.34
Cost per serving $0.84
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Whisk the milk or cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Strain the custard into a shallow bowl or casserole dish.
3.) Soak the bread in the custard mixture. You can do this in batches, soaking some slices while frying the others, or if your dish is big enough, you can do it all at once.
4.) Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is starting to foam, your pan is hot enough to add the bread. If your frying pan is big enough you can do all the slices at once, or fry them in batches and move them to a baking sheet as they’re finished. You want to fry the French toast for a couple of minutes on each side. This is building the crunchy exterior that’s one of the best parts of French toast.
5.) Once all of your French toast has been fried, place it all on the baking sheet and place the entire thing in the oven. Bake the French toast for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s entirely golden and puffed up.
6.) Sprinkle all French toast with powdered sugar and/or drizzle with maple syrup and serve and enjoy!