Monday, October 3, 2011

French Toast

My family loves French toast!  But we rarely have it these days, because I like to use homemade bread.  Since April was born, I haven’t had much time to make my own bread.  Can’t imagine why.  Well, last week, I just couldn’t resist anymore.  Instead of vacuuming the floor, I made bread.  And the floor is still unvacuumed.  But we had the best French toast Saturday morning!

If you don’t want to make your own bread, you can use regular sandwich bread, but a better option is the unsliced bread in the bakery.  French toast ends up with a better texture when the slices are thicker than pre-sliced bread.  I don’t actually measure, but I would guess that I slice it ½- to ¾-inches thick.

Regardless of what type of bread you use, the key to French toast that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (not soggy) is to stale the bread.  You don’t want it completely dry as when you are making croutons.  The night before you want to make French toast, lay bread out on a rack about dinner time.  Before going to bed, flip all the pieces over and leave out overnight.

I like to make little loaves for the kids!

I slice it thicker than pre-sliced bread.

There is a lot of variety among cooks as far as the egg dip used to make French toast.  While I would like to someday experiment with some fancier custards, for now I use a very simple egg, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon mixture.  I usually don’t even measure, I just mix it all together so the eggs are thinned and it is flavored.

The size, type, and staleness of your bread will determine how many eggs you need.  I’ve found that I generally need 1-1½ eggs for every 2 slices of bread.

French Toast
4 eggs
about 3 Tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Butter for pan
6-8 slices staled bread
Desired toppings:  butter, syrup, fresh fruit, whipped cream, peanut butter, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, cinnamon…

Preheat skillet over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon (or whisk together in bowl and pour into shallow dish).

Add 1-2 Tbsp. butter to pan.  Once butter is melted, dip bread into egg mixture and place in pan.

I use my hands, but tongs would work too.

Cook until golden; flip.  Cook second side until golden.  Remove from pan; top as desired.

Little French toast!  So cute!

Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle.

French toast sticks?  Follow the same procedure, but cut
bread slices into sticks.

To store leftovers, cool completely and transfer to zip-top bag.  Store in freezer.  The best method of reheating can vary depending on the thickness of your bread.  Thin French toast can be reheated in the toaster.  Thicker toast won’t get hot in the middle before the outside burns.  In our house, we usually microwave the frozen French toast to slightly heat it, then toast it on medium-low to finish heating it and crisp up the outside.

If I have time in the semi-near future, I’d like to share with you how I make stuffed French toast—so yummy!  Keep your eyes open for that one!


StaceyN said...

Wow, you are a woman after my own heart :-). I swear that French toast plus pregnancy is the reason I need to lose about 30 pounds!!

Your mixture is definitely much eggier than what I use, and I think I will try it next time. After all, a little more protein is a good thing, and I’m always trying to keep up with our laying hens.

I like to use the Seattle brand cracked wheat sourdough bread that I buy at the bakery outlet for something like $1.75 per 24-oz. loaf. We like the sourness and how dry it is. I never thought to dry out my own homemade bread. I'll have to try that one, too, when I run out of sourdough in the freezer. Do you use whole wheat or a white bread recipe for your homemade French toast?

I have given up on using a pan for French toast, since my family eats SOOOO much for breakfast, and we have French toast so often. Instead, I melt I cube of butter in a jelly roll pan that is as big as the inside of my oven (something like 16x22, I think), spread out the butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon, then pack as many slices of soaked bread as I can on top of it (most of a 24 oz. loaf, usually, or about 2 lbs. of bread if I cut it myself). I sprinkle the tops with more cinnamon and then bake at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes or so. At that temp, there is no need to flip them since the tops crisp up as well as the bottoms. Sometimes I spread a little softened butter over the tops when they're finished, if I'm feeling really ambitious. This way, we can still have French toast without the messy stovetop (I'm a super-sloppy cook) and without having to stand over a hot pan, flipping bread, until lunchtime, 'cause that's how long it would take me to fill up my family if I had to do it a panful at a time :-).

We rarely have much left over, but when we do, we usually microwave it like your family does. And I have found that I like it microwaved the second day even better than fresh. Maybe because I didn't have make it that day!!

Sumiko said...


I can only imagine how much all your men, big and little, eat at breakfast! For now, we can get away with no more than one homemade loaf, but I'm sure that will only last a few more years as the boys grow.

When I make my own bread for French toast, it is usually white. It just tastes so good and is a special treat for my family. This last time, I ran out of white flour and ended up with mostly white/some wheat bread. Robbie said he liked it better than the white! I'm going to have to play around with the ratios and see what's ideal.

I like the idea of making it in the oven. I'll have to try your method. I tried one recipe that had a bunch of sugar in it--rather than putting syrup on top, you bake it in. I basically ended up with a baking dish glazed with caramelized sugar and sticky bread. Do you use a metal or pyrex-type pan?

Thanks for your input and tips! Love 'em!

StaceyN said...

I use a metal pan with a ¾ to 1 inch edge. Cash and Carry has extra large stainless steel baking pans for a really good price, and I have to have one that is big enough to take up my whole oven, or someone will walk away from breakfast hungry. You can also use two smaller metal baking pans that fit side-by-side and fill the oven. This is what I used to do before I had a dishwasher that would fit the largest pan (I hand wash a little as humanly possible).

This may sound weird, considering how much melted butter I put into the pan, but I always spray with cooking spray first. I have found that, even with the butter, the French toast can stick if I do not spray before spreading the butter.

I also make oven hash browns and other typically pan-fried foods in the oven this way at 500 degrees. We usually end up liking it better (as long as I add enough butter or olive oil), and it produces more food with much, much less mess and work.

Let me kow how it works out if you decide to make the oven French toast.

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