This lesson is 467 words, a 1 min 52 second reading time. It is part of our Winter Collection.
A brunchtime classic, french toast is hearty, delicious, and quite customizable. An excellent use of stale bread, french toast elevates the most basic ingredients (e.g., eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, oil) and turns them into a fluffy, scrumptious, crispy-on-the-edges treat.
The trick to french toast is temperature control, which makes it a great practice recipe. Once you get down the fundamentals, experiment a bit with your flavorings & toppings. You never know what you will discover!
Makes one serving
Two slices of bread
¼ cup milk/cream
Kosher salt (big pinch)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Neutral oil (e.g., canola, safflower)
Sugar (optional, 1-2 teaspoons per serving)
Additional flavorings/toppings (optional)
Vigorously whisk all ingredients except bread in a flat & wide dish.
Soak bread in the custard for ~5 minutes.
Heat a pan for medium-high for ~2 min & then add oil.
Fry the bread 3-4 min per side on medium heat, until golden brown.
Serve hot with toppings.
📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks
Dry, stale bread is best as it absorbs custard more easily.
Thick slices of airy bread (e.g., challah, brioche) are tastiest. They have more heft and fluff up while cooking.
Ends, bread with crusts, & sliced bread all work fine too.
Too much dairy and the egg won’t cook through.
Half & half adds extra richness.
*Do not fry in butter alone* — butter burns quickly, leading to browned exteriors and goopy, undercooked interiors.
Instead, use a neutral oil of your choice (e.g., canola, coconut). For buttery flavor, add some towards the end of cooking.
If the custard seeps out under the bread while cooking, you did not pre-heat the pan sufficiently.
To avoid scorching, turn to a low-medium once the bread & custard are cooking.
Non-stick pans work best as eggs are sticky.
At the first scent of smoke, briefly remove the pan from heat.
For ultimate efficiency, slice & freeze leftover bread whenever possible. Store in a zip bag in the freezer. Soak slices directly from frozen.
Jam heated in the microwave (~15 seconds) makes for a delightful warm topping.
For stuffed french toast, spread a layer of goat or cream cheese between two thin pieces of bread, soak & fry.
Example soaking vessels: pie dish, baking dish or pan, wide & shallow bowl
Dietary Restrictions: For dairy-free use nut milk/cream & skip the butter. For gluten-free, use GF bread.
📓 French Toast Reference Guide
Bread: challah, brioche, white, wheat, sourdough, rye
Custard flavorings: cinnamon, maple syrup, bourbon, cardamom, nutmeg, orange/lemon zest, honey, brown sugar
Toppings: hot jam/preserves, butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, whipped cream, fresh fruit, nutella
🎓 Further Study
Challah French Toast [NYTimes]
14 French Toast Recipes [Spruce Eats]
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