The smell of French toast cooking up on the stove should make a morning person out of anyone.  There are few breakfasts that feel as indulgent, but it couldn’t be easier to make!  Tender and creamy on the inside, a little crunchy and nicely browned on the outside. And it should be said that leftovers heat up beautifully in the microwave, so make a few extra pieces and then you might be able to turn a droopy weekday morning into something special.

Challah French Toast

In some parts of the world French Toast is called “eggy toast,” “Bombay toast”, “gypsy toast” and ”poor nights of Windsor”.   In France it is actually called “pain perdu” which means “lost bread” as they bread is dunked into an eggy custard to soak for a while.  However, French toast is not technically French – the most reasonable story is that a man named Joseph French invented it, though this isn’t set in stone.  Whatever you call it, it’s a fan favorite wherever you go.

Challah French Toast: SO easy to make! Tender and creamy on the inside, a little crunchy and nicely browned on the outside. Pass the syrup!

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Best Bread for French Toast 

Challah is far and away my favorite bread to use for making French Toast.  The bread is made with eggs, so it is richer than plain white loaves, and the middle becomes almost custardy in texture when it is soaked in a milk and egg mixture, then griddled up on a pan.  Brioche is another egg-based bread that is a great choice.  And you can definitely use a plain Pullman loaf if you like — just make sure your slices are nice and thick.

Challah French Toast

You will want to use challah (or any bread) that is a bit on the dry side, meaning it needs to be a few days old.  When I have a fresh challah, I simply slice it 3/4-inch thick, and leave the slices on the counter for about 24 hours to dry out a bit.  Flip them sometime in the middle of the day so that both sides have a chance to air dry.  Or put them on a wire rack, and then you can just let them dry without having to flip them.

For the egg custard I almost always lean into more full fat dairy products, preferring a smaller portion of a richer dish to a larger portion of a less satisfying one.  You can definitely make your own call on that, but whole milk will give you the richest version of French toast, 2% a bit less so, 1% will work fine, and skim milk…well, let’s just say I’m not a fan.  But if you are watching your fat and calories for dietary reasons, then please go ahead and use what you wish!

Challah French Toast

How to Make French Toast

Use a whisk or a fork to beat the eggs in a wide shallow bowl, or baking pan.  Beat in the vanilla, cinnamon (if using), sugar, and salt.  Add the milk and whisk to combine thoroughly.

Challah French Toast

Heat a very large skillet over medium heat.  While the skillet is heating up, place a piece of the challah in the milk mixture and let it sit for about 1 minute.  Flip the bread and let soak for another minute.    If your bread is very dry it might need to soak for longer, take it out when it is soaked through, but not mushy.

Challah French Toast

When the skillet is quite hot, take the bread from the milk mixture, allow any excess to drip back into the bowl. Melt a tablespoon of the butter in the pan, swirling it to coat the bottom.  Place the dipped bread in the skillet, and repeat with more slices, sitting as many pieces in the pan as possible in a single layer.  

Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the French Toast to a serving plate or platter.  Repeat with the remaining butter and dipped bread.

Challah French Toast

Serve the French toast hot with confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and whatever other toppings you like.

Tips for Making Perfect French Toast:

  • Mix the custard batter thoroughly, so you don’t get patches of just egg or milk
  • Use two skillets to make the cooking go faster, especially if you are making it for a crown. (Also see Make Ahead French Toast Casserole!)
  • Make sure your bread slices are around ¾-inch thick, no more than 1-inch thick – thinner slices might get too soggy in the custard dip and fall apart.  Thicker slices are hard to cook through properly.
  • Make sure you soak the bread for just long enough. Too long and it will get soggy and disintegrate, too short and the milk and egg mixture won’t penetrate to the center of the bread, offering that custardy texture in the middle.
  • Use moderate heat. Too high and the bread will burn on the outside, too low and it won’t get that nicely browned crusty exterior.
  • Make sure to preheat the pan – again, this will allow for the nice browned exterior.
  • Use a heavy skillet if possible, which holds heat more evenly – cast iron is perfect, regular or enameled.
Challah French Toast

What to Serve with Challah French Toast:

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Challah French Toast

SO easy to make! Tender and creamy on the inside, a little crunchy and nicely browned on the outside. Pass the syrup!
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Diet: Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk (I prefer whole)
  • 1 loaf slightly stale challah , sliced ¾ inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons butter for cooking, approximately, divided

For Serving (pick and choose, or combine):

  • Maple syrup
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Berries or chopped soft fruit , like ripe peaches or nectarines

Directions

  • Use a whisk or a fork to beat the eggs in a wide shallow bowl, or baking pan. Beat in the vanilla, cinnamon (if using), sugar, and salt. Add the milk and whisk to combine thoroughly.
  • Heat a very large skillet over medium heat. While the skillet is heating up, place a piece of the challah in the milk mixture and let it sit for about 1 minute. Flip the bread and let soak for another minute. If your bread is very dry it might need to soak for longer, take it out when it is soaked through, but not mushy.
  • When the skillet is quite hot, take the bread from the milk mixture, allow any excess to drip back into the bowl, and then melt a tablespoon of the butter in the pan, swirling it to coat the bottom. Place the dipped bread in the skillet, and repeat with more slices, sitting as many pieces in the pan as possible in a single layer. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the French Toast to a serving plate or platter. Repeat with the remaining butter and dipped bread.
  • Serve the French toast hot with confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and whatever other toppings you like.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 603mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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