I believe I have previously expressed my complete lack of interest in French toast. There are far better outcomes that originate from the union of bread and egg. In general I would prefer not to get involved with sweet breakfast, and if I must, I never opt for French toast. This means that I have not made or eaten French toast in years and subsequently cannot recall the last time that I would have been motivated to do so. French toast just always seemed like such a waste of perfectly delicious ingredients. A stale piece of bread soaked in egg and half-heartedly fried in a bit of butter? Cue sad trombone playing “womp womp womp” notes.
I’m an idiot though because as it turns out, French toast is actually a damn delight. Why did I let other people’s idea of French toast define my sweet breakfast experience? Why wasn’t I taking things into my own hands and making better French toast in my own home? Why haven’t I made this every time I had no food in the house except for bread and eggs? So many hasty decisions; so much time spent in the absence of this French toast.
This recipe has so many pleasant qualities to it, not least of all its simplicity and short time commitment. Although the ingredient list is short and simple, the one slightly demanding item is the bread itself. It is imperative that you make this toast with a good loaf of buttery, rich brioche or challah. Brioche is usually available at good bakeries and higher-end supermarkets. Challah can be purchased from delis or bakeries specializing in Jewish products. If neither can be sourced, a soft loaf of good-quality white bread (unsliced) would be a fine substitute. Whole wheat and/or pre-sliced bread would NOT be a fine substitute and should not even be entertained as an option.
Surprisingly, this French toast (once fried) keeps in the refrigerator relatively well. It can be reheated on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet in a 250 degree F oven, or in the microwave if you’re desperate. I wouldn’t keep it for over 24 hours for quality’s sake, but it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself in a position where you haven’t eaten it cold by the light of the fridge before the next day arrives.
BA’s Best: French Toast
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
Serves 2, though this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled
6 large eggs
¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup white sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
6 slices of challah or brioche bread (~ ¾-inch thick)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided + more for serving
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
Maple syrup, marmalade, and/or powdered sugar, for serving
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. In a shallow baking dish (e.g. a lasagna pan or casserole dish), lightly beat the eggs, cream, milk, sugar, and salt. Add the bread slices, turning to coat. Very gently press your hand down on the bread, letting it soak up the eggy custard as best it can. Leave the bread to soak for 10 minutes. Flip the bread and soak the second side for 10 more minutes. Press down on the bread very slightly to help saturate it if needed.
Place a cooling rack inside a large baking sheet and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet set over medium heat. The butter should foam and then subside, at which point you can carefully lay in 2 slices of soaked bread, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the baking dish first. Fry the bread until the underside is golden-brown and springy to the touch (roughly 2-3 minutes). Flip the slices and cook on the other side until also golden and firm. I then like to do a 3rd flip just to do a last sear of caramelization for 30 seconds or so. Place the finished slices on the prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining slices. Wipe out the skillet with paper towel between batches, then add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil to the pan prior to each fry.
Serve the French toast in a rustic stack, laden with butter and maple syrup. Alternatively, you could cut each slice into fat fingers then spread them thickly with butter and marmalade before dusting with powdered sugar.