August 21, 2009
I’ve taken a loss several times before when trying to make french toast that looks like the french toast I’ve had in a few good restaurants. I finally achieved beautiful slices of this breakfast dish, just the way I like, once I realized that it’s about the bread. Of course you have to get the basics for the dip right too – milk, egg, a little sweetness and spices.
Just like the papa al pomodoro recipe I featured earlier this month, french toast is a recipe for making use of day old (stale) bread. An ingenious recipe for not letting good food go to waste.
In order to get that classic french toast look and texture, use brioche or challah bread. I prefer brioche, but challah works fine as well. Brioche is a rich, yet airy french bread made with butter and eggs. Challah is a kosher bread often a part of Jewish holiday meals. It doesn’t include butter, which is what makes it kosher (butter and eggs can’t mix – or so I read). Brioche is sometimes braided, but not always, but from what I’ve seen in the bakery, challah is always braided.
These types of breads tend to allow for better absorption of the milk and egg mixture for french toast, and they’re the type of bread often used in restaurants so using them at home gives you a familiar look. Give it a try this weekend! Have you used other types of bread for making french toast?
Classic French Toast
Serves 2 – 4
4 slices of brioche or challah bread
1 cup of milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons maple syrup plus more for serving
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous sprinkle of cinnamon
Generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
In a wide shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Slice bread into one inch thick slices. One at a time, place the bread in the bowl with the milk and egg mixture for about 30 seconds, then flip to soak the other side for another 15 – 30 seconds. Set soaked bread aside.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter and then put two of the soaked bread slices into the skillet (all four slices if they fit easily). Cook on one side for about four minutes. Then flip and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes (re-flip if necessary to get a nice golden brown color).
Set the two cooked slices aside, melt the other tablespoon of butter and cook the remaining two soaked slices as described above. Once cooked, cut the slices on a diagonal and serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit.