Retro Post: Adventure #5: Best French Toast Ever
I’m working on a new format for my posts, since I’ve discovered that the biggest barrier between me and blogging is sheer laziness. I have pictures of all my kitchen extravaganzas, they just don’t make it up here. So, from now on (and cleverly going backwards with some back dated posts) I am going to document in pictures, only making notes where something significant happened or I changed something. Now I just need a staging table so that my pictures don’t have construction equipment in the background…
This adventure is a recurring recipe in our house, a frequent staple of large brunches and lazy weekends. It was discovered as a necessity – Double H Farms outside of Charlottesville makes the best challah bread I have ever had, and challah bread makes the best french toast, so naturally we needed the best french toast recipe.
French Toast for Challah or Sandwich Bread
The New Best Recipe, All-New Edition
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 slices day-old challah, 3/4 inch thick, or 6-8 slices of day-old high quality sandwich bread
- Unsalted butter for frying (1 Tbsp per batch)
- Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg lightly in a shallow pan or pie plate.
- Whisk in the melted butter, then the milk and vanilla, then finally the sugar, flour, and salt. Continue whisking until smooth.
- Soak the bread without over-saturating, about 40 seconds per side for challah or 30 seconds per side for sandwich bread.
- Pick up the bread and allow the excess batter to drip off; repeat with remaining slices.
- Swirl 1 Tbsp butter in the hot skillet.
- Transfer the prepared bread to the skillet in a single layer.
- Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute 45 seconds on the first side and 1 minute on the second side.
- Serve the French toast immediately.
- Continue, adding 1 Tbsp butter to the skillet for each new batch.
- I found the first time that I made this, that the when the milk is added to the batter, the butter tends to solidify, making the batter a bit clumpy. I like to warm the milk a little, either leaving it out for a while, or heating it to around room temperature on low power in the microwave, before mixing.
- I used buttermilk this time, because I happened to have some, and was a little worried that it would be a negative change. I could barely tell, but I think the end result was just slightly less sweet. Still delicious.
- I have never soaked an entire batch of bread before beginning to cook. Granted, C. is usually acting as my second pair of hands, so we have time to start each piece immediately after soaking it. That method works fairly well. Also, we have never measured the butter on the pan, and usually use non-stick cooking spray.
- When we’re preparing brunch for a larger group, we usually cook one batch at a time and keep it warming in the oven. This works, but it is definitely true that the toast is best immediately after removal from the stove.
- Our favorite toppings are butter and our favorite jams.