This French Toast Recipe is a restaurant style French toast made with eggs, milk, bourbon, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
There's something undeniably magical about the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingling with the sweet scent of cinnamon, eggs sizzling in a pan, and bread transforming into a golden delight. French toast, known as "pain perdu" or "lost bread" in its native France, is a breakfast staple that transcends cultures and generations. Its simplicity, versatility, and undeniable deliciousness have made it a beloved morning indulgence.
Imagine slices of soft, slightly stale bread soaked in a rich mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and a touch of vanilla, allowing the flavors to meld together. Then, those glorious slices are gently cooked until they achieve a perfect golden-brown hue, crispy on the outside, and delightfully soft on the inside. The end result is a symphony of textures and flavors that are nothing short of heavenly.
What is French Toast?
French toast, also known as "eggy bread" or "pain perdu," is a classic breakfast dish made by soaking bread slices in a mixture of beaten eggs, milk or cream, and often flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, or other spices. The soaked bread is then cooked on a griddle or in a skillet until it turns golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside while remaining soft and custard-like on the inside.
The origins of French toast can be traced back to ancient times, with variations of the dish appearing in different cultures throughout history. In France, it is believed to have originated as a way to use up stale bread, hence its alternate name "pain perdu," which translates to "lost bread." The technique of soaking bread in a mixture of eggs and milk was a practical way to revive and repurpose day-old bread.
Why you will love this recipe
- Simplicity and Accessibility: French toast is incredibly easy to make, requiring just a handful of basic ingredients that are typically found in most kitchens. With bread, eggs, milk, and a few flavorings, anyone can whip up a delicious batch of French toast in no time. Its simplicity makes it accessible to both seasoned cooks and kitchen novices alike.
- Versatility: French toast is a highly versatile dish that can be adapted to suit various tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer a classic sweet rendition with cinnamon and maple syrup or you're looking for a savory twist with cheese and herbs, French toast can accommodate a wide range of flavor profiles. It can be customized with different bread types, seasonings, and toppings, allowing for endless creativity and experimentation in the kitchen.
- Comforting and Nostalgic: There's something undeniably comforting and nostalgic about French toast. It evokes memories of lazy Sunday mornings, family breakfasts, and cozy brunches. The warm, custard-like interior, the crispy exterior, and the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla create a sensory experience that brings about feelings of warmth, happiness, and familiarity.
- Waste Reduction: French toast has historical roots in the concept of repurposing stale bread. By soaking stale or day-old bread in an egg mixture, French toast provides a clever solution to avoid food waste. Instead of discarding leftover bread, it can be transformed into a delectable breakfast delight, adding value to what might have otherwise been considered "lost" or inedible.
French Toast Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this French Toast Recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Challah Bread
- Vanilla extract
- Maple Syrup
See recipe card for French Toast Recipe quantities.
Add the eggs, milk, bourbon, vanilla and nutmeg in a 9x13 baking pan and whisk together.
Add the bread slices in a single row in the baking pan for 15 minutes. Turn to coat and slip to the other side for another 15 minutes.
In a bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and combine. Heat up a large pan over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon butter and wait for it to melt. Cook the toast until light golden, about 2 minutes, then flip to the other side for about 4-5 minutes.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of each piece of toast. Flip and sprinkle some more sugar on the other side, until the sugar caramelizes. Serve with berries and top with maple syrup. Enjoy!
What to serve with French Toast
- Fresh Fruits: Add a refreshing touch to your breakfast by serving a side of fresh fruits. Sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or bananas are popular choices. Their natural sweetness and vibrant colors complement the flavors of French toast.
- Whipped Cream: Dollop a spoonful of whipped cream on top of the French toast for an extra indulgent treat. You can use traditional whipped cream or opt for flavored variations like vanilla, chocolate, or cinnamon.
- Maple Syrup: A classic choice, drizzling warm maple syrup over French toast is a timeless combination. The sweetness of the syrup enhances the flavors of the toast and adds a delightful touch of richness.
- Powdered Sugar: Dusting powdered sugar over French toast creates an elegant presentation and adds a touch of sweetness. The fine texture of the sugar provides a light and delicate flavor enhancement.
- Nut Butter: Spread a layer of your favorite nut butter, such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter, on top of the French toast. The creamy and nutty flavors complement the toast and add a protein boost to your meal.
- Challah Bread:
- Brioche bread: Brioche has a similar texture and richness to challah, making it a suitable alternative for French toast.
- Thick slices of white bread: If challah or brioche bread is not available, thick slices of white bread can still produce tasty French toast.
- Almond milk or any other non-dairy milk: If you prefer a dairy-free option, you can substitute regular milk with almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or any other non-dairy alternative.
- Rum: If you enjoy a touch of alcohol in your French toast, you can substitute bourbon with rum for a different flavor profile.
- Vanilla Extract:
- Almond extract: Almond extract can provide a delightful twist to your French toast, adding a hint of nuttiness to the flavor.
- Maple extract: For a unique twist, try using maple extract instead of vanilla extract to enhance the maple syrup flavor.
- Allspice: Allspice can be a suitable replacement for nutmeg, adding warm and aromatic notes to your French toast.
- Honey: If you prefer a natural sweetener, honey can replace sugar in the egg mixture, imparting a subtle floral sweetness.
- Cardamom: Cardamom provides a fragrant and slightly citrusy flavor, adding an exotic touch to your French toast.
- Pumpkin spice: If you enjoy the warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, using pumpkin spice can be a delightful alternative.
- Coconut oil: If you prefer a dairy-free option or want to add a subtle coconut flavor, coconut oil can replace butter for cooking the French toast.
- Sliced bananas: If you don't have berries on hand, sliced bananas can be a delicious addition to your French toast. They add natural sweetness and a creamy texture.
- Sliced peaches or nectarines: During the summer months, fresh sliced peaches or nectarines can provide a juicy and flavorful topping.
- Maple Syrup:
- Honey: Honey can be a great alternative to maple syrup, providing a rich and sweet drizzle for your French toast.
- Fruit compote: If you prefer a fruit-based topping, a homemade fruit compote made with your favorite berries or fruits can add a burst of flavor to your French toast.
French Toast Recipe Variations
- Stuffed French Toast: Take your French toast to the next level by adding a delicious filling between two slices of bread. Some popular options include cream cheese and berries, Nutella and sliced bananas, or peanut butter and jelly. Simply spread the filling on one slice, sandwich it with another, and proceed with the usual dipping and cooking process.
- Creme Brulee French Toast: Indulge in a decadent twist on French toast by turning it into a creme brulee-inspired treat. Prepare the French toast as usual, but before cooking, sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on top. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it forms a delightful, crispy crust reminiscent of the classic dessert.
- Savory French Toast: French toast doesn't have to be sweet! Create a savory version by omitting the sugar and adding savory flavors to the egg mixture. Incorporate ingredients like grated cheese, herbs (such as parsley or chives), garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve the savory French toast with toppings like sautéed mushrooms, crispy bacon, or a dollop of sour cream.
- Baked French Toast Casserole: Transform French toast into an easy and crowd-pleasing breakfast casserole. Cut the bread into cubes and arrange them in a baking dish. Whisk together the egg mixture (eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and spices) and pour it over the bread cubes. Let the bread soak for a while to absorb the flavors. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through. This variation is perfect for brunch gatherings or when feeding a larger group.
Check out my Conchas Recipe.
- Mixing Bowl: A medium-sized mixing bowl is essential for whisking together the egg mixture and other ingredients.
- Whisk or Fork: Use a whisk or fork to beat the eggs and combine them with the milk, vanilla extract, and any other desired flavorings.
- Shallow Dish or Plate: A shallow dish or plate is used for dipping the bread slices into the egg mixture. It should be wide enough to accommodate the bread slices without folding or overcrowding.
- Frying Pan or Skillet: A non-stick frying pan or skillet is typically used to cook the French toast. Make sure the pan has enough surface area to fit the bread slices without overlapping.
- Spatula: A spatula is necessary for flipping the French toast slices while cooking to ensure even browning on both sides.
- Stove or Electric Griddle: You'll need a heat source to cook the French toast. A stovetop with a burner or an electric griddle is commonly used. The electric griddle provides an evenly heated surface and allows for cooking multiple slices at once.
- Cooking Oil or Butter: To prevent the French toast from sticking to the pan and to enhance flavor, you can use cooking oil (such as vegetable oil or canola oil) or butter for greasing the pan.
- Serving Plate: Choose a plate or platter to present and serve the cooked French toast. Consider using a warm plate to help keep the French toast hot while serving.
How to store French Toast
To store my French Toast Recipe properly and maintain its texture and flavor, follow these steps:
- Cool the French Toast: Allow the cooked French toast to cool completely at room temperature. This helps prevent condensation, which can make the toast soggy.
- Single Layer Storage: Arrange the cooled French toast slices in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate. Avoid stacking or overlapping the slices, as they may stick together or become mushy.
- Refrigeration: Place the baking sheet or plate with the French toast in the refrigerator. Cover it loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to protect the toast from drying out and absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.
- Storage Duration: French toast can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Beyond that, it may start to lose its texture and become less enjoyable.
- Reheating: When ready to enjoy the stored French toast, you have a few options for reheating:
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-10 minutes until heated through.
- Toaster or Toaster Oven: Reheat individual slices in a toaster or toaster oven until warmed and slightly crispy.
- Microwave: Microwave the French toast slices on a microwave-safe plate for about 30-60 seconds per slice, checking for desired warmth.
- Serve and Garnish: Once reheated, serve the French toast warm with your favorite toppings, such as maple syrup, powdered sugar, fresh berries, or whipped cream.
French Toast Recipe Top tips
- Use Stale Bread: Fresh bread tends to be soft and can become too soggy when soaked in the egg mixture. Opt for slightly stale bread or bread that has been left out overnight. This helps the bread hold its shape and prevents it from becoming overly mushy.
- Thick Bread Slices: Choose thick slices of bread for French toast. Thick slices retain their structure and absorb the egg mixture well, resulting in a moist interior and a crispy exterior.
- Soak Time: Allow the bread slices to soak in the egg mixture for an adequate amount of time. This ensures that the bread absorbs the flavors and becomes evenly moistened.
- Mix Your Egg Mixture Well: Ensure that the egg mixture is thoroughly whisked to incorporate the eggs, milk, and any additional flavorings. This ensures an even distribution of ingredients and consistent flavor throughout the French toast.
- Use Flavored Egg Mixture: Enhance the flavor of your French toast by adding a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract to the egg mixture. These spices impart a delightful aroma and taste to the finished toast.
- Preheat the Pan: Before adding the soaked bread slices, preheat the frying pan or skillet over medium heat. This allows for even cooking and helps prevent the bread from sticking to the pan.
- Butter or Oil: Add a small amount of butter or cooking oil to the preheated pan to prevent the French toast from sticking and to promote a crispy outer crust. Alternatively, you can use a non-stick cooking spray.
- Don't Overcrowd the Pan: Avoid overcrowding the pan when cooking French toast. Cook the slices in batches, leaving enough space between them to ensure proper heat circulation and prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Cook on Medium Heat: Maintain a medium heat level throughout the cooking process. Too high of heat can result in burnt toast, while too low of heat may cause the slices to become excessively greasy.
- Flip Carefully: Use a spatula to carefully flip the French toast slices once the bottoms have turned golden brown. Be gentle to avoid breaking or tearing the bread. Cook the other side until it reaches the desired level of golden brown as well.
- Keep Warm in the Oven: If you're cooking multiple batches, preheat the oven to its lowest setting and place the cooked French toast on a baking sheet inside to keep them warm and maintain their texture until ready to serve.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove