French Toast is breakfast simplicity. A little bread, some eggs and milk and in a snap you can pull together a delicious breakfast with a whole lot of TA DA.
This is my standard recipe, the one I love and come back to again and again. It originated with Alton Brown, but I have changed it over the years to accommodate my needs. The two biggest changes are that I used whole milk instead of the half-and-half called for in the original recipe. [You may never hear me say this again, but I don’t think the recipe needs that additional richness.] Also, I doubled the amount of batter because I like my french toast to be really soaked. I find that double the batter is just enough to make 8 large slices of challah which is plenty for my family of 4.
Classic Challah French Toast
Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup honey, warmed in microwave for 10-15 seconds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale Challah Bread
- Butter for grilling (not pictured)
Slice the bread the night before and leave it on a rack on your kitchen counter. The thought of the bread on the counter gets me out of bed the next morning. If you didn’t think to do that the night before, dry the slices for 10-15 minutes in a 300 degree F oven.
Preheat your nonstick griddle or pan to 300 degrees F and your oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together the first 4 ingredients until homogenous. Then pour into a shallow dish. Soak the bread in batches in the batter. Generally I soak the first side for about 2 minutes and then turn it over for another minute.
Remove the soaked bread to a rack suspended over a cookie sheet (to catch the drippings) and let it sit for a couple of minutes to fully absorb all the liquid.
Now you are ready to grill. Grease your griddle or frying pan with butter before grilling. Because of the honey, the bread browns quickly, so don’t walk away. About 2 minutes on each side is usually enough.
Remove the slices to a rack over a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes. This makes sure that the soaked bread is well cooked all the way through because nobody likes runny French Toast.
Now you have light and tender sweet bread with a crisp exterior. Because I tend to go classic, I usually serve with real maple syrup and a side of fruit and, usually, bacon (the whole salty and sweet thing). Easy and fast and delicious.
That’s the simple recipe…but you can certainly make it more complicated if you like. Variations include adding vanilla and/or cinnamon to the batter. Or, you can coat the bread with crushed cornflakes before you grill them. You can top the French Toast with fresh and sauteed fruit, usually mixed with a little sugar first. Use your imagination and what you have to make this into all manner of breakfast deliciousness.
Or just keep it simple, because the basic recipe is pretty freakin’ awesome!