Start to Finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Making baked French toast requires little hands-on effort. Biting into a slice, with its texture somewhere between fluffy and custard-like, provides big flavor payoff. Serve this dish as a brunch staple or prep it the night before for a pleasingly decadent weekday breakfast.
• 1 (8-ounce) loaf of crusty bread; Italian, French, sourdough or Portuguese
• 6 eggs
• 3 cups milk
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon butter or cooking spray to coat pan
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl. Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices, using a serrated knife.
Rub the butter over the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Alternatively, spray the dish with cooking spray.
Submerge the bread slices into the egg mixture, working with one or two at a time. Press downward on the slices with the whisk to keep them fully soaked in the egg mixture. Soak each piece for about 15 seconds.
Remove the bread slices from the egg mixture, using a spatula. They will be very wet and will fall apart if not removed carefully. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
Bake the dish for 25 to 30 minutes. The toast is done when the slices are golden brown and dry on top.
Serve with salted butter, maple syrup and fresh berries.
Tips for Timing
A 15-second soak in the egg and milk mixture is enough to fully saturate each bread slice. However, the longer the bread sits in the mixture, the more tender and fluffy the finished pieces will be.
Make the dish ahead of time by soaking the slices and arrange them in the dish as described. Pour any excess egg mixture over the bread. Don't fill the empty space in the dish with the liquid; instead, drizzle a few spoonfuls directly onto each bread slice. Refrigerate the dish for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight, then bake as usual.
Sliced sandwich bread is fine for quick-and-dirty skillet French toast, but those slices are too flimsy to hold up to this method. Dense loaves such as banana, pumpkin or chocolate bread will work, though the liquid won't thoroughly penetrate these breads.
Substitute coconut milk, almond milk or even chocolate milk for plain milk. Alternatively, substitute 1 cup of half-and-half for 1 cup of the milk to make a richer dish.
Bake even more flavor into the toast by adding orange zest or nutmeg to the egg mixture, or by sprinkling the toast with chopped nuts, cranberries or raisins during the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Photo Credit adogslifephoto/iStock/Getty Images
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