build me up, buttercup: the best french toast ever

It’s been one of those crazy weeks. Work has pretty much swallowed me up whole and there’s not much left of me for anything else. Not that I’m complaining because the work I’m doing is fun and exciting and I’m using all my skills and honing them into lean, mean machines. Which brings me to this post. French toast. I’ve been making it for years. As a kid, I would help my mom make it and when I got a little older, I took over the task. It’s simple breakfast that almost seems too simple (which is probably why I’ve never posted a recipe for it here on this blog). I didn’t think I had anything to learn about french toast.

I was wrong.

This Saturday morning french toast was on the agenda*, but I decided to go about things a bit differently. First off, I had some really, really wonderful day-old sourdough bread that I purchased from a little shop 3 blocks away. A sliced it up thick but instead of doing the same ol’ dip and dunk into the egg mixture, I decided that this thick bread really deserved a good soaking. Once it had it’s luxurious egg bath, I fried it up as usual, but decided to take extra care that it was cooked through by plopping the whole shebang onto a cookie tray and into the oven for a bit of solid heating. Little did I know that baking had the effect of puffing up the toast into wondrous bites of deliciousness hereby unknown to me! How could french toast — which has long been a breakfast staple, suddenly blossom into this sophisticated dish? Whatever happened, I can now call this the best french toast I have ever had the pleasure of eating. It’s sweet and fragrant with cinnamon and vanilla and the smells coming from your oven will rouse the most sleepiest head. Divine!

* Uh, I don’t have a breakfast agenda…but wouldn’t it be wonderful if I did? Mmmmm.

32 comments to “build me up, buttercup: the best french toast ever”

  1. 1
    Kristen   April 7, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    You can also let the bread soak in the egg mixture overnight — I did this on Christmas Eve so I wouldn’t have to make anything the next morning!

  2. 2
    Bijoux   April 7, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I’m probably a strange breed but I must declare that I have never been a fan of French toast. Somehow the egg flavour and the maple syrup combined just don’t agree with my palate. On the other hand, I love pancakes and waffles and crepes but Frenchie and I…nuh-uh. I don’t know…maybe I just haven’t had the ultimate French toast experience and the ones I have tried are dismal and mediocre and thus have left me with a not-so-great impression. I’ve never ordered French toast at a restaurant, it’s always been homemade and made by people that aren’t the greatest of cooks…so maybe that has something to do with it. Nevertheless, your image of French toast looks divine and believe it or not, I now have a hankering for French toast…even though I seldom have a craving for it…PMS? maybe 😀

  3. 3
    VeggieGirl   April 7, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    divine, indeed!

  4. 4
    cookinpanda   April 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve always had trouble with French toast, as much as I love it. I really like this recipe because it’s traditional. It’s the simplest way for French toast to be and it looks like it came out incredible. I’m going to give it a shot.

  5. 5
    Gretchen Noelle   April 7, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    I just made delicious French toast yesterday with challah bread. It was great, but I may try this version next time if I remember!

  6. 6
    Shari   April 7, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    If you want to skip the oven, you can get similar results by using a skillet with a lid and lowish heat. Preheat th pan with a lid on, toss in the butter and replace the lid while the butter melts, add the well-soaked (always well-soaked) bread and cover again. Let it fry like this for about 5-8 minutes a side (until golden).

    It cooks through and you don’t have to wait for the oven’s lengthy pre-heating.

    I always toss about a tsp. of sugar into the egg mixture and just have it with butter and a bit of powdered sugar (no syrup required).

  7. 7
    erin   April 7, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    As a kid I never tried french toast, as I had a hatred towards eggs. The only thing like it i’ve had is vegan french toast in recent years, which has always done it for me. Over the past year though i’ve tried to make myself like eggs, and your love of this recipe makes me think it’s about time I try real french toast! I will have to give it a try.

  8. 8
    Lydia   April 7, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    That sounds great. What was the name of the store/brand of bread?

  9. 9
    hag   April 7, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Looks yummy..I love thick french toast. Have you ever made it with Challa bread? Or panetone? Yum!

    I have made thick french toast with some fig and anise bread it was really good! I like the tip about the oven…sounds great.

  10. 10
    Helen   April 8, 2008 at 4:13 am

    ooh, I love it when things like this happen! Just when you think things can’t get any better….

  11. 11
    Patricia Scarpin   April 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Since I have never tried French toast, I think I should start with this recipe, right? 😉
    It looks so golden, delicious!

  12. 12
    Jennie   April 8, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Isn’t it great? I had a real epiphany when I made French toast for the first time with “real bread” and not the sliced variety. I also must divulge that adding a thumb of Baileys or two to the egg mixture can be used to make it eggstra (sorry) special…

  13. 13
    kickpleat   April 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    kristen, nice tip about the overnight soak!

    bijoux, i don’t find these too eggy at all, so maybe give it a try and who knows, maybe you’ll like it!

    thanks veggiegirl 🙂

    thanks cookinpanda, this is pretty traditional and it works wonders.

    french toast with challah bread, gretchen? sounds awesome.

    lydia, i buy the best sourdough loaf ever at benny’s market in strathcona (on the union bike route)

    hag, who knew that by throwing it into the oven a whole new beast would emerge. yum.

    great tip, shari!

    vegan french toast? i’ll have to find a recipe for that. thanks for the inspiration, ventures!

    so true, helen!

    jennie, love the idea of tossing in bailey’s! i did that once to some waffle batter…yum!!

    yes, patricia, start with this one. it’s a keeper.

    give it a try, kali!

  14. 14
    Kali   April 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I totally know what I’m doing my next day off!!!

  15. 15
    Mari   April 9, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Yum! I had french toast for the first time in yonks last weekend, made by DBF and slathered with lemon cream. It was SO GOOD.

  16. 16
    Sylvie   April 9, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I should make French Toast more often. Next time I’ll try it like this, it looks extra good. I linked to your blog from mine, hope you don’t mind.

  17. 17
    coopernicus   April 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Oh my…i feel like a Pavlovian mutt..that sounds so good and I love french toast anyway…..

  18. 18
    Jody   April 9, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    French Toast is one of my favorite foods. I have tried several recipes…and can’t wait to give this one a whirl! Thank you for sharing it with us. I’m getting hungry already and breakfast isn’t until tomorrow morning. At least I know I will be having sweet dreams tonight. {wink}

  19. 19
    Cookie baker Lynn   April 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Gorgeous! Wish I could pull up a chair at your breakfast table.

  20. 20
    kickpleat   April 10, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Mevrouw Cupcake, slathered in lemon cream? yummers!

    Sylvie, i don’t make french toast as often as i should either! thanks for the link 🙂

    coopernicus, i understand that pavlovian response completely! yum.

    Jody, i hope you try this version. it’s pretty awesome!

    Cookie baker Lynn, the chair is waiting!

  21. 21
    Sharona May   April 10, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Wonderful! Love a breakfast for dinner every once in awhile.
    Looks great!!

    Sharona May

  22. 22
    Anna   April 11, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Oh Yum. I’m going to try this at the weekend. Which is tomorrow. Yay!

  23. 23
    Aimée   April 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

    I had french toast this morning, but it looked pretty sad compared to yours. It’s usually a clean-out-the-bread-box dish, but that’s so not fair, is it?

  24. 24
    artisansweets   April 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I am always on the look out on ways to improve one of my favorite breakfast items. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. 25
    Rach   April 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I love the idea of a breakfast agenda. Mine would have to include hollandaise.

    I’ve actually never made french toast myself, but there’s a cafe near me that makes phenomenal french toast and serves it with poached pears and spiced mascarpone. I imagine that with a little forethought I could put all these things onto a special occasion breakfast agenda. I shall definitely have to have a go.

  26. 26
    Nick Bastin   April 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    The best french toast I’ve ever had was actually in my own kitchen from a recipe from Thomas Keller. It’s your basic creme d’anglais, left over night in the refrigerator, and then used to soak the bread in the morning. It’s unholy good, and very very bad for you. 🙂

    Using either your own bread, or at the very least unsliced bread from a bakery is an essential component to good french toast, because you want it thicker than your normal sandwich slices.

  27. 27
    rox   April 15, 2008 at 1:41 am

    my two french toast secrets are soaking it overnight and baking it the next morning in the oven and also using challah bread.


  28. 28
    kickpleat   April 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    sharona may, breakfast for dinner is indeed something wonderful once in a while!

    anna, hope you had a great weekend breakfast 🙂

    aimee, i think french toast is the perfect way to clean out the bread box. sometimes you hit paydirt and have great bread that needs to be used up and that makes your french toast that much better.

    enjoy, artisansweets! this is a great way to make french toast extra special.

    rach, i guess a breakfast agenda is the way to go!

    sounds divine, nick!!

    rox, i’m going to have to try challah next!

  29. 29
    Anonymous   April 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Try Coconut milk instead of diary, and you can substitute eggs with mashed bananas. It is little sweeter than normal, but OMG so delicious!

  30. 30
    michael edelman   May 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Challah is a great variation, as is brioche and thick sliced raisin bread. Sometimes I dry it in olive oil to get a bit more fragrance to it.

    If you want really crisp French toast, dip it in flour after you soak it in egg, and then fry in olive oil or clarified butter. That way you can fry at a higher temp without burning the butter.

  31. 31
    frances   September 6, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    hi there, just wanted to say thank you for this recipe – we just made it this morning for a special father’s day breakfast, and he – a real french toast connoisseur – proclaimed it a winner. we took some of the tips in the comments about soaking overnight, and this also worked a treat as it made brekky that much simpler in the morning. we’ll never look back!

  32. 32
    Cindy   September 27, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I was looking for how to cook thick bread into french toast this morning and ran across this.. and it was super tasty. I had company and everyone liked it.

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