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Classic French Toast

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Make French Toast
  • by Jill Silverman Hough from Fine Cooking
    Issue 113

The best French toast is crisp and browned on the outside, creamy on the inside, and not overly sweet. For best results, use a heavy-duty pan that distributes heat evenly.

  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
  • 2 cups milk, preferably whole, at room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 4-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 to 10 3/4-inch-thick slices challah, brioche, or hearty white sandwich bread
  • Maple syrup, heated, for serving
Tip:
Go with fresh bread, not stale. Although stale bread may absorb somewhat more batter, fresh bread, which is softer to begin with, makes more tender French toast.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, put a baking sheet on each rack, and heat the oven to 250°F.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish.

Working in batches, add 2 or 3 slices of bread (or as many as will fit in your skillet in a single layer) to the mixture and soak, turning once, until saturated but not falling apart, about 2 minutes total.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt about 1/2 Tbs. butter. When the foam subsides, use a slotted spatula to add the soaked bread in a single layer. Cook, turning once, until goldenbrown, 1-1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet in the oven, arranging the pieces in a single layer, to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining bread, briefly rewhisking the batter before soaking, and wiping out the skillet and adding fresh butter between batches.

Serve drizzled with maple syrup.

Make Ahead Tips

The batter can be made ahead and kept at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 670; Fat (g): 37; Fat Calories (kcal): 330; Saturated Fat (g): 18; Protein (g): 23; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 59; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 820; Cholesterol (mg): 475; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I'd never before put salt in a French-toast batter, and I think that simple addition made the biggest difference. Instead of all whole milk, I used one part whole milk to two parts full-fat, unsweetened almond milk. Also, I substituted canola oil for half the melted butter. Even with these changes, this is the best French toast I've ever eaten. However, the cinnamon wouldn't distribute evenly in the batter; it formed small clumps, which burned on the surface of the toast. Next time, I'll blend the sugar, cinnamon and salt before adding these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

This is my go-to recipe. I don't change a thing ... it is perfect the way it is. Thank you.

Perfect!

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