By Melanie Makes
Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best! This French toast is perfect for those that like a sweet and savory combination.
So besides the fact that this baked toast is super tasty, it's also super simple to make. It's one of those perfect weeknight dinner recipes or make-ahead brunch recipes, as the bread can sit in the egg mixture overnight for up to 12 hours. Pair this with a salad or some roasted asparagus and you have yourself one satisfying dinner or brunch.
Serving Size: 6
1 loaf of rustic bread, such as pane Pugliese or Italian, cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices - You want to use a wider bread here, not a thin loaf of bread
½ lb ham, thinly sliced
8 oz Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced, plus more for topping
8 large eggs
⅔ cup whole milk - you could try 1%, 2% or skim here
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper
maple syrup - optional but tasty, and a must for the kiddos
Butter the bottom and sides of a large 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a lasagna dish.
With a serrated knife, trim off the ends, then cut your loaf into six to eight 1 1/2-inch thick slices. How many slices you get will depend on how big your loaf of bread is.
Then make a deep slit into each slice of bread (about 3/4 down) to create a pocket.
Thinly slice up your gruyere cheese.
Stuff each pocket with 1 slice of ham and some slices of gruyere cheese. I actually stuffed my pockets with 3 slices of gruyere cheese, because we love our cheese!
In a small to medium-sized bowl, whisk together the 8 eggs and 2/3 cup milk until combined.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Add the bread slices in a single layer, gently pressing down into the egg mixture.
Let the bread soak for 15 minutes.
Flip the breads slices over and gently press them again into the egg mixture, and let it soak for 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while your bread is soaking.
Note: If you want to prepare this the night before, you can do these two above steps and just refrigerate it for up to 12 hours, loosely covered. Just be sure to let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking off in the oven.
Top each bread slice with a slice of ham and some cheese. I topped each with 1/2 slice of ham and two thin slices of cheese.
Bake until the egg mixture is set and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes.
To get the bread and cheese to brown up, turn on the broiler and set a rack 4-6 inches from the heat source. Broil the bread until the cheese and ham get crispy and the bread browns up, about 1 to 2 minutes. This last step makes it so good!
Serve hot and feel free to slather each slice with some maple syrup, or just eat as it. It's great both ways. I reheated our leftovers for breakfast the next day in a pre-heated 350 degree oven till warmed through. The leftovers were great, not as great as the day before, but there were no complaints in my house and the french toast was devoured. Serve this up for breakfast or brunch with some fresh fruit, or for dinner with a salad or roasted asparagus.
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