Baked French Toast
French toast is one of my mother-in-law’s favorite foods, and this is my go-to, baked French toast recipe. In my opinion, it’s easier than the dunk-it-and-fry-it method of French toast that forces you to be shackled to the stove while everyone else has fun and drinks mimosas.
You make the custard the night before, and it soaks into the bread overnight; in the morning, pop the bread onto a sheet pan and throw it in the oven, and voila, French toast.
- 1 loaf unsliced challah bread (or bread of your choice)
- 1.33 cup whole milk
- 0.67 cup heavy cream
- 4 large eggs
- 0.33 cup granulated sugar
- 0.25 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Slice your bread into 1 1/2-inch thick slices; a 9-inch loaf should yield 6 slices, minus the small ends. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract/paste, if using. If using a vanilla bean, halve it lengthwise and scrape the pulp into a small dish. I love the trick from Deb of whisking a few tablespoons of custard into the vanilla bean, then pouring the mixture back into the main batter, so you avoid having big clumps of vanilla bean goop that doesn’t disperse in your batter. Brilliant.
- Pour the mixture over the bread and cover your pan tightly with plastic wrap. Leave the pan in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour, and flip halfway through so the bread soaks up the custard evenly; ideally, you’d make this ahead and leave them overnight, and you wouldn’t have to flip them.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then parchment paper. Transfer custard-soaked slices to prepared sheet, leaving about an inch or so of space in between them. Bake the French toast slices for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through if desired; they’re done when a paring knife inserted into the center of a slice and twisted slightly doesn’t release any liquid (custard). Keep warm until ready to serve; I like serving them dusted with a healthy amount of powdered sugar and (sometimes) with fresh strawberries.
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