When it comes to the great breakfast carb debate, there are usually three major camps of people:
Team Pancakes, Team Waffles, and Team French Toast.
I’ve said already a few times that pancakes are my one true love, so if I had to pick a team, I would be on Team Pancakes. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have love for the other ones though. I like ’em all. I’m planning on getting a waffle iron pretty soon, so I should be able to start sharing waffles recipes on the blog then. But there really is no excuse for my not having any French Toast on the blog yet. So, I’m fixing that today.
Good French Toast starts with a great loaf of bread. You want to make sure it’s got a good outer crust, a dense inner crumb and can be sliced very thick. If your bread slices are too thin, then it’ll absorb too much liquid and the finished product will be flat like pancakes. No good. A few months ago I shared a recipe for what I’m pretty positive is the easiest loaf of bread that I’ve ever made. It was called English Muffin Toasting Bread and it produced a sturdy loaf with a coarse, close-textured crumb. I said back then that it would make excellent toast and it did…I also said that it would make perfect French Toast.
Turns out, I was right about that too.
The cream in the egg mix makes the toast cook up rich and fluffy on the inside. Before you even ask if the nutmeg is *really* necessary, I’m going to just stop you right there and say a firm ‘yes’. It gives just enough spice to compliment the sweet of the vanilla and you DO need it.
Now I just said that good French Toast starts with a good loaf of bread and I’m going to say it again: good French Toast starts with a good loaf of bread. If you don’t feel like baking the English Muffin Toasting bread, I do know that Trader Joe’s sells a challah loaf that will also work well. As will store-bought Texas Toast. Keep in mind that because this is a very simple recipe with simple flavors, they’ll taste at their best when they’re given the best foundation–in this case, bread. So go with the good stuff.
Vanilla French Toast
Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour Baking Companion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream (or half and half)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons rum (optional)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 slices thick sliced bread (like Challah, Texas Toast, or English Muffin Toasting Bread)
- Powdered sugar and maple syrup, for serving
Preheat oven to 285°. Place a rack on top of a sheet pan that you’ve lined with foil or parchment paper. Arrange the sliced bread on the rack, then place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. (This is just to dry out the top/bottom of the bread enough so that it isn’t overly soaked by the cream-egg mix).
Once the bread is done drying out, lower the oven temp to 250°.
In a shallow dish (large enough to fit about 2 slices) whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, nutmeg, rum and vanilla until smooth but not foamy.
Place the butter and oil in a heavy skillet and set it over medium heat. Don’t let it get too hot; if it starts to smoke, it means that it’s too hot and your toast will cook too quickly.
Place 2 pieces of the bread in the soaking dish, turn them over, and turn them over once more. It should take about 15 seconds, total; you want the bread to absorb the liquid, but not be too soaked/saturated.
Place the bread in the preheated skillet and fry it for 3 minutes before turning. It should be golden brown before you turn it—if it isn’t, you can SLIGHTLY raise the heat. Fry on the second side for about 2 minutes. Transfer it to the rack rimmed baking sheet and keep it in the oven while you finish frying the rest of the bread.
Once it’s all done, dust it with powdered sugar and serve with syrup.