Monday, September 17, 2007

French Toast - The Fancy Brunch Restaurant Style

So, you think you know how to make French toast? Maybe you beat a couple eggs, a splash of milk, a quick dip, fry it up in some butter, drizzle with a little syrup? Sounds pretty good, and for 95% of the world that is what they consider "French Toast." But, if you want truly amazing French toast, give this classic restaurant method a try.

The main difference is the bread is sliced thicker, it's soaked in a custard batter (really, really soaked), and then after being brown slightly in a pan, it's baked. That is the real secret. The baking cooks the custard inside the bread and gives it an unbelievable texture. The outside is crisp and golden, and the contrast between the two is magical.
The problem with just pan-frying is by the time the inside is really cooked, the outside is too dark and bitter. You can use thinner bread, of course, but then you don't get the same creamy, custardy, almost bread pudding-like texture, as from the thicker slices. Give this a try. The one extra step of baking it is sooo worth it. When you bite into this, I'm sure you'll agree. Enjoy!



Ingredients:

6 thick slice of French bread

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

butter for frying

maple syrup?

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

That syrup drizzle was torture! I'm starving! Looks great...

mug shot comment person said...

great minds think alike!
my batter is almost identical, including the cinnamon, allspice & vanilla. But i sure will try the oven thingee.

Jewels said...

SWEET!! My french toast has always turned out horrible at home, adn I never knew why. I can't believe I never ever thought of baking it.

Chef John, you ROCK!

bri said...

My friend has a beach house that we crash at for the weekend sometimes. Every time, one of our friends makes an awesome baked french toast with orange extract and pecans. It's such a great way to make french toast for all the reasons you mention in your post. Thanks for describing the process!

Trent said...

I need to quit visiting this site late at night, because now i just have to have French toast, and it's entirely too late for me to do anything about it. :(

Anonymous said...

strange i never, and I mean NEVER have or had french toast with milk!!! i am very serious, I always put a couple of eggs,some cinnamon, sugar, and a couple of other things. looks delicious! I can't stand it!!! >*<
Def. have to give it a try

Ben Wideman said...

Chef John, do I see a plastic "fake maple" syrup bottle? I thought you would be a stickler for the real stuff :) Delicious looking recipe! Thanks for posting.

Chef John said...

Fake Maple syrup?? Never!! That's Camp brand real grade A Amber. And yes, it comes in a very handy plastic squeeze bottle. Actually there are several "real" brands that come in plastic now.

James said...

*Switches milk with eggnog and gets rid of the cinnamon*

Christmas French Toast!

Jeffrey said...

oh, man, memories of the French Toast of Doom at a place where i used to cook brunch - thick slices of baguette coated in amaretto custard, baked off (we only had a two-burner range reserved for frittate), then topped with amaretto creme anglaise, hot fudge, bruleed bananas (flamed in rum!), and powdered sugar. served with a fruit plate on the side so you can pretend you're being healthy ;)

by the way, i'm a culinary student and one of my chef instructors has mentioned that you're a friend of hers...

julianwang4 said...

It's payback time! Now, where's the powdered sugar.....

julianwang4 said...

And...is your site now an open border anarchy? Because, I see nothing. Grayness.

Chef John said...

sorry, i dont understand. you mean the graphics? everything looks ok to me.

Tom said...

Grade A maple syrup? Oh my goodness, NEVER!

It's a little-known fact that the higher the grade, the less maple flavor.

Grade B ROCKS! Buy it if you can find it!

Chef John said...

I've heard that before, but havent seen it in the store. I'll have to look.

Brian said...

Chef John, did you use the baking sheet because you started out with (what looks to be) a non-stick pan? I'm going to try this, but I was thinking of just using a stainless steel pan and inserting it into the oven after browning. Much Thanks.

Chef John said...

I always find my non-stick works better for egg/milk coated things. Could stick badly in a SS pan. But, if it works for you then go for it and save a pan.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, wow that looks delicious! Do you have any alternate suggestions for bread? Like could you dry out your regular white bread (not toast it but dry it out) in an oven or should you stick to getting a day old loaf? thx!

Chef John said...

white bread doesnt have the body for this. Use a nice french or italian loaf!

Anonymous said...

nice, will try soon
thanks

Nancy said...

I use a similar recipe but without the allspice and I always add a splash of maple syrup right into the custard. I like to use challah (sweet egg type) bread which I allow to stale to firm up a bit. If I'm feeling really decadant I substitute 1/2 and 1/2 for the milk portion.

Anonymous said...

I just went to a cooking class last night. They had leftovers from their "bacon" class. I was dubious, but tried my first ever bacon ice cream ... ummmmmm yummy.

I'm going to have to make some and put on top of the french toast you've shown us here!

Paula from Only Cookware said...

Thanks for posting this one. I love French toast so will give it a try.

anne said...

Fabulous! And I didn't even have an ideal bread - I wanted to use up a rustic sourdough loaf.

I seldom did French toast at home because it was always disappointing... to get the center done it was burnt on the outside or raw on the inside.

The putting it in the oven tip is a real keeper. (And it makes sense when you say you allow it to souffle.) Now French Toast is on the menu.

Chef John said...

Special message to Marc, who's comments had to be rejected for homophobic insults and general stupidity. It's too bad I had to reject them, they were so dumb I think most of you would have had a good laugh.

Bitter Marc, I suggest reading the preceding comments. I think the 29,072 people that viewed it on Youtube, and the 207 people that favorited it would disagree with your criticism.

I enjoy opposing views and publish 99% of the comments I receive, so I don't moderate comments because of not wanting criticism. I moderate comments because of bigots like you. Thanks for watching.

Frasel said...

Wow your awesome. Thanks so much for posting this method!

I make french toast sometimes, and normally just do the egg+milk, soak, throw in pan with butter method. I'll try this method tommorow. Looks awesine!

FeelingFlirty said...

Visiting your blog leaves me needing a napkin to sop up the drool from salivating so much.

It's a great feeling. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a beginner at cooking and after I've learned how to crack an egg with one hand, I will give it a go with this. Overall, thanks chef!

Anonymous said...

You are so right! what is up with the powdered suger!? UGH

LifeLongLearner said...

At what temperature do you set the oven?

Chef John said...

400F. I always have a shot of the oven with what temp to set it to in the video. You must have just missed it.

You're not just watching these once are you?? 3 times minimum to get all the info!

seryph07 said...

I thought french toast was meant to taste like crud. I made it your way, and I'll never look back. Thanks ;)

Jill@SimpleDailyRecipes.com said...

Chef John! I made Awesome French Toast with all thanks to you! My kids & husband smiled with yummy groans all through breakfast this morning.

I photographed & posted my experience on my blog www.SimpleDailyRecipes.com, and of course, gave you all the credit.

Thanks Chef John, you're the greatest!

Anonymous said...

I just got done with this recipe, and let me tell you. IT WORKS! This recipe creates the perfect French toast. Great job Chef!

Wolf said...

Can you use normal white bread with the oven technique? There's no thick or french or w/e bread around here.

Chef John said...

white bread will just fall apart in the batter. You should bake a loaf of bread and then use the stale bread to make this. BTW, where do you live that white bread is the only option??

Wolf said...

Ok so baking the bread simply hardens it up? Well I -can- get the thick bread, but it's hard to find. I live in a wee country called New Zealand, and at the time of this post it's 9:27pm Friday (the 1st) but once I post it it will say otherwise :P

Chef John said...

no, sorry, I meant to bake your own loaf of bread first.

Anonymous said...

what about whole wheat bread? it's not very thick, but it's all i have at my house.

Chef John said...

nope

Kevin said...

Just made this for the 4th time. I used a very thin, very soft (When I say soft I mean, crumble in your hand soft)brown bread. It actually turned out great. Probably not as great as using the bread mentioned, but it was
good.

I ate it with some bannana slices and some syrap.

K said...

Wooooooooow.

Saw this video last night on YouTube and made these this morning. So crispy, so gooey, so flavorful. So Perfect! Made with some light rye bread and a drizzle of Grade A medium Amber. (Only difference is that my bread was sliced a little thinner, but it was still beautiful!) Oh MAN. You were absolutely right about how to make this.

My mother has made French toast with whole grain sandwich loaf slices and scrambled eggs (not a custard like yours) for years. While it was a sugary treat, it in no way compares to the absolute divinity of this recipe.

I am your newest fan. I love these videos. So straight-forward. So helpful. So smart! The commentary is so perfect. Please don't change into those obnoxious TV chefs that blabber on about their "4th aunt-removed little sister's best friend who likes peanut butter but can't stand jelly and OMG my boyfriend...blahblahblah". Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog!

Fritz said...

I discovered the baking technique completely by accident. I was making a big batch up for the whole family and put them in the oven after cooking them. When they came out -- perfection! That's the way I always make them now.

Fast order french toast is always disappointing to me -- I like my bread absolutely drippy soggy with the custard mixture.

Anonymous said...

Would 5 spice work alright as well?

Chef John said...

that contains pepper, which may not be the best idea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,
My name's Ninie, I cook a lot and I'm French. Here in France we call this recipe "Pain perdu", which means "lost bread". My kids love it. Here we just use eggs, milk and butter for frying and once it's cooked we just add sugar, honey or jam. But I'll try your recipe I promise.
Sorry for my bad english.

makurokurosuke26 said...

hi! i am your new fan. I am going to try this recipe tomorrow because it looks delicious!!! and i rarely hardly ever cook or touch a pan. wish me luck! haha

Dax_Louis-Marie said...

Hi, My name is Dax, I discovered your
Youtube account last night.

Like Ninie I'm french so I wanted to post to tell you how we do it in france. But I can see she already explained it. Where I'm from we use slated butter for the frying. with this method, no need to put the salt in the preparation. And we also don't use fresh bread. We use old one. This recipe is to cook bread too old for eating alone and it's a low cost recipe.

It's a recipe a lot of french people know (well I assume) because it's from our history and our culture.

Chef John said...

Hi Dax, since you are new I will give you a pass... I don't do too many authentic recipes. This is my version of French toast. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you stop by every day.

Tristan said...

The only difference with the way I made the custard is with brown eggs...and my custard didn't turn yellowish like yours, it turned a chocolate milk brown. I don't know what I did wrong lol.

Terry said...

Greeting Chef John, I have just been introduced to your site and after only 30 min. I am already addicted! You used a silicon mat for baking in a previous recipe. Would this work will for the French Toast?
Terry

Chef John said...

It will, but they don't get as crispy as on the metal surface.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
I don't have french bread AHHHH will it still work with white? Please SAY YES! And if it wont work with white bread what WILL it work with besides french bread? Because im a french toast addict and i really want to try this! Ahhhh torture!

Chef John said...

It's time for some tough love!

NO, it won't work with white bread! Not like it is suppose too. Go to a store and buy a loaf of real bread and make this recipe. AND, you better use real syrup on it!

Now go.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dad..
My name is Angel.. im lookin at ur blog every mins now.. can i just be your daughter? err.. where r u actually?do u have a teachin class in real?
Thank you!

Chef John said...

I'm in San Fran, but not adopting at this time. :) Thanks!

TH3R4PY said...

Thanks man I hate paying for French Toast at restaurants cuz they only give you 2 slices for $10, but mine at home just never turned out right. Just like you said... My family and I owe you big time.

Pamela said...

Hi Chef! This is my first post and certainly won't be the last! I came across your blog via Google/YouTube. This recipe is superb and simple! Your clip is easy to follow, you're not in the least way annoying to listen to (lol) and I look forward to trying some of your other recipes.

ventilator01 said...

I am not a chef, but I can now make the best French Toast I have ever had. Thank you for this simple easy to follow video

Melody said...

Hi Chef,

How about Texas Toast? Can that be a substitute?
Thanx.

Chef John said...

well it's better than thin bread, but still doesn't have the crust and texture of french bread. Besides it's called french toast, not texas toast! ;)

Magda Więch said...

Love your blog. I'm a cooking lover and even though I'm from Poland and sometimes it's hard to understand everything, I try to cook as it's showed. Best wishes from,
Magda

Sara said...

I just made this and it turned out fantastic! I must say, these video recipes have helped me gain confidence in the kitchen. As a college student, the only sort of "cooking" that I was accustomed to was boiling water for pasta or making scrambled eggs. But now, I'm much more comfortable with cooking new things every week. Thanks Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Hey chef John can i use specialty breads like brioche or challah

THANKS



YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to try your recipe!!!

Chef John said...

sure, go ahead, how am I going to stop you? Not as good as french bread IMHO

Anonymous said...

Thanks!! im going to try it with challah and brioche lol!

What french bread do you recommended?

Chef John said...

just basic crusty french bread. anything.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe and video! I'm a disaster in the kitchen and have had one French toast failure after another. But no more! I had pretty good success with this today! Next time I will use a nonstick pan -- I didn't pick up on that in the video, but did see the suggestion in the comments. You are a great resource. I will stop back often.

Melissa said...

Oh Chef John...I cannot wait to try your french toast. The allspice suggestion. I am drool here, literally drooling!

Ben said...

Hello!
First time here, was looking up french toast in google and came across your youtube video.
Great recipe! I tried it today and it turned out fantastic.
Look forward to checking out your website in the days to come :)

nerdwork9 said...

Hey Chef john! Been looking at your site for awhile now, i just don't usually have the time to makes stuff... until now! Just curious, how would it turn out well if i put a little brown sugar on top before they finished cooking in the oven?

Chef John said...

not sure, you tell me! ;-)

adri_anah said...

I've already tried these, and they are really expectacular. I stopped by to check the recipe again so that tomorrow I wont mess it up. I made some cinnamon and brown sugar syrup to go with the french toasts tomorrow, and i'm also going to make some scrambled eggs. I love breakfast :). Does it show?

Pisaster said...

I tried the French toast, but served it with sauteed apples instead of the maple syrup. I think the batter needs to be sweetened if I'm not drizzling syrup over it. But it was pretty good nonetheless. Thanks.

Gary said...

What temperature do you use to bake the french toast? Also, about Grade B maple syrup, I see them at Trader Joes.

Chef John said...

yes, that's where i get mine at TJs

check 1:50 of the video and it says 400 degrees. enjoy

Daniel said...

Many thanks for the recipe , just made some for myself , absolutely great !

PukaDog said...

Out of the blue I had a hanker'n for French Toast, so I baked a loaf of frozen French Bread, sliced it thick and left it out on the counter overnight in anticipation of my first attempt at homemade French Toast, courtesy of Food Wishes. Man was it delicious! Will try it again soon--maybe Easter morning--experimenting with a two-sided dip in Panko break crumbs for extra crunch.

Question for Chef John: Could I prepare the batter the night before and let the day old bread soak inside the fridge overnight? If so, would I have to cover the top of the batter bowl with plastic wrap (or whatever), or could I just leave the bowl uncovered until morning?

Chef John said...

yes, you can leave covered over night no problem

kittycatclaudia said...

i made this for me and my brother this morning,and my brother actually liked it and he's the pickiest eater ever.

Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) said...

Found your video on YouTube. Getting ready to make some Pumpkin French Toast and use your tips! Thank you!! :)

Anonymous said...

Merci Chef John ;)

Anna said...

Hi there!

I love French toast and I've been trying recently to make something I found in a cookbook called "French toast casserole". The batter is the same as yours, only I place everything in a baking dish *the night before* and bake it first thing in the morning. The only problem with this is after it's finished baking it's still a soggy mess in the middle! And that's after about 30-40 mins in the oven! It's a nice golden brown, crunchy top but too soggy inside. I've tried baking it longer but then the outside burns! :( *Do you have any tips on how to rescue this recipe?

In the meantime I will try your method here even though it's not as quick! The pan frying takes time and my two year old is always tugging on me to pick him up!:) Thanks again!

Chef John said...

Sorry, don't like those style of recipes for FT. Not sure how to fix! :-(

Anonymous said...

HOw much time on the oven ??

Anonymous said...

I tried this today and I LOVED it! Though instead of french bread I used some cinnimon-banana bread I made yesterday so I didn't put the spices in the batter. Also I heated my surup and put a little vanilla extract in it. I think this is my new favorite breakfast.

Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

i made these 10 mns ago and they taste great
thanks for the recipie ,

lilian85 said...

These look yummy. If i don't have maple syrup can i substitute with honey? Might be a bit sweeter right?

Also i dun have allspice, can it be omitted?

Btw, any thick spongy loaf of bread should work right? I kind of prefer the thick soft type of bread so would french bread/italian bread be most suitable?

Chef John said...

yes to all your question! works best with french or ital bread

Anonymous said...

Gonna try it tomorrow morning-wish me luck.

And could someone tell me what allspice is?
In all my 16 years of existance i've never heard of it. =S

Chef John said...

It's a spice, like nutmeg or mace. Google for derails.

*Cielo~Morado* said...

Hey Chef John!
I was just wondering if replacing the milk with heavy whipping cream would work just as well, or if you had ever tried it.

This looks absolutely amazing! Can't wait to try it! : )

Anonymous said...

Chef John, What's the steel mixing container called? I notice you use that for whisking the eggs in many recipes. I have been trying to find one with no luck. I am in HK.

Btw, great recipes!

Chef John said...

It's just called a mixing bowl. :-)

Lilian said...

Can i use half and half instead of just regular milk? Would it give it a creamier texture?

Lilian said...

Oh btw, i am doing a huge batch for a brunch meeting so could i do these the day before and reheat in the oven? Wat temperature do u reckon to reheat the french toasts and how long for? Thanks.

Natalie said...

So happy I stumbled on to this site. I love french toast, especially when its done right!

dyosa said...

Was looking for a good French Toast recipe and I found your version. I'm not a big French Toast fan but after trying your recipe, I most probably can eat it every other day.

Thanks for sharing!

pickledseeds said...

This the ONLY french toast recipe I use, it's da-bomb! Thanks for sharing.

nicholmikey said...

I have tried this 3 times and each time my toast is full of runny wet egg. I used basic store bread, only 2 pieces soak up the entire mixture. I increased the time in the oven to 20 minutes at 400, but still wet runny egg inside. Not sure how to get the egg fully cooked, must take an hour.

nicholmikey said...

I have tried this 3 times and each time my toast is full of runny wet egg. I used basic store bread, only 2 pieces soak up the entire mixture. I increased the time in the oven to 20 minutes at 400, but still wet runny egg inside. Not sure how to get the egg fully cooked, must take an hour.

nicholmikey said...

I have tried this 3 times and each time my toast is full of runny wet egg. I used basic store bread, only 2 pieces soak up the entire mixture. I increased the time in the oven to 20 minutes at 400, but still wet runny egg inside. Not sure how to get the egg fully cooked, must take an hour.

nicholmikey said...

I have tried this 3 times and each time my toast is full of runny wet egg. I used basic store bread, only 2 pieces soak up the entire mixture. I increased the time in the oven to 20 minutes at 400, but still wet runny egg inside. Not sure how to get the egg fully cooked, must take an hour.

RedRchl said...

Thanks for the great recipe! You are definitely my favorite place to go when looking for new recipes. I even featured this particular one on my blog this week. (http://blog.redrchl.com/?p=151) This one will definitely be a staple in my house.

RedRchl

filipino girl said...

Holy Moly... I gotta bookmark this!!! I am a french Toast addict so always looking for good recipes that make the best french toast, ill surely have this for breakfast tomorrow.. looking at picture got me drollin already! wohooo! :D

Anonymous said...

As i want to make this recipe, could i use non stick roasting tray instead of baking sheet?

Anonymous said...

Just made this last night!! (it was a breakfast for dinner kind of night) it was my first time making French toast on my own since I moved out of my moms house and it turned out so excellent my apartment smelled like cinnamon vanilla wonderland!!! your blog completes me :D

anaileliana said...

How much sugar can be added to the custard batter so that it's not overly sweet but can be enjoyed with little or less syrup? Thanks!!!! AWESOME moist inside crusty outside just not much flavor couldn't taste the cinnamon or vanilla much... Is it ok to use half milk half buttermilk or just buttermilk? I would think I could skip the salt if I ur just buttermilk? THANKS so much for ALL that you do!!!

Anonymous said...

Lol this is joke the same dry soggy garbage everybody else makes... This is the wrong way... So chef boy or don't get off ur high horse cuz ur recipe sucks

Tara Kelly said...

Most people don't seem to understand that this recipe needs a specific type of bread. For the lazy people that don't want to get the proper ingredients just use your regular bread and simply lightly dip the bread and decrease the time in the oven a bit. It turns out wonderful.

Tom H said...

Thank you chef John. I've always wondered what the good restaurants (and by no means is every restaurant good) were doing to get such awesome French Toast. Thanks to you, I know. . . now, off to the kitchen to make French Toast for my kids for breakfast!

Vanessa Tran said...

Awesome recipe; I made my own version and credited your recipe on my food/DIY blog :)

Vanessa

http://cafecraftea.blogspot.com

chiajx said...

Hello! I love the french toast idea, and I have heard that baking gets the amazing texture, but I also would like to try to combine a stuffed version with this.

I don't think I could get away with putting the filling in AND THEN baking them. Would it be okay to make the filling then simply sandwich it between two baked slices of toast?

Thoughts?