How to Make French Toast
French toast is such a satisfying comfort food — here's how to get it exactly right every time.
The ideal French toast is, well, toasted on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Check out our step-by-step how-to, then dig into perfect French toast with plenty of maple syrup (or melted butter or powdered sugar or fresh fruit or, heck, chocolate hazelnut spread).
1. Choose Your Bread and Slice it Thickly
For particularly fluffy, custardy French toast, select bread like brioche or challah. For something with a little more structure, go for a country-style bread. Thick slices of bread make the best French toast, so skip the pre-sliced loaves and buy a whole one, then slice it 3/4-inch thick. Additionally, stale bread is ideal: it soaks up the custardy mixture without losing its structure. If all you have is fresh bread, toast those slices at 300 degrees F for 12 minutes.
2. Make the Batter
Our recipe for The Best French Toast includes a fantastic ingredient ratio: 10 large eggs, 2 cups of half-and-half and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar to soak one whole loaf of bread. But you can easily scale the recipe up or down depending on how many people you’re feeding. If you’re feeding fewer people, for example, go for 5 large eggs, 1 cup of half-and-half and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar. Take our measurements as general guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules.
A few nitty-gritty tips about making the batter. If you crack your eggs on a flat surface and open them from the top, you won’t get any eggshell shards in your bowl (so smart). Make sure you whisk your eggs vigorously together; you’ll know they’re blended when no streaks of white remain. Adding a bit of vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt imparts lovely flavor and balance to the French toast. Once you’ve made your mixture, transfer it to a large rectangular baking dish.
3. Soak the Toast In the Batter
Add several slices of bread to the egg mixture and soak them until they just absorb the mixture and feel heavy but don’t fall apart — 30 seconds to one minute per side should do it. Don’t overcrowd the baking dish; if you pack it full the bread will soak unevenly. Work in batches of about two slices of bread at a time, transferring soaked slices to a large plate.
4. Cook the French Toast in Batches
While you soak the bread, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook two of the soaked bread slices until they’re deep golden brown, the custard has set and the insides are cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes a side. Repeat with the remaining bread, melting an additional tablespoon of butter before adding two more slices. It’s important to carefully watch the bread as you cook it and adjust the heat between medium and medium-low to make sure the slices brown evenly.
5. Get Creative With Your Toppings
Although maple syrup, butter and powdered sugar are classic ways to finish off your French toast (and there’s nothing wrong with going classic), you can also top your creation with sliced fresh fruit. Or toasted walnuts. If you have a few extra minutes of time and feel like making a topping, consider this Really Vanilla Whipped Cream, Pear Compote or Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Kick things up a notch. Why not?
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