This Is the Best Brioche French Toast

Precisely how to make brioche French toast that wins the morning.

Classic 100 French Toast

Classic 100 French Toast

Photo by: Caitlin Ochs

Caitlin Ochs

With a crisp exterior and delightfully moist, tender and custardy center, French toast is a treat no matter which way you slice it. Although there are countless iterations on French toast, from Stuffed French Toast to Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole, sometimes classic is best. And that’s where Food Network Kitchen’s recipe for The Best French Toast comes in.

Our testers whipped up countless iterations of French toast (Tough job, eh?) and decided that plain old white sandwich bread sliced 3/4-inch thick — or brioche or challah bread for added richness — makes for the best results imaginable. Why? Thanks to their spongy structure, these varieties of bread absorb maximum egg mixture without falling apart.

But we’re here to discuss brioche French toast in particular. Anyone who’s had a fantastic version knows that brioche French toast quite simply tastes like a fluffy dream. Much richer than other varieties of bread thanks to lots of butter and eggs, brioche is a French yeasted bread that has a smooth tender crumb and thin shiny crust.

Although many French toast recipes call for stale bread, we prefer to lightly toast brioche bread slices in the oven instead. Why? Fresh toasted bread tastes better than stale bread, period. Slice up a whole loaf of brioche into 3/4-inch thick slices, arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until they’re very lightly golden on both sides.

Next, make an egg mixture. Brioche bread soaks up more liquid than other varieties of bread, meaning you can add in more eggs than you typically would. This is a great thing, because more eggs equal more rich, custardy flavor. We’d recommend whisking up 10 large eggs, 2 cups of half and half (now is not the time to use skim milk), 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. Add in some tasty flavorings like a few teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg. And don’t forget to whisk in a pinch of kosher salt to balance out all of those sweet flavors.

Transfer the custard into a two-quart baking dish so there’s more surface area for soaking your brioche bread slices. Gently press two slices of the toasted bread into the custard. We like a slightly longer soak time on the bread to give it a luscious, moist texture, about 1 minute per side. Turn the bread when you feel it start to soak up the custard. The bead should feel heavy but still hold its shape and not fall apart. If you like your French toast on the drier side, cut the soak time down to 30 seconds per side.

Now you’re ready to cook your French toast. Bust out a large nonstick skillet. You’ll be flipping lots of toast and want zero sticking to occur, otherwise you’ll have to constantly clean out your skillet between batches. So skip your cast iron skillet. Melt a pat of butter in the skillet over medium-low heat and cook two of the soaked bread slices until they are a deep golden brown color, the custard has set and the insides are cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. You’ll know the toast is done with the center of the bread puff slightly and the crust contracts, making it look puckered.

Use your best judgement here, adjusting the heat between medium and medium-low if the bread browns too quickly or not fast enough. And remember: Even though you probably have a hangry family on your hands, patience is key when it comes to cooking up batches of brioche French toast.

When each batch of French toast is done, transfer the slices to a rimmed baking sheet and hold it in a warm oven until you’re finished cooking all the toast.

Finally, make sure you serve it with all of the best fixings: real maple syrup, plenty of butter, confectioners' sugar and fresh berries.

That's the gist to morning glory, but if you want helpful visuals, head to the Food Network Kitchen app for a step-by-step guide to making The Best French Toast — sign up and right now you'll get a 90-day free trial. You’ll be able to drop in to cooking classes, pick up expert tips for acing breakfast classics, learn fun new recipe ideas — and so much more.

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