This classic french toast is perfect for a lazy weekend morning or any brunch menu. Thick slices of brioche bread dunked in a spiced custard then cooked till crisp on a cast iron skillet is the most comforting thing you'll eat all weekend.
I’ve been making this recipe so long that I've perfected it to have the right balance of everything you'd expect from a good french toast. Crisp edges, soft center, and intense flavor. The ingredient list is short, but I feel making french toast is mostly about technique and for that reason today's post is tip-heavy! Try to follow the recipe as is and I promise it will be so good!
Tips and recommendations:
- Use stale bread. If you have a fresh loaf, slice the bread the night before and leave on the counter covered with a kitchen towel. This will help the bread dry out a bit. You can also slice the bread and place on baking sheet in oven at 275 degrees F for 10 minutes to dry out if making french toast within the same hour.
- Use butter and oil to fry the bread. Butter alone will burn before allowing bread to completely cook through. Wipe skillet after every few slices to keep it clean of brown bits.
- After cooking each slice of bread, place on a baking sheet in oven around 275 degrees F to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest of the loaf. This also keeps the edges crisp.
- Guyanese plait bread works well here, if stale.
- Change up the flavor profile! I've added bourbon, grand marnier, and even a splash of dark rum to the custard.
- I sometimes make coconut french toast with this recipe. Add some coconut milk to the custard. After bread has soaked in the custard, dip in coconut flakes and place right onto hot skillet.
- Cook bread in a cast iron skillet or a tawa. It really helps the bread cook evenly and also gives it that desirable crust.
Best bread for french toast
I'm using store-bought brioche bread for this recipe. It's a perfect choice for french toast. It's thick and strong enough to hold up to the heavy custard and it has a nice sweet flavor profile. Challah would be my next option or Guyanese plait bread.
Egg to milk ratio
A good egg to milk ratio is crucial so that your toast doesn't end up tasting like scrambled eggs on first bite. This particular recipe is for 8 slices of toast, but if you want to scale the recipe for more or less, then ¼ cup of milk to 1 egg is good for 2 slices.
Click here for a vegan recipe.
I've not made french toast with gluten free bread, but I have substituted different type of milks. Cashew milk is my favorite option because it is has a nice creamy consistency. Oat milk, almond, and coconut can also be used here.
- 8 slices stale brioche or challah bread, sliced 1-in thickness
- 4 eggs
- ¼ tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
- Neutral oil for cooking (avocado or peanut oil work best)
- Butter for cooking
- Maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- Crack eggs in a wide shallow dish. Add orange zest and vanilla. Whisk a few seconds. Add salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. Mix well until spices are no longer lumpy.
- Cut bread into 1-inch thick slices
- Have four slices soaking at a time.
- Dunk four slices in custard mixture one at a time. Flip to the other side and dunk again. Place soaked bread on a plate and wait 5 minutes to ensure bread is soaked through before adding to the skillet. Repeat this process with the remaining 4 slices as you are cooking the first set.
- Heat skillet on medium. Add a little oil and 1 tsp butter.
- Place once slice on the skillet. Cover with lid. Cook 2 minutes or so on each side. When finished transfer cooked toast to oven or toaster oven to keep warm while cooking remaining slices.
- In between dunking each slice of bread, gently whisk custard to bring spices up from the bottom of the dish. Wipe skillet as needed to remove brown bits. Add more oil/butter to cook the next batch.
- Repeat the dunking and soaking process to cook the remaining slices of bread.
- Top with butter and syrup. Dust powdered sugar if desired.
This particular recipe is for 8 slices of toast, but if you want to scale the recipe for more or less then ¼ cup of milk to 1 egg is good for 2 slices of 1-inch thick sliced bread.