January 27, 2015

Challah French Toast

We got hit with our first real snowfall in Connecticut this week.  While everyone was out rushing to buy "storm essentials", I went in the store with a list of ingredients to make a few dishes this week, such as Chicken Pot Pie and Sausage Cacciatore.

On my list for brunch this week was French toast. I have always loved French toast. My mom would make it for us when we were children and it always tasted so yummy. Crisp on the outside an almost sweet custard in the inside.  It looks so easy to make, but looks can be deceiving. I have tried to make it a few times, but I have never been able to get it just right. I have finally been able to accomplish this. So why is it tough? Good question. While combining the ingredients is a breeze, the toughest part is dipping the bread in the liquid mix and then cooking it just right. If you under dip it, it will be dry in the middle, and if you over dip it, there is a big chance it won't cook right or evenly.

Here are a few tips: 
  1. Leave the bread out, the liquid will absorb better into the bread if the bread has been left out a bit. Some recommend using a few days old bread.
  2. When you dip the bread in the egg mix you want to make sure you leave it in for a few minutes, about 3 minutes on one side and about 2 minutes on the other. Only flip it once. Take it out the dish and let the excess liquid fall back in the bowl. If there is too much liquid, the outside of the toast will brown and crisp, but you run the risk of the inside being runny, and that has always been my problem. Please learn from me. And repeat - I will not over dip.
  3. You want to make sure that the oil and butter and combined together and hot, but not too hot to burn or not hot enough to not cook it. I mix butter and olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. 
Let's begin. What do you need?


6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf of challah bread

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, and salt.  Slice the challah in a little under 1 inch thick slices.

Soak slices in the egg mixture. I do it one at a time, this way I keep a vigilant eye on the dipping process.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a very large pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

I transfer over to a plate and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon.

Enjoy it with Agave syrup and freshly cut strawberries.

Enjoy! And if you are in the east coast, stay safe, keep warm, and make these!

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