French toast is by far my favorite breakfast food of all time. In fact, it is a strong contender for my favorite food in general. When I was little my Grandpa Roger would make it for me every time I visited him. I loved going to his apartment on the weekends. It was a nice little escape from the stressful day-to-day of a 9-year-old. To this day, every time I eat french toast I think of him. Needless to say, I have eaten a lot of french toast in my day. Enough to know what I like and what I don’t like. You would think that somebody that knows exactly what kind of french toast they like would know exactly how to make it, but french toast is harder than you think. There are so many factors: The type of bread you use; How much milk you add to your egg mixture (custard); Do you use cinnamon and vanilla; How long you let the bread soak in the custard; How long you cook it for and on what heat level; How evenly your skillet cooks. The variables are endless and each yields different results. So to the drawing board I went, to try to figure out my favorite french toast method. I experimented with many different techniques and think I have settled on one that I am happy with.
We are not fancy bread type people, so I tend to use basic wheat sandwich bread, because it is what we have in the house. I am more of a thin crispy bread, sightly “overcooked” kind of french toast person rather than a thick soggy/wet french toast girl, so I don’t let the bread sit in the custard for too long. I start with cooking it on the stove until it is a nice even golden brown on both sides, and then I add it to the oven to get and even crisper crust, while maintaining just the right amount of moisture in the center. I also love cinnamon, so sometimes I can be a little heavy-handed in that department. It can be hit or miss, depending on the stove and pan performance and my level of patience, but overall it is the closest I have gotten to the delowcious french toast of my childhood. When it comes down to making it, really I just eyeball everything, which is another reason I get different results each time. But if I had to come up with a recipe, this is what I would say:
- Whole wheat bread
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup milk (Sometimes a little more, because I eyeball it and don’t like my french toast super eggy)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (If I was being honest, I probably use an entire tablespoon.)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (A little goes a long way, so be careful!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat eggs in a bowl large enough to dip bread into. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla and mix together.
Dip bread into mixture and let soak for 5-10 seconds. Flip and repeat.
Melt butter in a hot skillet set to medium-high and place bread into skillet. Let brown on each side (about 2-3 minutes – depending on your skillet and how brown you want your bread) and then place directly on the oven rack (or on a backing sheet with a cooling rack placed on top of it) and let cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove and serve immediately.
Notes: What I love about the stove to oven method, is that you can cook in bulk much easier. Make all your french toast on the stovetop and then add them to the oven at the same time so they can be served piping hot all at once! The only thing worse than soggy undercooked french toast, is cold crispy french toast.
- Recipe Yields: 4-5 pieces