The perfect French toast has a crisp, golden-brown exterior with a soft, creamy inside. Usually served as an indulgent weekend brunch dish, French toast is a great way of using up stale bread by simply adding everyday ingredients that most of us have in our fridge.
How to make the French toast
1. You can use any stale bread for French toast but avoid thin sandwich bread, as it’s likely to fall apart when dipped in the egg mixture. Brioche, challah, sourdough and a white bloomer are all popular bread choices for this dish. Chunky slices, about 2cm thick, will give the ideal balance between crispy exterior and soft inside when cooked.
2. Crack the eggs into a shallow dish that’s wide enough to soak your bread slices in later. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon, then whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.
3. Place one bread slice in the egg mixture to soak, turning it so that both sides are fully saturated. Don’t leave it soaking for too long though or your French toast will be soggy.
4. While the bread soaks in the egg mixture, lightly brush a frying pan with a little butter, and place it on a medium heat.
5. Add the bread to the hot pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp and golden-brown. Transfer to a serving plate and keep warm. Repeat the soaking and frying procedure for the remaining bread slices. Carefully wipe the pan and add more butter between slices to avoid burning the French toast.
6. Dust each piece of French toast with icing sugar and serve with your choice of topping. Popular options are maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit such as bananas, blueberries or strawberries.
No matter what bread you choose to use, French toast is best made with stale bread. If your loaf is too fresh, slice it and leave the slices out unwrapped on a board or rack overnight to dry out. Alternatively, dry the slices in a low oven for a few minutes before starting the recipe.
French toast isn’t just a sweet treat. Try a savoury version such as cheese and ham or simply top your toast with sautéed spinach, mushrooms or bacon – perfect as a breakfast, snack or light lunch. Omit the sugar in the base recipe when preparing savoury French toast.