When I was kid, I really disliked French toast. I didn’t like eggs and the way my mom used to make it was more egg-y than custard-y. I wasn’t having any of that.
Over the years of watching Saturday morning Food Network shows (Good Eats is the best), I learned of the custard-variety french toast, the kind usually served at fancy brunch places. The batter is often a base of eggs and cream or milk, plus flavorings. After I successfully made my first crème brûlée from scratch I thought “Hey, I can make a custard-like substance with ease!” and thus my French toast recipe was born. The first time I attempted to make French toast, I was living in my college dorm. I casually combined some ingredients on a weekend morning and voila, I had French toast.
Recipe: French Toast, The Lazy Weekend Way
Typically I make French toast on Saturday or Sunday morning. I am usually very hungry and slightly tired when I am making it, so I don’t really bother with measuring my ingredients carefully. I eyeball everything and determine the custard is ready when it looks good to me. I haven’t had a batch of French toast come out bad, so I must be doing something right. While I do not measure my ingredients carefully (if at all), I do follow a specific ingredient list. The goal is to create a custard-like mixture to dip the bread into, so I follow the basic principles of custard making.
Bonus points if you have a good sourdough bread on hand and you remember to leave a few slices out overnight to dry out — it helps the bread soak up more batter.
Here are my ingredients:
- 2-4 slices of slightly stale or dried out bread (white, french, or sourdough work best). If like me, you don’t always have stale bread, just toast your bread to rob it of some moisture. Fresh, moist bread will yield soggy French toast that is hard to flip in the pan.
- egg yolks (yolks by themselves work better at creating a custard, but you can use the whole egg if you want to)
- milk or half and half
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons of butter, for melting in the pan
If I am making french toast for myself and my boyfriend, I use:
4 slices of bread
2-3 egg yolks
about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
a teaspoon of cinnamon
a teaspoon of vanilla extract
Whisk together your egg yolks, sugar, and cinnamon* until they have lightened in color and combined; about 30 seconds of whisking. If you have ever made a custard, this step will seem familiar. *Adding the cinnamon at this stage helps it integrate better. In the past, I have added the cinnamon when I added the milk, which resulted in cinnamon clumps forming.
When properly combined, the eggs, sugar and cinnamon will look like this:
Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract until combined.
Heat a skillet or fry pan over medium heat and add enough butter to coat the pan. Once the butter is bubbling but not brown, dip your bread, one slice at a time into the custard mixture.
Allow excess egg-custard mixture to drip off the slice of bread and place the slice of bread immediately into the hot, buttery pan.
Fry the slice of bread until the first side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip. I typically turn my slices too early so I will flip them back and forth until they are brown on both sides. Be sure to keep your heat on medium; you don’t want to burn your French toast!
Repeat the dipping and frying process until you run out of custard mixture and bread slices, or reach the desired servings of French toast.
I always love to top my French toast slices with something tasty. My favorites are warmed orange marmalade and chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella), chocolate chips (if I don’t have Nutella), and maple syrup with butter or powdered sugar. Any type of jelly or jam would work too, as would slices of fruit. Get creative!
French toast with maple syrup, my boyfriend’s favorite:
French toast with orange marmalade and chocolate chips, one of my favorites:
Do you love French toast?