7 Tips for Making Better French Toast
You’ll like the morning favorite even more once you’ve used these pointers.
French toast is such a simple and well-loved food that many of us cook it on autopilot, going through motions that we’ve long known. But whether you have an established method or are looking for one, know that a few simple tweaks can elevate French toast. Looking for an easy upgrade? Try these tips when cooking one of our favorite French toast recipes.
Most of French toast is bread, as its main ingredient and shape indicate. This may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting because of the door it opens to a massive upgrade. If most of French toast is bread, then changing that bread can deeply change your final product. You’re going to have a really hard time making top-notch French toast with white bread out of the plastic sleeve. For a better final breakfast, start from a fresh-baked loaf.
An additional route you can take is to begin from different kinds of fresh-baked bread. Challah, brioche, or even banana bread will give you a more flavorful French toast, slices with qualities that vary based on which bread you choose. Think of the possibilities!
Thinly sliced French toast loses something of its luxurious bite. So go thick, no thinner than half-an-inch. More bread per slice means a bite with more personality. It also means a greater ability to sponge up the egg-and-milk mixture, packing more goodness into each slice.
When you dunk your bread into its egg-and-milk mixture, slices that will soon become French toast change. They are imbued with what they absorb. So why not enhance what they can absorb, giving them more flavor? Spiking your egg-milk mixture with vanilla extract might be the best way to create flavor at this stage. But don’t sleep on cinnamon. A few shakes can go a long way. And though not as splashy, calling on farm-fresh eggs and whole milk will make a subtler difference.
When topping French toast just before eating, skip the corn syrup pretenders. Many aren’t maple, but rather “breakfast” or “pancake” syrups. Be sure you’re getting maple syrup, the real product boiled from the sap of the maple tree—a sweetener with eye-widening complexity.
Consider topping slices with a dollop of cool ricotta and a spoonful of your favorite jam, say cherry or apricot. Compound butters that embrace sweet ingredients, such as honey butter, can also add something different and welcome. These approaches can replace maple syrup. But if you want, you can mix and match.
French toast, we know, arises from bread dipped in an egg mixture. Given how much egg bread absorbs, you probably want to cook in a non-stick pan. Standard pans might give you the chance to develop more flavorful color during cooking, true, but spending 10 minutes scrubbing off egg glued to a pan isn’t fun. Non-stick does a great job, especially if you’re making big batches and want minimal cleaning between them.
There are times to only reach for a cooking oil like grapeseed, but this isn’t one of them. Butter gives French toast a deep richness and comforting quality, which are what we crave on mornings we sizzle this breakfast staple. To prevent burning or smoking, use a combination of butter and oil in the pan to cook the toast.