Who doesn’t love French Toast? Show me, one person! 🙂 The weekend has come and it’s time to indulge in the ultimate breakfast or brunch or just whenever the heck you feel like having it. French toast. It’s one of my favorites: That soft sweet, melt-in-your-mouth goodness… it sounds great, right?
It can be… unless you used the wrong bread and then it’s a little less tasty than what I’ve just described.
In order to avoid mistakes when choosing the appropriate bread, I am here to answer the question: Which bread is best suited for making French toast?
The best bread for making French Toast is the bread that is rich in fats and sugar, one that has an even, tight crumb. This texture will help the bread act as a sponge to absorb the egg mixture. Brioche, Japanese milk bread, or Challa would all make a perfect match for French Toast.
What To Look For When Deciding Which Bread To Use For French Toast?
The truth is you can use any bread to make French toast but not every bread will give a good result and so, as with everything in life, some bread
basically, We want two main things from the bread we use for French Toast:
- That the bread will not disintegrate in contact with the egg mixture in the first stage of preparation or when flipping it on the pan later on.
- Have a soft, airy texture.
The milk and egg mixture soaked in the bread creates pressure, one that not all bread can handle well. That’s why we need to choose a strong and stable bread whose crumb is stringy and flexible so that when they come into contact with the egg mix they will hold, not tear, and still have a soft and fluffy airy texture.
Bread that contains fatty ingredients such as butter oil and eggs can meet these standards and as you know, brioche bread, challah, and Japanese milk bread are made of exactly these ingredients and answer nicely to the two desired goals.
Can You Use White Bread For Franch Toast?
Chances are that you won’t
You should be careful not to absorb too many eggs in the bread because white bread crumb is not as flexible and stringy as the one found in brioche.
The bread can fall apart with too much liquid in it especially if the bread is pre-sliced and you can not control the thickness of the slice. A standard slice is relatively thin and may, therefore, be torn from the load of the egg when flipping the french toast in the pan.
Should I Use Dry or Stale Bread For French Toast?
The answer is yes. You do not want to use bread fresh out of the oven for french toast. It will not soak up as much of the eggs and milk mixture. Let your bread sit for a couple of days even three.
It is worth saying that you do want your bread to be a bit dryer than a fresh loaf in the journey to making a perfect French Toast but if the bread is too dry it will fall apart. In the case of White Bread, you might want to use it when it is a bit fresher than if you were using a Brioche let’s say.
Note: When the bread is too dry it can still work but the hydration and flexibility
Which Bread Should I Make for French Toast?
If you are new to baking or just feeling like making French Toast from scratch it might be better to start off by making Challa first. Only because it is easier and cheaper. Once you are comfortable with it you should move on to Brioche and keep Japanese Milk bread last. Japanese milk bread is kept last because it uses more techniques and will be more demanding on a novice baker. This means more places to screw up with the bread.
French Toast Bread Hacks
A great variation on Challa bread or any of the top three I have mentioned earlier is the addition of raisins. Adding raisins to your bread for french toast will give it that extra kick when frying the bread. The sugars in the raisins will crystalize and will help to create a nice crunch to the outer layer in addition to adding some great flavor.
Add the raisins at the end
If you are using a mixer take the dough out just before it is ready.
Add the raisins and gently knead the dough by hand the rest of the way until the raisins are evenly distributed in the dough. This will prevent the raisins from totally tearing up in the dough. Don’t worry if some break up on you it’s natural.
While not everyone enjoys cinnamon I for one am crazy about it. To me, the addition of spicy, woody flavor of cinnamon, just takes it to another level. If you are going to add some cinnamon to your bread follow these steps:
- Sift the cinnamon first
- Add some sugar to it and mix it together gently ( not with your hands you will add oils to it and make it lumpy again.
- Spread your dough out into a square.
- Brush our dough with a bit of oil
- Sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the oil
- Roll the dough into shape.
Note: The oil on the dough will help the cinnamon stick and will prevent it from rolling off when
Stroizel aka Streusel
What is Stroizel? It is the European (mainly German) version of what is better known as crumble in The US and Canada. A nice twist on replacing a crust with some doughy buttery crumble. Usually used on pies and cheesecakes it is also very popular on Challa. Try it out with the raisin Challa and you will be taking this bread from French Toast to heaven in your mouth.
Sweet Challa Recipe
Yields 2 large Challas
20 g (1 tbsp) salt
1 kg – 2.2 lbs or about 7 cups of flour
25 grams (2 and a half tablespoons ) of dry yeast
120g (1/2 cup) sugar
120g (1/2 cup) oil
2 Large eggs
520 ml of water – about 2 cups and a bit
For the egg wash + topping
1 Teaspoon water
beat them together
Pick your topping: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coarse sugar, stroizel
- 80 gr Sugar or a bit under 1 Cup
- 100 gr Flour or 7/8 of a cup
- 100 gr ground Almonds or 1 Cup
- 100 gr Butter soft
- pinch of salt
mix them together until they become like crumbly cookie dough. sprinkle this on the Challa before baking to add a nice sweet crunch.
Activate the yeast
- Take a cup and fill it halfway with water ( use the water from the 520 ml )
- Add a teaspoon of sugar to the cup
- add all the yeast to the cup of water with the sugar and mix it up. ( the yeast will stick to your spoon. Just knock it off. Don’t worry if not all of your yeast has dissolved in the water. It will over time.
- set it aside and let it work its magic
Mixing and Kneading the dough by hand
- take a large bowl and the salt
- add the flour
- Add the sugar and mix them together
- add your eggs and oil
- add about half of the water ( about 250 ml or 1 cup ) and give them a slight mix
- Add the yeast mix you made earlier ( it should have frothed up by now )
- Mix it all together and add the rest of the water
- flour your working surface. Take the dough out of the bowl and start kneading it.
- Knead for about 10-12 min until the gluten has formed a nice strong and flexible mesh. You can use the window pane method here. Stretch the dow until you can see light through it. If it does not rip its ready.
- Once your dough is ready, start to tuck all the dough int to the center and form a nice tight ball of dough and place it back in the bowl.
- Brush some oil on the ball of dough so it does not dry out and cover it with a damp towel.
- Let it sit for about 45 min to an hour or until it has gotten about 1.75 to 2 times in size.
Further proofing and molding
- Once proofed take it out of the bowl and cut out your portions ( depending on how many challahs you want to make. for the sake of this article cut the dough into two and then half them again to get 4 equal parts. This will make 2 large challahs.
- once you have your ports of dough roll them back into tight balls, set them aside and cover them with a damp towel. Let them sit for about 15-20 min.
- You will now notice they have almost doubled in size again.
- Take each portion out and flatten it on your working table. Now start to roll the dough into elongated sticks or “sausages” ( see instructional video )
- Braid your Challah ( in the instructional video ) and place it on your baking pan.
- Cover the challah and let it proof once mover. About another 25 min or so. It does not need to double but should get to about 1.5 to 1.75 of its original size.
How To braid A Challa The Easy Way
Preheat the oven to 360º F or 175º C
- In a small bowl beat 1 egg with a teaspoon of water.
- Brush the egg mix on to the Challah and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds or coarse sugar if you like.
- put the Challah in the oven and turn down the over to 330º F or 160º C
- Bake for about 18 min and then turn the pan in the oven. This will give your Chala an even bake all around
- Bake for another 7 min or so until you get a nice golden bake all over the loaf. Check the lower part of the Challah to see that it has a nice golden brown color.
- Once fully baked take out the
- Challah and place it on a rack with plenty of space underneath is to is can cool properly.
- The ideal waiting time before eating is 2-3 hours let it sit at least 45 min if you just can’t wait to get int it.
For the French Toast, you might want to let this bread sit for a couple of days.
If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below. I’ll be more than happy to answer them.