HI I’M MOLLY & I FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT FRENCH TOAST.
For me, not much beats French toast done right, especially served fresh off the griddle with a cup of tea on a brisk, autumn morning. The crisp, buttery outside of each slice giving way to a filling like rich custard. Subtly sweet. Warm and comforting. Drizzled in syrup or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, perhaps a pat of butter and some chopped nuts to boot.
(Perhaps all of the above.)
I could keep going, but I want to get to the meat n’ potatoes (lol) of this post, which is… *drumroll please*
5 Tips for Making Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time
French toast is one of the simplest dishes as far as ingredients and technique, requiring just a few basic items probably already in your kitchen and only about 10 minutes start to finish. Anyone can do it. But every now and then I come across French toast that is limp and soggy, or dry like toast in the middle. Sad face.
Don’t let that French toast be yours! Here are some things you can do to get consistently incredible results.
1. Use the right bread: slightly stale and dense/heavy
Seriously. The bread you use can make or break your French toast experience. Supposedly, French toast was invented as a way to avoid wasting bread that had gone stale. The bread acts as a sponge and soaks up the egg and milk mixture, so the drier (aka more stale) your bread, the more liquid it will absorb and the more custardy the inside will become.
Sturdier breads–like challah, brioche, and sourdough–are also better at absorbing liquid. Basically, the magic combo is a stale, heavy bread.
Bonus: If you get hit by a French toast craving, but your bread isn’t stale at all, stick slices on a wire rack in the oven at 300ºF for about 5 minutes on each side. Alternatively, if you’re thinking ahead, you can leave the slices out overnight.
2. Slice it thick
You want a good ratio of creamy inside to crispy outside. Also, there is less of a chance of your French toast going limp or falling apart if the slices are a little thicker. I usually aim for around an inch in width, maybe a little less.
3. REALLY soak that bread
This might be THE MOST crucial step for slam-bang French toast. Good French toast comes from the bread absorbing the egg mixture. Just quickly coating your bread and tossing it in the pan will leave you with fried egg on the outside and dry bread on the inside. Non, merci.
You’ve got a couple options here. One is to let the slices soak in the egg mixture for 5 minutes on each side. However, if you’re impatient like me, you can use a fork to gently but thoroughly press the slices into the egg mixture. Think about how a sponge absorbs water more quickly if you squeeze it underwater.
Remember: we don’t dredge French toast like we’re making fried chicken. We soak French toast. Because we’re awesome.
4. Preheat the pan
So usually I’m one for instant gratification (see: tip #5), but in this case you really have to let the pan heat fully. If the pan isn’t hot enough when the first slice goes in, the egg mixture will start to spread. You want that stuff on your bread, not making egg tails in the pan.
Bonus: A good rule of thumb for knowing your pan is hot enough is that butter will start to bubble and sizzle when it hits the pan.
5. Get the heat right
In addition to letting the pan preheat all the way, you want to cook your French toast at the right temperature. Medium to medium-low heat is best. If the heat is too high, the outside will cook too quickly and the inside will end up an undercooked, eggy mess. If the heat is too low, then your toast will be dry inside and less crispy on the outside. Medium heat is the Goldilocks cooking temperature.
These 5 tips should have you cranking out incredible French toast in no time. Ready to start now? Here’s a great recipe to practice with: