Whether you’ve got some leftover challah from Shabbat dinner or you’re buying a loaf specifically to make French toast, it’s the most wonderful (and easy!) Saturday morning breakfast out there.
Challah is the best bread for French toast, bar none. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to its custard soak and a shower of maple syrup, yet tender and fluffy enough to cut with a fork. Cooked in a generous amount of butter, the thick slices of challah become beautifully browned after just a few minutes in the skillet.
How to Make Challah French Toast
Preparing French toast from challah is no different than using other breads. The method is simple: You’ll whisk up a mixture of milk and eggs flavored with vanilla and spices, dip the pieces of bread into the custard, then pan fry them in butter until golden brown.
I prefer a substantial (but not comically thick) slice of French toast, so I aim for slices that are about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. This way, the French toast is cooked all the way through while also getting browned nicely on the outside without the butter burning. Over medium heat, the slices cook in just three minutes per side.
You’ll want to monitor the heat on your stove, since they can vary. I also recommend using a fairly heavy, nonstick skillet if you’ve got one, for the most even cooking results.
How Much French Toast Can You Make with a Loaf of Challah?
This recipe makes 8 substantial slices of French toast. Depending on the size of your loaf of challah (some are larger and fluffier than others!) That being said, you might also end up with some soaking liquid left over.
You can stretch the amount of French toast to 12 slices if you like (by cutting thinner slices of bread), then just add another 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet to cook a third batch.
Alternatively, I like to use the leftover soaking liquid to make a not-too-sweet bread pudding the next day.
Use Fresh or Day-Old Challah Bread for French Toast
Fresh or day-old challah will both work well in this recipe. That’s part of the magic of challah French toast—the bread isn’t so delicate that a fresh loaf will fall apart, but if it’s on the staler side, it will revive beautifully when given the French toast treatment.
Other Types of Bread to Use for French Toast
Of course, you can still make French toast if you don’t have challah on hand! My favorite other kinds of bread to use are Texas toast and brioche. These are more delicate than challah, so you’ll want to reduce their soaking time to about 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.
Crustier, more sturdier breads like baguettes or batards work too, you’ll just want to give them a longer soak in the custard (a minute or two per side) so that they can soften a bit before cooking.
Types of Milk to Use for French Toast
You can use alternative dairy and non-dairy milks for this recipe too. This recipe calls for whole milk and buttermilk, which adds tanginess that contrasts well with super sweet maple syrup, but you can use 1 1/2 cups of whole milk by itself.
You can also use 1 1/2 cups of low fat or skim milk, or any plant-based milk, unsweetened or sweetened (though you’ll want to watch the browning carefully if your milk is sweetened). Around the holidays, a mix of half eggnog and half milk is good too!
How to Serve Challah French Toast
I like to serve my French toast simply, topped with butter and maple syrup and with a handful of berries on the side. If you want to make it extra festive, you can shower yours with powdered sugar, too. If maple syrup isn’t your thing, you can top your toast with homemade jam or even a slick of peanut butter or other nut or seed butter.
French toast can also be a part of a bigger breakfast. Eggs, bacon (or tempeh bacon if you keep kosher and/or vegetarian), on the side are always welcome, as are fruit salads or orange wedges.
How to Keep Challah French Toast Warm
I tend to serve my French toast straight out of the skillet, while it’s still nice and warm. If you need yours to hold at a warm temperature for a little while though, place a sheet pan in a warm oven (250°F) and transfer slices to the sheet pan as they’re cooked.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover French Toast
Leftover French toast can be stored in the refrigerator, in a tightly lidded container or plastic zip top bag, for up to 3 days.
To reheat: Heat the French toast in the toaster for a few minutes or place a couple slices on a plate in the microwave for a minute. You can also freeze leftovers in freezer bags, then pop them in the fridge the night before you plan to serve and reheat in the same way.
More French Toast Recipes
Challah French Toast
If you need to keep the French toast warm after cooking place them in a warm (250ºF) oven on a baking sheet as they come out of the skillet, for up to 30 minutes. If you leave them warming in the oven for longer, they will begin to dry out.
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 (1-inch thick) slices challah
Sliced bananas or berries (optional)
Make the egg mixture for the French toast:
In an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
Soak the slices of challah:
Place once slice of challah into the egg mixture and let it sit and soak up the mixture for about 30 seconds. Gently flip the slice over and let them soak for another 30 seconds.
Cook the challah French toast:
As you place challah in the egg mixture, in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.
Use a pair of forks to lift out a slice of challah from the egg mixture, letting any excess liquid drip off. Transfer it to the skillet and repeat with the 3 slices of challah (you’ll cook 4 slices of challah at once).
Cook the French toast until golden brown and cooked through, flipping halfway through cooking, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to serving plates.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and repeat the dunking and cooking steps with the rest of the slices of challah.
Serve challah French toast:
Serve the French toast warm, topped with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and sliced bananas or berries.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 23g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||55%|
|Total Carbohydrate 43g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|