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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Challah French Toast

A while back I decided that I should make Challah bread.  I had only tasted Challah bread as french toast but figured anything that heavenly should become part of my repertoire.  I made two large loaves of Challah about 2 months ago.  After smearing a little butter on the first piece sliced off of the freshly baked loaf and determining, to my horror, that I didn't really like Challah that hadn't been turned into french toast, I put the loaves in an extra thick wrapping of aluminum foil and tossed 'em in my freezer.  The first loaf was made into french toast and bread pudding in pretty short order.  The second loaf has languished in the freezer where it was nearly forgotten.  On Friday night I was thinking about what I could make for breakfast this weekend without having to make a trip to the grocery store first.  I took the Challah out of the freezer and tucked it into the fridge overnight and on Saturday morning I whipped up some pretty fine french toast.  The exterior was lightly crisp and the interior was soft without turning into a puddle of milky crumbs.  It's clear to me that french toast was made for Challah and Challah was made for french toast.  There's a lid to every pot.  I halved the recipe because there were only two of us for breakfast but this recipe can be easily scaled to feed a few or a crowd.

You'll Need:

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah
unsalted butter
vegetable oil

Getting Started:

Slice Challah into 3/4" slices.  Two slices per person should probably get the job done. 

Mix together in a shallow dish (a pie or cake pan is perfect for this) the eggs, half and half, vanilla, honey, and salt.

If you're making more french toast than you can make in a single batch, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.  You can put the french toast on a plate in the oven to keep it warm while the other pieces cook.

Now You're Cookin':

Melt equal parts butter and vegetable oil in a large skillet or on a griddle turned to medium heat.

Dunk each piece of Challah in the egg mixture for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side.  If you want really well saturated bread you can let it sit in the mixture for up to 5 minutes total but you might find your slices begin to break apart around the 4 minute mark.  All bread is a little different.  4 minutes was the sweet spot for my bread.

Place the french toast in the pan and cook on each side until golden brown (about 3 minutes per side).

Serve with warmed maple syrup, powdered sugar, etc.

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