Monday, September 19, 2011

Challah French Toast

Last week we went to Trader Joe's and we were debating buying some bread.  I haven't made bread for a while* - first it was hot out, and then I just didn't do it.  I thought I was done with storebought bread, but it's frustrating not having bread, so we went and looked at the breads and all of a sudden I was like, "OMG, Challah!"  

I've never owned challah** and never made it.  The last time I had it was at a naming ceremony for my friend's second kid, and he's on his third now.  Challah has historically been something I've encountered at celebrations, at other people's houses.   We grew up in a place of challah and good bagels.  We don't have good bagels here.  

So I don't know why, in that moment, it seemed to make sense to buy this rich, eggy bread that's closer to the texture of a croissant than the whole wheat bread I make, but it sounded awesome.  And it was. 

But that's a big loaf, and we really don't eat that much bread.  So it served all of our carb needs for the week.   Having Indian food?  Don't make naan, bust out the challah.  PBJ?  Challah.  Breakfast at work?  Pack a thick slice of challah.  BLT?  Feels sacrilegious on challah, but sure is delicious.  Need a snack?  Holla Challah. 

And still, after a week there was a good amount left, and this bread wasn't going to go to waste.  But we all know what challah is best at, right?  French toast.   It's legendary.  

I used three eggs, mistaking the amount of challah we had leftover.  Really, this is the same French toast recipe I use all the time the few times a year we have french toast, just with better bread.  We had too much egg mixture, so let's imagine you're going to make 3-4 servings with this.   We got a solid two out of it. 

A teaspoon of maple syrup, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half teaspoon each of vanilla and nutmeg and a pinch of salt. And 3/4 cup skim milk. 


Whisked together in a pie pan.   

I spritzed my griddle with olive oil - because that's what I have in my spritzer.  It wasn't enough so you could taste it, but another oil might be more appropriate here.  Then I put a small dab of butter down and set it on medium-low.

Meanwhile, I soaked bread.  

Flip it and get both sides good and coated, and drain.

Do you see the yolk-y spot on the right piece of bread?  Get rid of that.  If your eggs aren't whisked well, you end up with something like bread dipped in omelet. 
Apply bread to melted butter.

After about a minute, maybe two but not more, flip it.   When it's beautiful on both sides, take it off the stove. 

You don't have to just use pretty slices of bread for this.  Bread nubs work too.

Golden brown outside and custardy inside, challah is what all French toast should be made of. 

We each had a real slice and some scattered nubs, but there was enough egg mix to keep going.  We were just (finally) out of challah.

*We're all set and back to normal.  Since this shopping trip, I've made two loaves of the Cooks Illustrated Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, so we don't have to buy bread. I know you were concerned. 

**Challah has the best story of any bread.  It's easily shamed. No one is polite to focaccia like that. 

print recipe

Challah French Toast
Basic french toast recipe uses fluffy challah to make a decadent breakfast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 6-8 slices challah
  • a spritz of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter per slice 
  • a pinch of salt
In a pie pan or other flat dish, whisk together eggs and milk, very well. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple syrup and salt, and whisk some more. Spritz griddle or frying pan with oil, and apply a small dab of butter (1/2 teaspoon-ish) for each piece of bread you can fit on your pan at once. Heat to medium or medium low.Lay two slices of bread (or however many fit on your griddle or pan) in the egg mixture. Allow to absorb the mix for a minute, then flip. Once both sides are coated, drain on a wire rack for about a minute. Lay soaked bread in the melted butter and cook 2 minutes or so until brown and crispy on the bottom. Flip and do the same to the other side.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

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