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Recipe: Challah French Toast

For Mother's day I made my wife breakfast. We were running a little late for church so I gave her the option of either some creamy grits, or my famous French Toast. She chose the French Toast.

My French toast recipe, like so many of my others is a combination of multiple recipies and ingrediants. I almost never measure my spices according to any of the recipes and I tend to add things according to my whim. I understand that this makes it difficult to follow my instructions but I believe in cooking as an organic free for all process, which is why I am not a proffessional. Either way my wife said it was the best french toast I had ever made so I will have to assume it went well.

  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon good honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf challah bread
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup frosted flakes (crushed)
 The Mixing and Cooking Process:

Challah bread, as I have said before is a type of Jewish Bread that can be found at most kosher grocery stores. My local Remke Biggs has it in the bread section so it is easy for me to get but I do not see it at a lot of other stores.

First I hacked up all the Challah bread. I like to let it sit out on the counter to get a little stale. Many of the recipes call for stale bread but I never want mine too stale because I like it to be slightly fluffy instead of crisp through the middle.

Eggs and milk went into the bowl and I whisked them gently.  I added the vanilla, salt and honey to the bowl as I was whisking. I also added nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon although the recipe didn't call for it.   I usually go with more Vanilla than the recipe calls for. I also added more orange zest than the recipe recommended as well. I also added about half a cup of Vanilla Soy milk as well because I had some and I was experimenting.

I dipped the Challah slices into the bowl and would typically let them sit for at least a minute or two. I was also cooking her cheese eggs with spinach and green peppers so this gave me time to focus on other things. After I removed the Challah slice I would then flip it into a pan of crushed frosted flakes. The easiest way to crush frosted flakes is to put them into a ziplock and pound it a few times with a fist. Roll the slice around a bit to get it covered and then add it to the pan.

Every french toast recipe I have ever used tells me to cook it for only 3 minutes, but that always seems to under cook it. I usually go for 5-7 minutes a side, judging by if it turns brown. I usually overcook the first slice or two because my skillet temperature isn't right. I use an electric griddle for my French toast, as it frees up my stove top for other things, and it allows me to cook multiple slices at a time.

When the slices were done cooking I would butter each one on both sides and set them aside. Once the main cooking had been completed I sliced up strawberries to adorn them with. I also added a dollop of whipped cream to make it look delicious.

The Verdict:

I give the dish a 5 out of 5.

The dish turned out awesome, and not necessarily because the base recipe was so great, but because of my little changes that made it taste way better. My wife called it the best French toast I have ever made, which is small praise that I appreciate. It is a recipe I have been perfecting with time, so I am proud that it has continued to get better. I think the additional spices really made a difference and the challah bread was much better than using regular bread slices, or even French bread which tends to have a thicker crust.

The Base Recipe:
From Food Network

Challah French Toast

Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved

  • Prep Time:10 min
  • Inactive Prep Time:5 min
  • Cook Time:12 min
  • Level:Easy
  • Serves: 8 large slices
  • Ingredients

    • 6 extra-large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon good honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
    • Unsalted butter
    • Vegetable oil

    To serve:

    • Pure maple syrup


    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

    In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

    Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it's all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners' sugar.

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