Baked French Toast

We are big breakfast people on the weekends.  And I mean these words literally, because the kids have always called it “big breakfast.” In better financial times, going out to breakfast was a special treat every couple of months, but lately getting the kids out of bed when Mom and Dad are up and hungry before 11 a.m. (much before! We’re usually up by 8) is nearly impossible and it just doesn’t make financial sense to pay $3 for a thimble of OJ and $6 for a plate of pancakes.

So, we are firmly an at-home big breakfast family these days. I look forward to it all week. Pancakes, French toast, omelets, waffles, you name it, we like it.  If it goes with bacon (nitrate free, I wish I could find organic bacon!) and sausage (organic chicken sausage), we like it. What I don’t always like is having to tumble out of bed and start cooking up a storm whilst in my nightgown, so the idea of something that I could make ahead was appealing (but then I had to get up anyhow and get it in the oven to bake and wait for it to cook, so it wasn’t a perfect solution!). Baked French toast from Martha’s November Living issue was definitely something I had to try.

Beat 6 eggs and add 2 cups milk and 1/3 cup cream with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp coarse salt and 1 tsp nutmeg (I substituted cinnamon). Dip 10 slices of day old brioche into the batter (I used challah). Place them in a baking dish and then pour remaining batter over the top. The recipe says you should overlap the bread slices over each other. I did this, but then realized half the bread was sitting in the batter while the other half was sitting up in the air, drying out, so I switched over to a baking sheet where I could lay them all flat. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours – mine went in overnight. Preheat oven to 375. Top with 1 cup chopped pecans (I would have liked to add this, but there are family members who would not eat it if I did, so I skipped it) and sprinkle with 3 tbsp sugar. Bake covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden about 20-25 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.

This was good, but I think I like regular French toast better. It was a tad too eggy for me. I like my French toast just a bit drier (and I also usually use cinnamon bread for it and that really makes it very tasty).  This is definitely a nice idea if you are feeding a crowd, although I think you’d better make a double batch because this recipe fed the 4 of us with only 1 slice left over!

Do you have a favorite “big breakfast?”

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32 Responses to Baked French Toast

  1. Alexandra says:

    As an innkeeper, I have discovered many people have pancakes as their favorite “big breakfast.” That being said, I make French toast a lot. I have started using raisin bread, which adds a nice twist. I was surprised that Martha recommends two hours in the fridge. Not sure what that is supposed to do. Tenderize the bread? Anyway, I suggest you do try it with the nutmeg next time. I use nutmeg in my recipe. Nutmeg is so subtle in what it adds, much more so than cinnamon.

  2. We are also french toast people and I don’t like mine soggy.. so often these baked versions are not for me. I have also used raisin bread (my kids love it). I found a baked french toast recipe from Cuisine at Home that comes out more with a custard flavor. I like to use actual baguettes too. But for the family, we tend to move fast on weekends and doing them on top of the stove works best.

  3. marthaandme says:

    There’s a LOT of liquid and letting it soak absorbs it all completely – which I guess is what I don’t like about it. Too much liquid in proportion to bread.

  4. I didn’t even know you could make French Toast like this. Love this idea. Sounds delicious.

  5. Christine says:

    Great idea, to have those nice big breakfasts….but at home. I know that’s got to be healthier than eating out. We love baked goods in the morning…this sounds delicious!

  6. sheryl says:

    I think I’m coming to YOUR house on the weekend. I love French Toast – but never make it!

  7. I love making overnight baked french toast–I did a version with panettone last year for my ILs’ Christmas brunch and it was fantastic! Really looking forward to panettone season so I can make it again.

    I’m pretty sure that you overlap the slices because the slightly-dry bread will act as a sponge while it sits, so that the pieces sticking out will become saturated with the eggy stuff in time. Then when it bakes those sticking-out parts will dry out a bit more than the rest, so you wind up with a lovely crunchy top with soft, melting insides. Oooo I’m making myself hungry.

  8. Merr says:

    I have never heard of this type of prep before. Very interesting.

  9. marthaandme says:

    Head on over! If you don’t mind the scary site of me in my nightgown with unbrushed hair standing over a griddle!

  10. Susan says:

    Yum! That sounds delicious.

  11. Just yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that we never go out for breakfast anymore, one of my favorite things in the world to do. Making something yummy like this at home is a great solution!

  12. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Interesting idea, but can’t imagine it saves all that much time. Then again, I’m a morning person so maybe good for the groggy night types.

  13. Desiree Vick says:

    I LOVE breakfast! The savory kind more-so than the sweet kind. I do love french toast and pancakes, but not really a danish or muffin kind of girl. I love me some bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns… you name it! We haven’t made breakfast in a long time, because we are rarely both home together in the mornings on the weekend, but I do miss it! Maybe a breakfast for dinner meal needs to happen really soon….

  14. I am not a breakfast eater, but could change my mind if presented with a menu like this.

  15. I really like to eat a hearty breakfast in the morning. But I tend towards salad and soup and fruits and away from breads. Because I have low blood sugar, I can’t really eat more than one piece of French Toast (especially if I want maple syrup…)

  16. Sassy says:

    I discovered Nigella’s Doughnut French Toast and fell in love. My kids love pancakes, though. And my husband is an omelette pan. Soooo, you can imagine breakfast in my household . . . I’m a short order cook!

  17. marthaandme says:

    Doughnut French Toast? OMG what in the world is that? MUST TRY

  18. marthaandme says:

    I do that sometimes too! If I do, I usually make fruit salad to go with it so it feels like there is nutritional benefit!

  19. Kerry Dexter says:

    no pancake or French toast fans around here. brown bread, other sorts of toast, flatbread, tortillas, biscuits, though — our baked goods can get quite international and they are all fun to make with our own twists on the recipes.

  20. It sounds like a great family tradition. I have a baked French toast on my site that I really love.

  21. Alene says:

    I’m on a diet to lose 10 lbs!!! I’ve lost 2.5 already. So it’s Raisin Bran w/ skim milk for me, & blueberries. But I saw the Martha recipe in the mag. & ripped it out for future use. And, I’m putting everyone’s suggestions on it – too much liquid, use nutmeg, etc. Thanks all for the suggestions. Just reading about it made me gain weight!! :-) Hope not.

  22. marthaandme says:

    Barbara – please share the link with us!

  23. marthaandme says:

    Sounds like a fun assortment.

  24. Jane Boursaw says:

    Mmmmm, baked french toast sounds absolutely yummy. I love breakfast – cinnamon oatmeal or Autumn Harvest cereal are favorites. Hubby makes eggs and turkey bacon quite regularly.

  25. marthaandme says:

    I used to use turkey bacon, but went back to nitrate free regular after a while – just missed the taste of it I guess

  26. I haven’t done baked french toast before, even though my kids love french toast–I usually just make ‘em one by one. This sounds so much easier.

  27. sarah henry says:

    We make something very similar in our house for a special treat breakfast, except we sit the bread in a layer of melted butter and brown sugar, so when you flip the brioche/challah bread after it’s baked it’s all gooey, chewy, and sweet on top. truly decadent — and not an everyday affair.

  28. marthaandme says:

    Oh my, that sounds good!

  29. I used to make a recipe like this, but it seems to have disappeared. I might have to try this – but with Portuguese sweet bread! Mmm.

  30. vonna vecchio says:

    what kinds of sugar? granulated or brown sugar?

  31. marthaandme says:

    Granulated. Whenever I saw sugar, that is what I mean. I specify if I mean brown sugar in my recipes

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