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Help, 1st time with oven french toast

l
Lady Godiva Aug 23, 2008 06:33 PM

My husband has requested an oven baked french toast for tomorrow morning. I've never made one before so I've been checking recipes online. But I'm a bit concerned about it being soggy in the middle. I've never cared for bread pudding or custard desserts, so I'd like to enjoy it as well. Is it possible to not have it be soggy? The bread I'm using is stale, so hopefully that will help.

Here's a recipe I'm thinking about.

6 - 1 inch slices of bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp Sugar (I might use honey)

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Do you think there's too much liquid for 6 1inch thick slices of bread? This will only be serving 2 people. Any other tips? Thanks!

  1. maplesugar Aug 23, 2008 07:08 PM

    The recipe I use calls for 4 eggs and 8 egg whites, plus a cup of milk (lowfat recipe) and serves 6. You could probably halve your recipe and still have two generous portions. I think the key though for non-mushy oven baked french toast is turning it... I'd bake it on rimmed cookie sheets lined with parchment so you can flip it halfway through (like you would if it were pan fried) to ensure more even doneness.

    Hope that helps :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: maplesugar
      l
      Lady Godiva Aug 23, 2008 07:36 PM

      Maplesugar, Thanks for the info.

    2. s
      Sherri Aug 23, 2008 07:58 PM

      I'm curious as to WHY oven baked French Toast VS pan sauteed French Toast? There must be something I'm missing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sherri
        l
        Lady Godiva Aug 24, 2008 05:13 AM

        Sherri,

        One of my husband's coworkers told him about a french toast they made overnight and baked for holiday celebrations. He thought it might be neat to try. So, the reason is my husband asked and it was something I hadn't tried before.

        I did make the original post quickly and didn't explain the details of the dish very well. The recipes I've been reviewing seem almost like a bread pudding because the egg mixture stays in the pan with the bread. Here's an example: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Fr...

        1. re: Lady Godiva
          s
          Sherri Aug 24, 2008 07:56 AM

          OK, now I understand. For two people, I just couldn't wrap my mind around Baked French Toast when you really like the pan variety and stated you don't like bread pudding, etc.

          "Baked Franch Toast" flies under numerous banners and every Junior League cookbook will have recipes for "Brunch Casserole", "Strata", "Baked French Toast" or something like that. They're pretty similar. These are beloved of hostesses everywhere because they can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning. There is no kitchen mess, no bother and the hostess looks like one of those magazine people happily pulling a full meal out of the oven with no apparent work involved. Very nice when you have a house full of hungry people on Christmas morning.

          These come in two main categories - sweet and savory.
          The basics are the same -- bread, eggs and liquid usually dairy like milk or cream. It is the add-ins and seasonings that vary. Once you get the basics, you can make these with your eyes (and cookbook) closed.

          Approx two pieces of bread per person, 1/2 C liquid + 1 egg. These proportions can vary depending on what else in in the strata/casserole/dish. Butter the bread, if you wish, it makes a rich dish even richer. Mix the milk & eggs with seasonings (SPTT, cinnamon-sugar or whatever you're using). You can either make "sandwiches" with the bread and fillings (think ham-cheese sandwich) or just layer. It wown't make a difference in the end product. Put the main ingedients into a buttered shallow baking dish, pour the egg-milk mixture over the top. It should cover everything and look liquid enough to be "squishy". If not, add another egg and some more milk beaten together. Cover and regrigerate overnight. Next morning, preheat oven to about 325 degrees and bake for about one hour. Voila! Breakfast for a lot of people and you're a hero.

          Sample ideas:
          SWEET
          apple-cinnamon
          apricot-orange
          pineapple-lemon
          you can make it simply with honey and vanilla or go all out with raspberries, jam, cream cheese and nuts

          SAVORY
          ham-cheese
          asparagus-cheese
          chorizo-onion
          corn-green chile
          sausage-potato
          artichoke-crab is both luxurious and as easy as the others; spinach-feta is unexpected and delicious

          1. re: Sherri
            l
            Lady Godiva Aug 24, 2008 05:41 PM

            Sherri, Thanks for all the guidelines and ideas. I really like the idea of the filling in between the layers.

            I have another question, if you don't mind. How much extra egg "batter" should there be? I had all my slices in a 8x8 glass dish and after it soaked overnight there was still about 1/3 inch of egg left. Is that normal or too much?

            1. re: Lady Godiva
              s
              Sherri Aug 24, 2008 06:50 PM

              1/3 inch is not a problem. Recipes are difficult to write because a lot depends on the porosity of the bread, thickness of the bread, etc.
              "What'd she say???"

              Different breads have different densities. Think Wonder VS a dense whole wheat loaf. More eggy batter will soak into the dense loaf and will not be absorbed by Wonder (because there's no there there ..... but that's another story). A thin slice of Pepperridge Farms white sandwich loaf will not absorb as much egg-milk as a 1" thick slab o'country loaf. Another factor is the bread's freshness. Dry, stale bread absorbs much more liquid than soft, fresh bread.
              NB: "French Toast" is what the French did with leftover stale bread and is called Pain Perdu (lost bread) in France. Great use of old, unusable product.

              This is where kitchen experience comes in. Even though the recipe states X number of eggs + Y amount of milk you need to know this is not gospel. It's likely in the ballpark if the recipe is written by someone who knows what he/she is doing, but use your own kitchen wisdom. Pour on a part of the mixture, wait a couple of hours and check. If it has all been absorbed, add more. If the egg mixture is just sitting there, it may have absorbed as much liquid as it is going to absorb. If you liked today's results with the extra eggy-milk, go ahead and add the rest. If it was too custard-y for you, hold off.

              Make a sweet savory Monte Cristo sandwich and top it with the egg batter for o'nite French toast. Think "Adaptations"! Good Luck on your quest and, most of all, enjoy this delicious journey.

      2. JoanN Aug 24, 2008 08:14 AM

        Too late for today, but here's a recipe from Gourmet for a Creme Brulee French Toast that's made the night before and baked the morning of. I make this whenever I have overnight guests because it's so easy and everyone loves it. I usually use challah instead of the country-style loaf called for in the recipe.

        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoanN
          l
          Lady Godiva Aug 24, 2008 05:43 PM

          Oh, that does look really good. Thank you!

        2. s
          SharaMcG Aug 24, 2008 09:29 AM

          One thing I always do with Frencb toast is add a tablespoon of flour to the batter. It gives the toast a nice custardy texture. I read somewhere that a lot of restaurants use this trick to make their French toast so good, so I tried it and it really works well.

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