5 Ingredients or Fewer

Bell-less, Whistle-less, Damn Good French Toast

by:
March  8, 2022
4.3 Stars
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There are things in life that just ought to be simple, and to my taste buds, French toast is one of them. Mine has only three ingredients, depending on the quality of the bread to carry the dish, and the quality of the accompanying butter and syrup to finish the dish to perfection. It's critically important to use good-quality challah for French toast. I had no idea how important until I tried it the first time. I'll never go back. Fresh fruit is an acceptable add-on, but preserve me from cinnamon, powdered sugar, and the like. —Kayb

Test Kitchen Notes

There's nothing to making this French toast recipe. All you need is the bread, eggs, heavy cream, a little bit of butter, and some good-quality maple syrup, and breakfast is ready to go. But there is one thing that makes it exceptional: the cream. The developer of this recipe, KayB, cuts to the chase, forgoing spices and extracts, and focusing instead on just the basics. Once you give it a try, you'll see why you don't need that extra stuff. But it's really important to get the best ingredients you can, which will truly make a lot of difference. Hopefully you have a bakery where you can get good challah from. Or you can make it yourself if you're feeling fancy and enjoy baking bread. But as KayB says, you should always get a couple of the loaves that you love and be sure to stick one in the freezer. That way, you can have French toast whenever the craving strikes, which we are certain will be often after you make this recipe.

And this is how you make it: You whip together the eggs and cream, which form a custardy mixture, then dip the eggy bread into this custard. Make sure to gently squeeze the bread with your fingertips to draw the eggs and cream to the center—and fry them in butter. It'll be done and cooked in 15 minutes total, can't go wrong with that. Outside is a crisp crepe-like shell. Inside, pudding. Okay, seriously, what are you waiting for? —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Bell-less, Whistle-less, Damn Good French Toast
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf challah bread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Slice the challah into ¾- to 1-inch-thick slices. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and cream.
  2. Heat a griddle or flat grill pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter for every 2 pieces of French toast, swirling the butter around to cover the surface.
  3. Dip a slice of the bread into the egg mixture; turn and repeat. Cook for about 90 seconds, until golden on one side. Turn and continue to cook for about 1 minute, until the second side is golden.
  4. Serve with more butter and the maple syrup alongside.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Robert Olding
    Robert Olding
  • Clay Horste
    Clay Horste
  • Philip Lee
    Philip Lee
  •  Marion Dunn
    Marion Dunn
  • Tracie
    Tracie
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!

78 Reviews

Danielle March 21, 2022
I think it's a very good base recipe, but it lacked flavor. Good maple syrup helped, but it still needed some more help. Next time I will add either cinnamon or nutmeg (or both), possibly a little vanilla
 
Cracker February 14, 2022
Years ago my husband & I discovered his bread machine basic white was perfect for French toast … using Bird’s custard w a bit of nutmeg & vanilla. I think of him every time I make it. 🙂
 
ss1975 February 11, 2022
Brioche is better than Challah for french toast. i use vanila, a little sugar cinnamon and netmeg to beaten eggs. i like spice in my french toast.
 
Robert O. November 28, 2021
I've always hated French Toast. This recipe has shown how wrong it has been served to me all my life.
 
ss1975 February 11, 2022
then dont reply.
 
neenagoswamy January 10, 2021
This is a good recipie - the only area where we fell short was getting the right bread, I couldn't find challah in time so I opted for french bread, which was hard to cut since we got a roll instead of a loaf. Will def. make again - didn't take long and we enjoyed topping it with strawberries and maple syrup!
 
Peaches November 9, 2019
This is a great recipe. Quick and easy, and tastes rich and delicious. Brioche or challah work well. I add a dash of canola oil along with the butter in the skillet, to prevent burning. And we love confectioners sugar on French toast!
 
Natalia August 16, 2018
Just made it: super quick, easy and worked great with a fresh ciabatta.
 
Clay H. February 3, 2018
I modified this recipe a bit. I don't have challah laying around, but I did have a few pieces of potato bread laying around that I let dry out overnight. I then made everything according to the recipe, but when I put the pieces on my griddle, I sprinkled them on both sides with a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture that I made. That added a little bit of a sweet cinnamony crispy crust if you enjoy a sweeter french toast.
 
ss1975 February 11, 2022
thats not the right bread to use.
 
Philip L. September 13, 2017
What are you trying to prove by not adding vanilla?
 
ss1975 February 11, 2022
not only that, i had cinnamon and netmeg to mine.
 
Mitzie B. March 27, 2017
I Love French Toast !!
 
Marion D. October 6, 2014
I like to butter the toast, add a spoonful of brown sugar spread over it and then a spoonful of coffee. Makes a great syrup!
 
grasspress June 24, 2014
you can't 'soak the bread in the batter until it is soaked through' you silly. it will be nearly impossible to retrieve it without shredding and coming to pieces going from the batter to the pan. admittedly, it will still be good, just no longer bread slices. more like bits and pieces.
 
dymnyno June 24, 2014
If you use a bread like brioche, it doesn't shred. It holds together nicely. The finished toast tastes a lot like bread pudding. (basically the same ingredients)
 
Rorinski June 24, 2014
No, no, no, no! Doesn't anybody know anything about French toast? You soak the bread in the batter until it is soaked through. THEN you sauté it in butter. Anything less isn't worth eating -- just fried bread.
 
dymnyno June 24, 2014
I think the method and length of soaking the bread to make French toast is a personal issue. I use brioche bread (Bouchon Bakery) and soak the bread through as you do, and that is my own preference. But there are many other methods, including of spices, and types of bread to use that are just as good, just different. Probably there is a lot of regional influences too.
 
dymnyno June 24, 2014
probably there are a lot of regional...
 
Tracie March 28, 2014
I love how easy and absolutely delicious this recipe is. It's a great simple dish that I feel like I can now make without a recipe and it still turns out delicious! Thank you!
 
grasspress March 23, 2014
here's another fast and easy french toast recipe for cooks with kids still in the house and who are still working and don't have time for 'preparation'. i use the 'hawaiian' bread cut into slices, but i'm sure you can use any bread you have around that is near its shelf life. now, you will have to gauge the ingredients to your audience, but it's a forgiving recipe so don't fret. pour about a cup and a half (or more, depending on need) of half n half into a pie pan, add a few tablespoons of sugar, a shake of salt, a few eggs and then mix well with a fork. add a few sprinkles of cinnamon and stir again. get your griddle hot and slick (spray or small amount of cooking oil) and then dip your cut bread slices in the mix, first one side then the other, place on griddle and cook one side to your liking, flip and cook the other. add more ingredients to the pie pan to finish up your slices, if needed. keep your butter handy to spread over the toast as soon as it comes off the griddle. this keeps your kids from having to do it and messing up the butter dish and reduces the messes you will have to clean up later. if you don't trust your kids to appreciate expensive maple syrup, make up a simple syrup (half water, half sugar, heated, with a drop or two of maple flavoring) and serve the little buggers. they'll love it! or at least my kids did.
 
Mulzee March 14, 2014
I just made this for breakfast and it was absolutely delicious. I didn't have Challah bread on hand but will definitely try that next time. Thanks for the great and simple recipe!
 
Lorraine January 11, 2014
I like to dry the bread out just a bit on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep it from getting soggy. Also, I sometimes add a bit of orange extract to the eggs for a citrusy accent.
 
sandra December 1, 2013
ok not to sound stupid but what is Challah bread and what can I use to subsitute
 
Kayb December 2, 2013
Challah is the traditional Jewish "braided bread." It's heavy on eggs -- any brioche-type loaf would probably work.
 
Dalia R. December 1, 2013
Sounds good. I will miss the cinnamon. I usually use Hawaiian bread. Get the apple bacon at Trader Joe's.
 
April January 5, 2014
oh yes, the applewood smoked bacon at Trader Joe's is the best!
 
Bonita Q. December 1, 2013
WOW! i just printed this recipe,its beeen a long time since I had some real good french toast,sounds delish!!!!