Baked Challah French Toast

July 25, 2017
16 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Rich, eggy challah makes an ideal base for French toast. Here, the Jewish delicatessen breakfast icon gets scaled up to feed a crowd. Topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup, the sweet strata makes a gorgeous centerpiece for any brunch gathering.

This recipe is part of a gorgeous Jewish deli breakfast spread. —Leah Koenig

Watch This Recipe
Baked Challah French Toast
  • Prep time 48 hours
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
  • 1 1-pound loaf challah, crust on, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • maple syrup, confectioner’s sugar, and fresh berries, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Lightly grease a 9x13 in baking dish and layer the challah pieces into the dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and remove the dish from the fridge. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar with the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the dish, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar on top. Bake until puffed and deep golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
  4. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Divide onto plates and serve with maple syrup, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and fresh berries.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mark Meyer
    Mark Meyer
  • Jocelyn Grayson
    Jocelyn Grayson
  • Leah Koenig
    Leah Koenig
  • LeenieRN
Leah is the author of Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen (Chronicle, 2015)

16 Reviews

LeenieRN December 27, 2020
Excellent. Made this Christmas Eve and cooked Christmas morning during the opening of presents! Kids and husband loved it. Fluffy and perfect - every bite. Bread soaked up all of the liquid (no junks of scrambled eggs like some recipes). Followed recipe except omitted the nutmeg since I did not have on hand. Will make again and again!
[email protected] November 7, 2020
Outstanding recipe, my boyfriend and I are obsessed! Made exactly as stated except used 1.5 loaves of challah to soak up the liquid overnight. Used sliced challah for the bottom layer(s) and ripped up larger chunks from a whole loaf for the top. Worked beautifully. 10/10 will make again!
Claudia V. February 16, 2020
How is this recipe warmed up the next day? Still as good? It's cooking in my oven right now, but guests have had to cancel. Thinking there will be leftovers...
Kat February 16, 2020
I have microwaved it in a bowl with a plate on top so it doesn’t dry out, and I have also reheated it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I cover the casserole dish tightly with foil so that it doesn’t dry out as well. Both methods have come out great.
Claudia V. February 17, 2020
Didn't see this before my brunch this morning, but also reheated in the oven as you suggested and still tasted great! Thank you for responding- delicious dish. Will make again for sure!
Mark M. February 9, 2020
I’ve made this numerous times and it’s come out correct once. The recipe calls for so much milk/liquids there is a ton left in the bottom of the pan even after the bread soaks. When you put it in the oven the super soaked pieces don’t bake all the way through and the other pieces just burn.
DJF January 7, 2020
This was so easy and absolutely delicious! I served this for brunch and everyone asked for the recipe. Always a good sign! Followed the recipe exactly and wouldn't change a thing. Served with fresh fruit and real maple syrup. Definitely a keeper!!!
Karen May 8, 2019
This is so luxuriously yummy! I made it with a loaf of brioche, as that was easier to find last night, and sprinkled blueberries all over it after I put it together. It baked up beautifully today and everyone loved it. This is a keeper!
Jane December 24, 2018
Made this for a family brunch today and everyone loved it! I used a challah bread that was 1.25 lbs but it still worked with the amount of liquid the recipe calls for. The only thing I did differently was stir the bread mixture in the morning before adding the butter and cinnamon sugar, because the bread cubes on top were still dry. It was delicious!
Mjoseph May 31, 2018
Should there be leftover mixture at the bottom of the tray? Once poured in with bred?
Kat June 22, 2018
Yes, much of that will be absorbed as it sits, and then it’s all gone by the time it’s finished cooking.
CF T. May 20, 2018
If I could give this 6 stars I would!!
Pam W. February 14, 2018
I made 1/2 quantity of all ingredients in a 9" square baking pan; let it sit in fridge over night. This was perfect! Simple to make and really delicious. The only change I made was I used all whole milk, no cream.
Kat January 13, 2018
I am in LOVE with this recipe! I always make my french toast with good challah bread but this morning, I needed something quick that I could prep the night before and pop into the oven in the morning as I got my kids ready. THis recipe came to the rescue. I daresay it is better than my regular french toast, which I am known for! Going into our regular weekend brunch rotation!

Note: I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand so I substituted CoffeeMate’s French Vanilla creamer and omitted the vanilla in the recipe. Worked beautifully.
Author Comment
Leah K. January 13, 2018
I'm so glad you enjoyed Kat! :)
Jocelyn G. October 29, 2017
This was delicious and so much easier than my usual production line.