Let’s cut to the chase: This is breaded bread. Instead of the usual French toast technique—dunking in custard, then pan-frying—the dredge is extended to what I call the 1-2-3. First, flour, then custard, then bread crumbs. Often, this is employed for proteins, like chicken tenders, for an extra-crispy crust. Here, it sends French toast over the top. I like challah best, but brioche and even sourdough work as well. Fresh or stale both work. —Emma Laperruque
3 to 5
all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
half-and-half (or cream or milk or any combination of the two)
Pinch kosher salt
panko bread crumbs, plus more as needed
Couple giant spoonfuls honey
Louisiana-style hot sauce (no spices!), to taste
1-inch-thick slices challah
Unsalted butter, for frying
In This Recipe
Set up your dredging station: flour on one plate; half-and-half plus eggs, bourbon, and salt in a shallow bowl (a piedish works well here); panko on another plate. Whisk the half-and-half mixture with a fork until completely smooth.
Make the hot sauce honey. Microwave the honey until runny. (Or place it in a glass, nestled inside a bowl of hot water.) Add hot sauce to taste.
Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add a big hunk of butter (figure about 2 tablespoons) to the pan. Bread a couple slices of challah: Cover in flour. Dip in custard, making sure it gets completely soaked. Cover in panko. By now, the butter should be melted and the skillet should be hot. Add the breaded challah—it should sizzle! Fry for about 3 minutes, until the bottom is deeply browned. Add another, smaller pat of butter to the pan and flip. Fry the other side for the same amount of time, until deeply browned. Sprinkle with salt.
Repeat with the remaining bread slices, wiping out the pan and replacing with butter as needed. Serve French toast hot, with hot sauce honey drizzled on top.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.