Adding a dash or two of five-spice—a warm, fragrant mix of a few standout spices—transforms this breakfast classic for the better. Try it in your next batch of French toast, plus a side of candied bacon (because why not?), and you'll never make it the same way again. —Josh Cohen
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Hilton Garden Inn. —The Editors
slices of challah bread, cut approximately 3/4-inch thick
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and whisk thoroughly. Add the five-spice powder, and whisk to combine, making sure to eliminate any lumps.
In order to efficiently soak the challah bread, I like to transfer the egg mixture to a large casserole or baking dish. Soak the slices of challah bread in the egg mixture. If you can’t fit all of the bread into the egg mixture at one time, stack slices of bread on top of each other as necessary. Allow the bread to soak for 20 minutes, making sure to rotate the bread from the bottom of the stack to the top at least twice.
Set a small pot over low heat and add as much maple syrup as you think you will want with your French toast. If you don’t want warm maple syrup with your French toast, then you can skip this step, but I recommend that you try it!
Set a large skillet over medium heat, and add the canola oil. When the oil is warm, add the butter. The canola oil will help prevent the butter from burning. When the butter is hot and bubbling, add as many slices of bread as you can comfortably fit in the skillet in a single even layer. Cook the French toast until it is nicely browned on one side, then flip it and then cook it until it is nicely browned on the other side. Cook the French toast in as many batches as necessary. Add extra butter if the skillet begins to look too dry. Serve with the warm maple syrup and candied bacon, if you like.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.