I've been baking a lot of challah in recent weeks for my Friday night dinner. Since my 2.5 year old *loves* challah, I make at least two loaves and keep them around for him to polish off over the weekend. Occasionally, he doesn't manage to finish all of the tasty bread, and I have an excellent excuse to make French toast.
The lovely thing about French toast is that the bread can be pretty darned old and it will only make the end product tastier. Usually, freshly baked bread is only really good for a day or two (not that my 2.5 year old notices, but I do!). In Florida, I have to keep our bread in the fridge because it's so humid that it gets moldy quickly if left on the counter, so it just gets hard over time (it would take quite a while for it to get moldy). Hard bread makes great French toast. The last time I made French toast with my leftover challah, I didn't get around to it until Thursday and it was fabulous.
I usually buy the challah in frozen dough form from our local Publix and pull it out of the freezer on Friday around noon. By 5:00 p.m., it's ready to be covered in egg wash and thrown in the oven. Recently, I've been trying to make my own challah. I haven't come up with a recipe I really like yet, but I'll let you know when I do! Luckily, it doesn't have to be a fantastic challah to make a fabulous Challah French Toast.
The ingredients for French toast are really adjustable. For the custard, you'll need eggs, half n' half (milk, cream, or a blend of any of these works), sugar, salt, and vanilla. I use 1 egg per slice of bread, and eyeball the rest of the ingredients. Blend these and soak the sliced bread. Grill the slices until lightly browned on each side, and transfer to a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes (time varies based on the thickness of the bread). I typically do this in batches, soaking, grilling, and baking one batch of 4-5 slices at a time. Although it's a bit of an acquired taste, I fry up any leftover custard as scrambled eggs. Very sweet, creamy scrambled eggs, like a scrambled egg dessert.
This recipe is for approximately 1/2 loaf of challah (about 4-5 slices).
challah, sliced approximately 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
butter or margarine for grilling
Blend eggs, milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla (a stick blender works great for this!). Soak slices of challah in a single layer for about 5 minutes, flipping after several minutes to ensure both sides soak up the custard equally. Melt about 1 Tbp. butter or margarine over medium-high heat, and grill the toast on each side until lightly browned. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and arrange slices in the dish (they can overlap). Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.