Challah French Toast – A recipe inspired by a professor at OSU

I didn’t get this French toast recipe from the internet, through trial and error, or even from a family member. In fact, I stumbled upon this recipe while taking a technical writing class in college — the last place one might expect to talk about food. Roby Conner, an OSU professor, was trying to show the class an example of how to write about a process versus just a list of instructions and used his recipe for French toast to demonstrate.

He spoke so eloquently and enthusiastically about his experience discovering this recipe through trial and error that it stuck in my brain—and I knew I had to write about it. I tried it out at home and now I will never go back to slices of whole wheat bread. I’ve never been a huge fan of French toast, instead preferring pancakes and waffles for brunch. However, those days are over.

This recipe has changed my lazy Sunday morning brunches forever as I take over the kitchen and create a feast. I don’t think my housemates are complaining about it though. Their stomachs benefit from my culinary experimentation.

While there are several other Challah French Toast recipes out there, such as this crunchy cinnamon-sugar crusted option, this recipe is easy to customize to your specific tastes and desires. With this recipe to start with, you really can’t go wrong with any topping options. This dish soaks up flavor—literally—and the combination of a soft inside and crispy outside allows a melt-in-your-mouth experience while still giving a satisfyingly crunchy crust.

#Tip: Challah is not necessarily a “specialty item,” but it may be harder to find than you think. In Corvallis, Oregon, you can get a fresh-baked loaf of challah from Market Of Choice – but be warned that it’s a little pricey compared to other breads. That said, you get what you pay for and the bread makes all the difference in this recipe.

Challah French Toast Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Servings: 2
  • Recipe Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices challah bread (1 to 1.5 inch thick)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Toppings of choice

Process:

Step 1:

Gather your ingredients. For this French toast recipe, challah bread is essential to achieve the desired moist and fluffy result. You can even slice it the night before to decrease preparation time.

bread

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 2:

Make sure that your slices are nice and thick. I recommend no less than 1 inch, possibly up to 1.5 inches. This bread absorbs liquid easily, so you want to ensure that it won’t fall apart when you transfer it from batter to pan later on in the cooking process.

slicedbread

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 3:

Crack the eggs into a shallow dish and whisk together, adding the same amount of milk (1 egg = approximately ¼ cup of milk). Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and then whisk again. Place one slice of Challah in the batter and leave to soak for 1 minute.

eggbatter

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 4:

Flip the bread slice over in the batter to soak the other side.

eggbatter2

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 5:

While you wait for bread to soak, melt 1 tablespoon of butter, per slice of bread, in pan on medium heat. You want it to sizzle and melt, but not brown or burn.

butter

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 6:

Transfer the bread from the batter to the heated pan. Set a timer for 3 minutes and do not check the bread while it’s cooking at all until the timer beeps. Begin soaking the next piece of bread in the batter while you wait.

inpan

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 7:

Flip the bread over in the pan with the uncooked side down, reset the timer to 3 minutes, and once again leave the bread to cook. If either side is not the desired golden-brown color, cook for 1 more minute.

frenchtoast

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 8:

Transfer cooked Challah French Toast to a plate and add toppings. Here are some suggestions that you can combine in any way: syrup or honey, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, whipped cream, brown sugar, caramelized bananas, fruit preserves and jams, and/or cinnamon sugar. For a more exotic and tart taste, try a little bit of lemon juice with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

You can even go savory, if desired, and instead of using cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in the batter, try salt and pepper. And then top with cheese, bacon, green onions, tomatoes and other savory toppings.

toastwfruit3

Photo by Emma Davis

Step 9:

My personal favorite, and one of the toppings recommended by my taste-testers, was a simple combination of syrup with powdered sugar sprinkled over the top. The classics never get old.

toastwpowder5

Photo by Emma Davis

So go ahead and give this recipe a try – explore topping options and combinations, and just have fun with it. Be brave and make a combo you might not have considered before – like whipped cream cheese and stewed rhubarb. It might sound odd, but you may also discover a new favorite flavor. Experiment and see what creations you come up with. This recipe will definitely lend itself to all the new ideas you can imagine.

I originally wrote this post for Spoon University: Oregon State Chapter. But, since I’m forging ahead with my own blog as well, I’m putting it here too. It’s my original content, so I don’t think they can really complain about me moving it to my personal blog as well.

*All photos taken by Emma Davis, photographer for the OSU Spoon University chapter, and a super awesome person that I am so glad to have met.

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