Friday, February 20, 2015

Baked Maple French Toast for a Crowd

This method of baking french toast yields a platterful of breakfast that is delicate and moist on the inside and, thanks to the maple-butter bottom, crsip with caramalization on the outside.

The key to great french toast, whether cooked on the griddle or in the oven is to allow the bread enough time to soak up the tasty custard.   By pricking the bread with a fork and letting it sit an hour before baking, you will get a fully soaked bread that will puff up to a perfect french toast in the oven. It pays to use day old bread as well.

Baked Maple French Toast for a Crowd

Serves 6, recipe doubles easily

½ loaf challah bread, cut in ¾ inch slices
4oz (½ stick) salted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

  1. Use the largest baking pan you have with sides.  Fit as many slices of bread as possible in one layer in pan—cut bread as needed to fit any open spaces.  Remove bread and set aside.  
  2. Melt butter and mix in maple syrup.  Pour into bottom of baking pan and spread with a spoon to cover into the corners.  
  3. Lay bread slices back into pan.  Fill in any gaps with small pieces of remaining bread. Use fork tines to prick bread so that it will absorb custard quickly and completely. 
  4. Make custard: Mix eggs with remaining ingredients.   Pour over bread.  Tilt pan to ensure all the bread is soaked.  Add more milk if more liquid is needed to cover bread.  
  5. Set aside 1 hour to allow bread to become completely soaked (or leave overnight). 
  6. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400˚F.   Bake 20-25 minutes until toast begins to puff and top is starting to brown.  Allow French toast to cool a few minutes before cutting into to serve.  Bread slices will also pull apart.  
You may cool the French toast completely then pull apart or cut in squares and freeze to reheat individual servings.  To reheat, microwave a frozen piece for 30 seconds then heat in a 325˚F oven for 10 minutes on a small baking sheet to recrisp.