Up your French toast game
French toast casserole
If you’re looking for a sweet breakfast bake to build a tradition around, this French toast casserole is it. Custard-soaked bread is flavored with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a nutty crumble topping, and baked until golden and steaming. The best part is, it’s as versatile as you need it to be — you can make it ahead or assemble at the last minute.
Here’s how to do it.
The best bread: I like to use a crusty sourdough loaf, which has a hearty, chewy texture that stands up well to soaking — and doesn’t have to be dried or stale (although if you’ve got day-old bread, use it!). Sourdough bread also has a subtle sour tang, which balances the sweetness of the custard and crumble topping.
The best way to prepare the bread is by tearing it into bitesized pieces. The irregularly shaped pieces have a greater surface area for absorbing the custard and nestle into one another so the interior bakes up rich and tender while the jagged edges brown and crisp.
A ratio to remember: Commit just three ingredients to memory — 3 cups dairy, 8 large eggs, 1 pound bread — for the best French toast casserole. Whisk the dairy and eggs together, then sweeten with brown sugar and add spices like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for a classic French toast flavor. You can also make it your own by swapping in honey, citrus zest and other sweet spices. Use half-and-half in the custard or combine equal parts heavy cream and whole milk.
To make this the very best make-ahead breakfast, add a sweet and nutty crumble topping. Serve with a drizzle of warm maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar to turn your kitchen into the hottest brunch spot in town.
The finishing touch: