My mom was making French toast out of challah long before it was a thing. Back in the early 90s, when all of us children were still living at home, she would whip up a couple of loaves on a Friday afternoon. We would then enjoy some of the freshly-baked bread with our dinner that evening, and she would convert the leftovers into delicious, fluffy French toast the next morning. It was undoubtedly our most favorite breakfast of the week and is one of my favorite memories today.
Sometimes we would eat the French toast with butter and maple syrup. Other times, we would have it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Whatever way my mom served it, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we began to limit how much bread we would eat the night before just so that we would have a greater quantity of challah for French toast the next day. Freshly baked bread with butter is really good (I’m almost drooling just thinking about it), but nothing beats French toast made from homemade challah. It is the best!
Nowadays, French toast made from challah is becoming much more common. I’ve seen it on menus at different restaurants and have noticed it in recipes online, and while I’m happy for more people to discover this delectable dish, I always have the urge to tell people that my mom was making French toast like this first. So, if you’re reading this, now you know! 😉 Maybe she was even the one to start the trend!
This recipe requires quite a bit of time to make. The good thing, however, is that it is fairly hands off once the dough is made. The majority of the time spent making the bread will be letting the dough rise and baking it. Once it is baked, it’s a simple matter of mixing up the French toast mixture, soaking each bread slice in it, and then cooking it over the stove (but do me a favor and eat a slice or two fresh out of the oven with butter first. You will not regret it!).
This recipe would be perfect for a special, summer brunch served with strawberries and whipped cream. You can really enjoy this with whatever toppings you desire, however. Some additional great options are butter, syrup, sliced bananas, nuts, berries, Nutella, peanut butter, or preserves.
What toppings do you enjoy on your French toast? Let me know in the comments section! 😊 And, as always, if you make this recipe, let me know! I’d love to know how it turns out for you!
FOR THE CHALLAH
- 1 package yeast (1 T)
- 2 t sugar
- ¼ c lukewarm water
- 3 ½ to 4 ½ c flour
- 2 t salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 c lukewarm water
- 1 beaten egg
- Poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)
Gently combine the yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup lukewarm water in a small bowl. Set aside for five minutes. Meanwhile, mix together 3 c flour and the salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well and add the eggs, oil, and remaining cup lukewarm water to the middle of it. Mix together, then slowly add more flour as necessary, ¼ c at a time. Start kneading as the dough becomes stiff, adding more flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do NOT add too much flour, however, as this will dry out the dough and make it denser once baked.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, brush the dough with oil and let rise in the mixing bowl, covered, for an hour. After the dough has risen, divide it into three even portions, then roll each one into long log shapes. After creating three strands from each portion, braid them together on a greased baking sheet and let rise another 30 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the optional sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden on top and baked through (thicker loaves may require additional time).
FOR THE FRENCH TOAST
- 8-10 slices of Challah, cooled and cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch slices
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ c milk of choice
- 1 t vanilla extract
- ½ t maple extract (optional)
- 2 t brown sugar
- 1/8 t cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 2-3 T butter
Heat a pan over the stove medium-low heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, maple extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Melt a tablespoon of butter over the pan to coat it, then dip a slice of Challah into the egg mixture until well coated and place into the pan, repeating with additional slices of Challah until the bottom of the pan is filled with Challah slices. Bake for several minutes until the French toast is thoroughly browned on each side. Repeat the process with any remaining pieces, making sure to coat the bottom of the pan with butter again. Enjoy your French toast hot with whatever optional toppings desired. Makes 8-10 slices.