French Toast Made from Challah

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    

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Instructions:

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions:

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.

Mini Rosemary Mint Frittatas

There’s a story behind this recipe. I created it (in frying-pan form) when I was teaching English as a Second Language at a Spanish speaking seminary. I was suffering from severe medical problems at the time and submitted a prayer request to the school bulletin regarding them.

Soon the entire campus knew about my health issues, and although I was a little embarrassed by all the attention, I was very appreciative of the concern that my English students showed me. One older woman in particular, whose husband was a gastroenterologist, handed me a bunch of freshly cut mint from her garden one day, explaining that mint was good for the digestive tract.

I took the mint home that afternoon with good intentions of using it but with little imagination on how to do so other than making mint tea. It sat in my refrigerator for several days until I realized that I better use it quickly if I didn’t want it to spoil.

Since I was already making an egg frittata for breakfast that morning, I decided to add a small handful of mint to the egg, spinach, salt, and pepper mixture waiting to go onto the stove. I also added some fresh rosemary on impulse since my rosemary plant was on the decline (I really hate to waste things).

After cooking the egg mixture, I served it on a plate, ready to scarf it down as quickly and tastelessly as possible. I needed the health benefits from each ingredient, but I couldn’t imagine possibly enjoying this concoction.

Well, let me tell you, I was wrong! It was love at first bite! I savored each morsel and even made it a few more times that very week.

Since I was single at the time, I only ever made one serving of it. Since I wanted to share this recipe with you all, however, I tried my hand at turning it into mini egg frittatas this week, and I must say, I love the end result!

These frittatas are a delectable combination of slightly spicy, refreshing mint blended together with the woodsy warmth of rosemary and a hint of salt. Due to their elegant appearance and individual size, they would make the perfect addition to a holiday brunch or a special occasion breakfast. They are gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian, so they can additionally be enjoyed by individuals with varying diets.

 I realize that it may require some bravery (or just some digestive issues) for you to make this dish. Nonetheless, I hope you’ll give it a try and discover just how delicious it is!

MINI ROSEMARY MINT FRITTATAS

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ c packed spinach
  • ½ inch fresh rosemary sprig (about ½ t chopped)
  • 12-15 fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/8 t salt)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Generously spray six muffin cups of a muffin tin with the cooking spray and set aside. Finely chop the mint, rosemary, and spinach, discarding the spinach stems. Add the eggs to a mixing bowl, then add the chopped ingredients alongside the salt and pepper, whisking with a fork. Once combined, divide the egg mixture into the six muffin cups, then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the egg is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly for five minutes, then gently pull each frittata out of the muffin tin with a butter knife or fork and enjoy.

Makes 6 servings