Friday, February 28, 2014

Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast - made February 20 and 21, 2014, recipe adapted from Mormon Mavens in the Kitchen
Freshly baked, unadorned
You can call this French Toast or bread pudding. I'm going to call it delicious. Seriously. It's a notch above your run of the mill French toast of bread soaked in a custard mixture and pan fried in butter. It's a step above your average bread pudding baked in a custard mixture because of the brown sugar topping and the vanilla glaze.
Newly glazed
It's actually more of a bread pudding in terms of taste and preparation. You prep it the night before to let the custard soak into the bread overnight then bake it off the next morning. I did pare it down a bit from the original recipe simply because I didn't need that much plus I only had a 1-lb loaf of bread to use instead of the 1 1/2 lbs called for in the original recipe. But, as is usually the case with bread pudding, I like how easy it was to put together and it's ideal if you're serving it for a brunch or just want a breakfast treat for your family.
The advantage this has over French Toast is you don't have to fry it up at the last minute or try to time it for when everyone is at the breakfast table. This is actually better when it's served just barely lukewarm. If you serve it too hot from the oven, the texture will be gooey and not in a good way.
Of course, how much you like this depends on the bread you use. I always, always use challah for bread pudding because it has the perfect denseness plus I like the flavor of the egg bread. You can use any other dense bread but skip the Wonder Bread because that's pretty mushy even without custard added to it and it'll just be soggy goo if you try it in bread pudding. It wasn't spelled out in the original recipe but I also added a vanilla glaze. Depending on how much glaze you want, start with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of powdered sugar, add just enough whole milk and a teaspoon (at least) of vanilla extract to get the desired consistency and spread it over the bread pudding when it's lukewarm. I enjoyed this so much that let's just say I worked out while it was cooling, had a piece then worked out again. And it was worth every drop of sweat.
1 pound dense bread like challah or sourdough (I used challah)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/88 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces (4 ounces)
  1. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter.  Tear bread into bite-size chunks and place evenly in the pan.
  2. Mix together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour evenly over bread.  Cover tightly and store in the fridge for several hours (I put mine in was about 12 hours).
  3. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until it all looks nice and crumbly (like small pebbles, according to P-Dub).  Place in a ziploc bag and put in fridge.
  4. When ready to bake, take pan and bag out of fridge.  Remove wrap and evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (or 45 minutes if you like it more soft and pudding-like).

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