14 May 2015

Alton Brown's French Toast

French Toast. Egg bread. Gypsy toast. Payn purdyeu. Not matter how you say it, this is Valerie's favorite breakfast.  And her favorite dinner, for that matter.  I don't think we've ever have never had French toast for lunch, but it would probably be her favorite lunch, too.  Oh, and brunch.  Wait.  Does this mean French toast is her favorite food?  I would dare to say, YES!
Growing up, I was never a fan of French toast.  The middle was always soggy, and it just was very underwhelming.  Queue Alton Brown and the Toast Modern episode of Good Eats.  After learning AB's fail proof cooking method, never would I have to endure soggy French toast again. 
The biggest secret of this French toast is to finish cooking it in the oven.  Basically, the skillet cooking serves to get a nice lovely golden brown crunchy layer on the outside of the bread, while the oven allows the custard to finish cooking and set up nicely within the structure of the bread.  I also always buy my bread in a whole loaf, usually from Panera Bread, and slice it myself.  Country loaf is my bread of choice.
I don't know why, but I am a fan of cinnamon in my French toast.  I don' know if it's traditional or not, but I love the little spicy kick that cinnamon brings to the party in this dish.  Though, not in AB's original recipe, I have included it in mine below.  The best way I have found to incorporate the cinnamon in the custard mixture is by beating it in with the eggs right off the bat.  Otherwise, it just seems to float on top of the mixture and most of it sticks to the first slice.
There you have it, my version of French Toast, heavily inspired by AB.  It is a little bit more labor intensive than just frying up slices of eggy bread in a skillet, but the end result is more than worth it. 
French Toast
recipe inspired by Alton Brown
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey, warmed 
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
In a large pie plate, whisk together the eggs and cinnamon until frothy.  Next add the half-and-half, honey, and salt and whisk to combine.
Place a slice of bread into mixture, and soak for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove the bread to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan or over the sink, and allow to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick sauté pan or cast iron skillet. Place 2 slices of bread in the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the bread. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream, fruit, or bacon.

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