A plate of overnight French toast topped with berries.

I’m a real sucker for any sort of breakfast carb, especially when I’m out to eat. Challah French toast. Lemon-ricotta pancakes. Blueberry-cornmeal hotcakes. You name it. If it’s floured, fried and dripping in syrup, it has my name all over it.

All of these dishes, however, are things I rarely make at home. Laboring over a fickle griddle is one deterrent for me. Timing is another. It’s nearly impossible to get enough pancakes and French toast and waffles out at the same time to serve everyone at once.

The solution? Well, I don’t have one for pancakes. But I do for French toast: Bake it. And start it the night before. This is the easiest French toast you will ever make, and I believe it’s one of the best, too. It’s crisp on the exterior and moist but by no means soggy on the interior. It emerges from the oven piping hot yielding enough, at the very least, for four eaters.

This recipe hails from the November 2000 issue of Gourmet — oh Gourmet how I miss you — and is a nice one to have in your file. Father’s Day is right around the corner … this might be a nice treat for everyone involved.

After a night in the fridge, the bread absorbs all of the liquid:

French Toast, unbaked

Just out of the oven, baked French toast:

Overnight French Toast, Out of the Oven
Overnight French Toast.

 

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A plate of overnight French Toast.

Baked Overnight French Toast


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Description

From the November 2000 Gourmet.

Notes: My mom uses “Toasting White” (Pepperidge Farm, I believe). My aunt uses a dense bakery-style loaf of Italian bread, which is what I’ve used here. I like both breads with this preparation, however. Challah and brioche are nice options as well.


Ingredients

  • 1 (13- to 14-inch-long) loaf of soft-crust bakery-style Italian bread*
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • maple syrup, berries, and powdered sugar, for serving, if desired

Instructions

  1. Cut about six to eight — enough to fit your pan — one-inch-thick slices of bread.
  2. Generously butter one side of each slice and arrange slices, buttered sides up, in one layer in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit if necessary.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and salt until combined well, then pour evenly over bread. Chill, covered, until bread has absorbed all of custard, at least one hour and up to one day, depending on bread.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring mixture to room temperature and sprinkle bread with sugar.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in middle of oven until bread is puffed and top is golden, 20 to 25 minutes, or longer — make sure it’s nice and golden on top or it will be soggy in the middle. Serve immediately with fruit and syrup and powdered sugar if desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: overnight, French, toast, breakfast, brunch