Challah French toast is made with light and fluffy challah bread, cream, and cinnamon! Served with maple syrup, fresh berries, and whipped cream, it's perfectly sweet and decadent. It’s the ultimate breakfast for a sweet tooth!
You know what they say: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And sure, you can easily get by with simple meals of cereal or eggs and toast. But, why be boring when there are so many different types of breakfasts out there?! I love to mix things up and enjoy dishes like these Indian crepes (masala dosa) or these Moroccan pancakes called baghrir. And shakshuka and these BBQ pork buns (char siu bao) are great if I’m in the mood for something savory.
But today, I’m going to follow my sweet tooth’s craving and share my challah French toast recipe with all of you! It’s made with my homemade challah bread, so you know right off the bat it’s a lot more special than your average run-of-the-mill French toast recipe. I also like to use heavy cream and a bit of orange extract in the batter (it’s really a custard!) to take the flavors up a notch or two. It’s a unique take on an otherwise classic breakfast recipe!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Challah Bread - The base of this French toast recipe is, of course, challah bread! I love using my homemade version. For best results opt to use day-old challah, or you can toast it so it soaks up the batter better.
- Eggs - You’ll need plenty of eggs to make the French toast custard batter.
- Heavy Cream - Again, for the custard! You can feel free to replace it with Half and Half or whole milk.
- Vanilla - For some added warmth and sweetness in the batter.
- Orange Extract - This special secret ingredient does much for the overall flavor. You can also use orange zest instead.
- Cinnamon - No French toast recipe would be complete without it!
- Salt - To balance out the sweetness a bit.
- Butter - To pan-fry the French toast!
- Maple Syrup, Berries, & Whipped Cream - Pick and choose your garnish! Or, if you’re anything like me, use them all.
HOW TO MAKE CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST
1. Create The Custard. Before you get started, place a wire rack over a baking tray and set it aside. Then, add the eggs, cream, vanilla, orange extract, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, or use your immersion blender to mix until smooth. You should end up with a thick batter to dip your challah into — I call it a custard because it’s creamy, smooth, and decadent!
2. Soak The Bread. Pour half of the custard into a 9x13-inch pan and place as many pieces of challah as you can in a single layer into it. Pour the rest of the batter over it and allow to soak for 2 minutes. Flip the challah and allow it to soak for another 2 minutes before placing it on the wire rack to drain any excess batter. Repeat the process until all of the challah bread has soaked.
3. Pan Fry. Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add 4 pieces of soaked challah at a time and brown one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, then place on another wire rack. Work in batches so as not to crowd the pan.
4. Garnish & Serve. I like to serve my challah French toast with butter, maple syrup, fresh mixed berries, and a bit of whipped cream. Garnish yours however you like and enjoy!
Is Challah Or Brioche Better For French Toast?
As both types of bread are rich and sweet, they’re both excellent for French toast! Whether one is better than the other definitely comes down to personal preference — as you can see by this recipe, I have a soft side for challah.
What Does Challah French Toast Taste Like?
Challah French toast is crispy on the outside (that’s why I love to pan-fry it!) and soft and creamy on the inside. The cinnamon, vanilla, and orange-filled custard batter make this dish taste very similar to bread pudding!
What Can I Use Instead Of Milk In French Toast?
I personally love using heavy cream instead of milk as it adds another layer of richness that I just adore. You can also use half and half if you want something a bit lighter. Dairy-free substitutes such as almond or oat milk would work too. You could also try coconut milk for even more added flavor.
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Challah French Toast
- 1 lb loaf challah bread (See Note 1)
- 6 eggs
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream (See Note 2)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons orange extract (See Note 3)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup butter
- Maple syrup
- mixed berries
- whipped cream
- Prepare a baking tray with a wire rack and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl add the eggs, cream, vanilla and orange extract, cinnamon and salt. Whisk together or use an immersion blender to process until smooth.
- Pour half of the custard mixture in a 9x13" pan. Arrange as many pieces of challah bread you can in a single layer and pour remaining custard over. Soak for 2 minutes and flip bread. Soak another 2 minutes and place on wire rack tray. Repeat with remaining bread if any.
- Working in batches, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Add 4 pieces of soaked challah and brown for 3-4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Remove from skillet, place on wire rack tray and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining butter and soaked challah.
- Serve warm with butter, maple syrup and fresh mixed berries and whipped cream (optional).
- Either use 8 large slices of day-old challah bread (1-inch thick), or toast the challah in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes or toaster to assist in drying to better absorb custard. Cut in half if large before soaking (as pictured).
- You can also use Half and Half or whole milk.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.