Begin with bread that’s at least slightly dried out. If you’re beginning with fresh bread, leave it out, unwrapped, overnight to dry so that it can soak up the custard mixture without getting overly soggy and falling apart.
Eggs and milk are a must, but to send your French toast over the top, consider adding a few whistles and bells. Martha’s favorite French toast recipe includes orange zest and a splash of Grand Marnier. Swap the milk for half-and-half or straight-up heavy cream to make extra-rich and decadent French toast.
Pssst! Guess what: You can make French toast without a recipe. Just use a ratio of 1/4 cup milk and one egg for every thick slice of bread (or every two thin slices). Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, or fruit liqueur to the mixture, according to your taste.
For light and fluffy French toast, use a light and fluffy bread such as brioche or challah. A hearty rustic bread makes a more chewy and substantial French toast. But the beauty of French toast is that it works with any bread at all: Sliced supermarket white bread, homemade wheat bread, cinnamon swirl bread, even pita bread -- whatever you have on hand.
Get the pan nice and hot, and don't skimp on the butter, to ensure that the French toast gets puffy and crispy. For frying French toast, Martha likes to use equal parts butter and vegetable oil.
Once it’s done, don’t stack it. Serve immediately, or put it on a wire rack on a baking pan and keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
Feeling fancy? Stuff it! (Your French toast, that is.) Cut thick slabs from a loaf and slice a pocket into each one. Fill the pocket with cream cheese and jam, peanut butter, bananas, fruit compote, Nutella, or bacon.
To make French toast for a crowd, bake it, don’t pan-fry it. A dish of baked French toast can be assembled the night before. Come morning, just slide it into a preheated oven, brew some coffee, and breakfast is served.
Hungry yet? Check out our best recipes for French toast, including Martha’s favorite Grand Marnier-spiked version, as well as Apple-Maple French Toast, Apricot-Stuffed French Toast, pecan-topped Baked French Toast, and many more.
And we didn’t forget about you "savory breakfast" people! For you, there’s a French Toast BLT and Brioche French Toast with Asparagus and Orange Beurre Blanc, and a Monte Cristo Sandwich, too.