A plate of perfect French toast—crispy round the edges, custardy in the center, and capped off with an amber kiss of maple syrup—is a thing of breakfast time beauty. On the other hand, slices that turn out soggy and squishy, charred in some spots and undercooked in others… well, there’s nothing sadder. What could go wrong? We’ve identified five common French toast mistakes and how to fix them.
You’re using the wrong bread: Start your French toast off with a too-thin slice, and you’re just asking for disaster. The bread needs some heft to hold up to a good soak in milk and eggs, or else it’ll start to disintegrate before it even gets to the pan. So ditch the pre-sliced loaf and cut your own, making sure each piece is ½” to 1″ thick. What type of bread is best? A dense-crumbed white pullman is classic—but for an extra dose of richness, an eggy challah or brioche works wonderfully, too. Just remember: The drier your bread, the better it will soak up all that lovely custard. A day-old loaf will do the trick—or, should you find yourself in a pinch, dry your slices in a 275 degree F oven for 10 minutes before giving them their first dip.
You’re adding too much milk or too few egg yolks: Eggs and milk are the essential components of the custard base that gives French toast its tender richness—but get their ratio off and you’ll wind up with undercooked slices that have an unpleasantly savory “scrambled eggs” flavor. A basic rule of thumb is about ¼ cup of milk and 1 egg per 2-slice serving—and if you really want to avoid that “scrambled” taste, use only the yolks of some or all of the eggs. (It’s sulfur compounds in the whites that give eggs their unique “egg” taste.) Finally, don’t pretend this is diet food: Always choose whole-fat dairy.