OK. The title of this post is a bit bold. There are probably better French Toast recipes out there (there is probably this recipe out there too, but I have not seen it), but this one has to be up there near the top of the heap. Give it a shot and let me know what you think and if there are any ways to improve it. Enjoy!
First, there is only one type of bread that can be used: Challah. Challah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on the Sabbath, holidays, etc. What makes Challah perfect for french toast is that it is an egg and yeast based bread. There is a harmony created by the egg in the Challah and the egg mixture that will turn it into french toast (Challah also receives an egg wash before going in the oven, adding a third level of egg to the toast.). The yeast element is important, especially when combined with the proteins in the egg, to create a semi-dense, but sufficiently airy loaf. This will come in handy when…you purchase the challah a good three days before using it for the french toast. All bread used for french toast should be stale because it allows the bread to soak in more of the egg mixture, and this is especially true with Challah. Additionally, you should cut the Challah into slices at least a few hours before using it. The slices should be roughly an inch in thickness (definitely no less) and after cutting off the nubs, you should get eight slices out of your average loaf of Challah. The recipe for the egg mixture will be based on one loaf of Challah. Here it is:
10 large eggs (organic, free-range)
3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1 Tablespoon of organic sugar
1.5 Tablespoons of maple syrup (I think you should use the real stuff.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (This is negotiable; you could add more or less depending on your love of cinnamon. Also, you can throw in a pinch of nutmeg if you so desire.)
Mix it all together vigorously.
Take one or two of your Challah slices, put them into your egg mixture, press down and release. The Challah should behave like a sponge. Once it reforms to its original size, flip it over and press down and release again. There should be just about nothing left of your mixture after you go through the whole loaf. Put your pieces on a griddle (I like a griddle for this, but you surely can use a frying pan-you just can’t fit eight pieces.) set to 375. Flip them every two to three minutes and cook to desired doneness. French toast is like steak. Some folks like it cooked through and some like it bloody (runny). Six to fifteen minutes should cover the range; I think eight or nine minutes is about perfect.
As for toppings, that is up to you. Mascarpone and fresh berries adds a nice, little upscale touch, but you can go with nothing, but syrup and be alright.