5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making French Toast

updated May 1, 2019
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Partial view of French toast on a plate, one piece speared by a fork

If a morning starts with French toast, you know it’s going to be a good day. The best is browned and crispy on the outside while incredibly custardy and rich on the inside. Really good French toast can seriously make you reconsider ever making pancakes and waffles again. So what are the secrets to achieving greatness? Here are five key things to watch out for.

1. Not choosing the right bread.

The heart and soul of French toast really is the bread — use something sub-par and the final result is going to be sub-par. The best bread is spongy and sturdy so that it will be able to soak up the custard without completely falling apart. Avoid thin white sandwich bread and a hefty rustic loaf (often with holes scattered throughout) for this reason. Instead go for something like challah or brioche and cut it into one-inch-thick slices.

Follow this tip: Reach for a spongy, sturdy loaf of bread like challah or brioche and cut it into one-inch-thick slices.

2. Using anything less than whole milk.

A creamy custard is the key to incredible French toast, so skip the watery skim milk and go for whole milk or half-and-half. Straight heavy cream turns French toast into dessert, so lean that way if you’re looking for decadence.

Follow this tip: Skip the skim milk and go for whole or half-and-half when making the custard.

Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast (Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. Not whisking the custard enough.

Little bits of cooked egg white clinging to the finished product isn’t ideal, so be sure you whisk your eggs with your dairy, sugar, and any spices you’re using, thoroughly so the custard is evenly combined.

Follow this tip: Whisk the eggs, dairy, sugar, and spices well to combine everything, leaving you with a smooth custard that’s uniformly mixed.

4. Not soaking the bread long enough.

If you’re using good, spongy bread, it can take a nice, long soak in the custard rather than a quick dip. A good soak is the key to a soft, custardy center — you want that egg and milk mixture to seep into every nook and cranny of the bread.

Follow this tip: Let the thick bread slices soak in the custard for a good five to 10 minutes before cooking them.

5. Cooking the French toast at too high of a heat.

Yes, you want to get a nice golden crust on the French toast, but you don’t want that too happen too quickly, otherwise the inside won’t be finished cooking and the outside will begin to burn while it does. Aim for medium-low heat so that the inside can cook and the outside will still get golden-brown and nicely caramelized.

Follow this tip: Heat your griddle or frying pan to medium-low before cooking the French toast so it’s perfectly cooked on both the outside and inside. Don’t hesitate to swipe the pan clean before adding the next batch of bread.