I Tried the Super-Popular TikTok French Toast Hack and I’ll Never Make It Any Other Way
French toast is one of those classic breakfast dishes that many of us know by heart. While you might have your own special variations or mix-ins, chances are your French toast involves soaking sliced bread in a mixture of whisked eggs and milk or cream (often with flavorings like vanilla or cinnamon), before cooking in a pan until golden-brown, and then serving with butter, maple syrup, and maybe some fresh fruit. French toast is a go-to for a reason — it’s simple, sweet, and incredibly customizable.
While basic French toast is delicious as is, I’d still implore you to try out a new TikTok hack for an even better breakfast.
In a TikTok video that’s gotten over 27 million views, Sheena (sheenamarie3568) demonstrates the usual steps of making French toast, but with a twist: She toasts the slice of bread before dipping it in the egg and milk mixture and then cooking it on the stove.
I tried this trick out myself with a side-by-side comparison of not just two, but three different approaches to making French toast: I used brioche slices for each test, using regular, un-toasted bread for one test, stale bread for the second test (many sources, including Kitchn, suggest starting with stale bread), and toasted bread for the third.
For all of the tests I used slices of the same size from the same loaf of brioche and a basic egg mixture that consisted of two eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, whisked together. I then cooked each batch in a skillet with two tablespoons of melted butter until browned on both sides, about five minutes on the first side and three to four on the second side. To serve, I topped the slices with an extra tablespoon of butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.
Classic French Toast
The classic version of French toast is pretty straightforward. You can pull the bread straight out of the bag, dip it in the egg mixture, and then transfer it straight to the hot skillet (although you need to be careful to make sure the bread doesn’t tear when you transfer it, which can be a bit messy).
This version of French toast tasted just like ones I’ve had before. The most prominent thing I noticed was that the egg flavor came through a little more than I personally like. I think this is because the center of the bread slices were not as cooked as the edges. This problem ties into my main complaint about this version of French toast: It just doesn’t brown as well as the other methods. The sides and edges were nicely toasted and browned, but the center was still soft and yellow, which is not my ideal rendition of the dish.
French Toast with Stale Bread
This technique of using stale bread is called for in a number of recipes, including Kitchn’s classic French toast and this popular French toast recipe from Eric Ripert.
For this experiment I used the regular method of dipping the bread in an egg mixture and then searing in the pan — just with slices of stale bread. The stale bread didn’t soak up the egg mixture as readily as the fresh bread, so I used a spoon and fork to help coat the bread in the mixture, flipping it a couple of times until it was evenly coated.
This method was definitely an improvement over the regular bread. The stale bread held up better against the egg mixture and didn’t get too soggy, which had the benefit of making it easier to transfer to the pan. The finished product was more evenly browned and crisp on the surface, which I appreciated a lot, as I prefer my French toast on the very-toasted-and-crisp side! The flavor was great too.
French Toast with Toasted Bread
Now this is what I call good French toast! I know it seems like such a simple thing to just toast the bread, but to me it made a huge difference. I toasted my bread in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes per side, but you definitely could just use your toaster. When doing this, however, I would recommend a medium toast on the bread. You don’t want it to be so light that it’ll get soggy from the egg mixture, but you also don’t want it to be so dark that it will burn in the hot skillet.
For me, toasting the bread before dunking it in the egg mixture made for the best and most even browning in the hot skillet. The center of each slice of bread was evenly cooked and not too soft or yellow. Not only did the bread withstand the egg mixture well, but it also held up to the drizzling of the maple syrup and additional melted butter!
This simple step takes just couple of extra minutes and makes a world of difference.