Why I Only Use Sourdough Bread When Making French Toast Casserole

updated Dec 23, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

I love loading my weekend breakfast plate with a couple of slices of custard-soaked French toast. And when I’m cooking for just one or two I’ll always start with a loaf of challah or brioche.

But when I’m cooking for a crowd I skip the classic stovetop method and go for a baked French toast casserole in my trusty 9×13-inch baking dish. And for this breakfast bake, soft and eggy challah or brioche don’t quite cut it.

I’ve used both in the past, but the problem is that while both are sturdy enough to be cubed or torn to pieces, they’re too soft to absorb the sweetened custard without falling apart unless they’re dried or toasted first. Luckily, I’ve recently found a much better bread to use when I want to make a crowd-pleasing breakfast bake.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

Sourdough Loaf Makes the Best French Toast Casserole

I know, sourdough might not be the first bread that comes to mind when you think of a sweet breakfast bake, but hear me out — I think you’ll be convinced.

You see, Not only does sourdough’s hearty, chewy texture stand up really well to soaking, but it also works well fresh, so you don’t have to wait for it to dry out. And that means less planning or extra steps. (Although if you happen to have a day-old loaf, go ahead and use it.)

Sourdough bread also has that signature sour tang, which is less out of place than you might expect. It balances the sweetness of the custard and crumble topping. I’ve been turning to sourdough for this recipe and it’s far superior to lighter loaves. If I can’t find sourdough, I’ll go for another sturdy country loaf or a round of Italian or French bread (although not a baguette).

Your turn: What’s your favorite bread to use in French toast casseroles? Tell us in the comments below.