Leftover challah shouldn't be a thing in your house after Shabbat (because challah is DELICIOUS), but should you have some, here is the BEST way to use it up. And if you don't have leftovers, it's worth digging into a fresh bread to make this simple challah baked french toast recipe.
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Why you should make baked french toast now!
Almost every Sunday, there is a stack of french toast piled up high on the the stove. And every Sunday, somehow that stack quickly diminishes before I’m done cooking the rest of the loaf (my people like to sneak food as a make it 🤷♀️). I can’t lie, I eat it straight from the pan too, cuz it's just that good.
So, I found a way to take my simple challah french toast recipe and make into a baked french toast recipe instead. By prepping it the night before, you'll save time and energy in the morning. No more standing at the stove while everyone else relaxes. Pop the baked french toast casserole into the oven and enjoy a quiet moment with your coffee while it bakes.
This recipe works really well when you have guests coming for brunch and want to hang out with your guests instead of hanging at the stove. It also works when you have breakfast for dinner on the menu. Assemble it in the morning and bake it right before dinnertime for minimal effort and super simple dinner. Serve with lox or just with fruit and enjoy.
A few notes on the ingredients:
The bread: Challah is a braided egg bread that is traditionally eaten on Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. It also happens to be our preferred bread for french toast. It's texture is similar to brioche. It's eggy and soft and oozes the feeling of home and tradition for Jewish people around the world. If you don't have challah available, you can easily substitute french bread, brioche, even a crusty artisan bread in a pinch.
Want to make your own challah? Here are some good resources for learning how to bake challah. It's a simple place to get started with bread making, and you'll always know what to do with the leftovers!
- Naomi Elberg's instagram page has everything you need to know and this youtube video will walk you through it step-by-step
- Tori Avey's site does a great job explaining the origins of challah
- Jamie Geller has a ton of different recipes for you to try out
Simple step by step instructions
You'll start by tearing up whatever leftover challah you have into smallish pieces. If you have a little helper with you this is a great step for them to do.
Then you'll mix up the custard mixture in a medium size bowl. First, crack the eggs in and whisk them together. Then whisk in the milk, vanilla and cinnamon sugar.
Spray a 9x13 glass dish liberally with baking spray and put the torn up challah into the dish.
Then, pour the custard mixture over the top being sure to press it down so that all of the challah is covered.
Now, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, but overnight is even better!
Take it out of the fridge while you preheat your oven and make the sweet topping by mixing the butter, flour and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkling over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the inside is just set and the top is golden brown.
Serve and enjoy with a drizzle of syrup or a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Serve it with a lox or smoked fish plate, some fruit, and voila, a simple, easy and delicious brunch appears before your eyes. My kids also insist on eating it with homemade applesauce, and I don't blame them!
However, this dish isn’t just great for brunch, but also makes a great option when you are serving breakfast for dinner (which is something we do often around here). Assemble the french toast casserole first thing in the morning and then bake it when you get home from work. Simply serve with lox, veggies and dip and you’ve got a simple dinner on the table quickly.
This can be made up to 36 hours in advance. You'll want to cover the custard soaked bread with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. Then add the topping and bake away.
Yes, absolutely. It takes just two simple substitutions. You'll want to substitute the milk for almond milk (or soy or coconut) and the butter in the topping for a plant based butter.
One more simple tip
Sometimes the type of dish you cook something in doesn't matter, but for french toast casserole, it does. I like to use either glass or ceramic cookware when I make it. The disposable aluminum pans don't give you the same heat distribution which you need in this recipe to get a good golden brown bottom and crispy top.
Looking for more easy brunch recipes? Try these:
When you try this recipe and love it 😍 let me know by leaving a comment below or 5 ⭐ rating!
Simple Baked French Toast
- 1 ½ cup milk can use dairy or plant based
- 8 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar
- one loaf leftover challah or other bread
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Prepare a glass baking dish by spraying with non-stick baking spray
- Tear your challah (or whatever bread you are using) into small pieces
- Place the pieces of torn challah into the prepared baking dish
- Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a medium size bowl
- Once whisked well, pour over the top of the challah, being sure to saturate the entire dish, pressing down the challah pieces as you go
- Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let sit at least two hours up to 36 hours in the fridge
When ready to bake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- While the oven preheats, make the topping by adding all the topping ingredients to a small bowl and mixing with a fork until a sandy like consistency forms
- Evenly distribute the topping over the entire top of the custard and bread mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or so until the topping gets lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before serving.
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I just found you website , beacause i was looking for the mock chopped liver recipe that my mother made and yours is it exactly! I then looked at this Simple French Toast recipe. you say to to use "leftover" challah - can i buy a whole fresh challah to use in the recipe - or let the challah be exposed to air to get it more like " leftover challah?
also - i love the mock chopped liver recipe with the Le Seur peas etc. My mother always used the Ritz Crackers , too.. I noticed when i selected to double or triple the recipe , all the ingredients doubled and tripled, except the Ritz crackers , which remained at 10, as for the single recipe . This must be an oversight, I expect and I wanted to point that out to you.
Also, is your husband from Louisville Ky? , I am from The Boston MA area, but have lived in Louisville since 1978 ( my husband 's hometown)
Hi Patti, yep, you can definitely use fresh challah, but you'll want to be careful handling it once it's soaked, it tends to want to fall apart more easily. Thanks for the note on the ritz crackers...I'll go check out what's going on there. And yes, my husband is from Louisville 🙂 Sending you an email to see if we can connect the dots 🙂
Have not tried yet but flaw in directions. You say to “uncover” and bake——- In first place you never said “to cover” in directions. Looking fed to trying with Challah bread
Mary - Thank you so much for pointing that out. I'll make sure to look at it and edit accordingly. I hope you enjoy!