This custardy make-ahead Baked French Toast recipe only gets better as it chills overnight. Come morning, add a cinnamon streusel topping, bake, and pile with fresh berries for a delicious breakfast for six!
Grease a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange bread slices in a single layer in prepared baking dish. In a large bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, sugar, brown, sugar, vanilla, salt, milk, and whipping cream. Pour egg mixture over bread turning once to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover French toast and flip slices to coat in the egg mixture. Prepare the topping by combining flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over bread and bake uncovered, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and topping is golden brown, 40-45 minutes.
Allow French toast to cool for 10 minutes before cutting it. Garnish with berries and dust with confectioners sugar
Bread: French toast is an ideal way to use up day-old bread, so there's need to sacrifice your freshest bread. Nearly any style of slice will do; crusty sourdough or French bread, challah, brioche, baguette, sturdy sandwich bread, and cinnamon raisin bread are all great options.
Heavy whipping cream: This silky dairy product lends amazing richness to the custard. If you don't have any handy, use half-and-half instead of the combined amount of milk and cream called for in the recipe.
Yield: One recipe makes 6 servings. To double, simply repeat the same 6-slice procedure in another 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
Make ahead: Assemble the casserole and let the flavors meld and the bread soften to an ultra luscious consistency in the fridge overnight.
Storage: Eat immediately, then store the leftovers (as if there will be any!) in the refrigerator to enjoy within 3 days.
Stale bread works better: Because it's slightly drier, day-old bread soaks up the egg custard like a pro. Using fresh bread? Slice and dry the bread up to 3 days in advance. Keep covered with a dry kitchen towel on counter.
Bread pudding: This recipe is basically a breakfast bread pudding, so if you have leftover bread cubes or torn-up chunks of good bread from another recipe that you need to use up, go ahead and use them.
Texture tip: The consistency of this Baked French Toast is less crisp than its pan-fried cousins. If you're not a fan of custardy French toast, you may want to consider my Cornflake Crusted French Toast.
Spice and everything nice: In addition to the cinnamon, feel free to add more flavor boosters. Sprinkle in some freshly-grated nutmeg, orange zest, or raisins, or layer banana slices on top of the French toast before baking.