Fluffy and tender on the inside, and golden crisp on the outside, this is the best French Toast we tasted during a trip to Japan. I’ve re-created this amazing French toast by following the chef’s recipe! Make it this weekend for breakfast or brunch.
Ah, French toast! The golden, crispy-edged, custardy flavor and truly delicious French toast. When it’s done right, this iconic breakfast treat is everyone’s dream of a weekend morning.
There are many versions of how this classic fried bread should be done, but this is the best French toast we’ve tasted during our trip to Japan last summer. And I’ve re-created it following the chef’s recipe. Everyone can make this great French toast at home. The ingredients are simple, and chances are you have all of them already on hand.
The Best French Toast at Asaya Hotel in Kinugawa Onsen
When we visited Kinugawa Onsen in Tochigi, Japan, this past summer, we stayed in Asaya Hotel (あさやホテル). This hotel is known for offering an amazing breakfast buffet. There are over 100 dishes for Japanese breakfast and they also serve some Western-style breakfast. While we were waiting outside for the breakfast buffet to open, we saw the sign for their legendary French Toast.
As I always start with Japanese-style breakfast, I don’t get to Western-style breakfast until toward the end of my breakfast. Mr. JOC, however, grabs whatever he wants to eat. This time, with no exception, he came back with some Japanese breakfast dishes and the famous French toast. All piled up on his almost overfilled tray.
While I was enjoying my Japanese breakfast, he kept saying, “This is sooooo good!’ and eventually made me get my share. Sure enough, the French toast was insanely good! The crispy buttery edges, creamy custardy inside, and all the delicious toppings made the fried bread the most irresistible. The kids barged in and took a few bites from our plates. Needless to say, all of us agreed – this was by far the best French toast we’ve had.
Then without any warning, Mr. JOC grabbed my hands and walked me to the counter where the chef was working on making more French toast, and asked for the recipe. Worried that we were interrupting the chef, I said they wouldn’t share, but I was wrong! The chef not only gave us a genuine smile, but he actually surprised me by sharing the exact measurement for the recipe. It was for making a huge batch of French toast enough to feed a crowd of course! But we were absolutely thrilled and appreciative.
The chef also emphasized that it’s important to use quality eggs, milk, and baguette as they use fresh eggs and milk from a local farm in Tochigi prefecture.
Thanks to the wonderful chef at Asaya Hotel (and Mr. JOC’s promptness), I can now share this delicious French toast recipe with all of you.
6 Ingredients for the Best French Toast
- Baguette – For the best result, use French baguette, not slices of white bread, for this recipe.
- Eggs – Use good quality organic eggs.
- Milk – Use milk with a higher fat content to yield a creamier batter. You can add a splash of heavy cream if you like.
- Vanilla Extract – Vanilla adds a rich base note of flavor, even when it isn’t the main flavor in french toast. You can skip it if you don’t have one.
- Sugar – You might be shocked to see the amount of sugar used in the recipe, but don’t let it deter you. The recipe uses way more milk than typical French toast recipes and ratio-wise, the sugar amount is reasonable compared to other French toast recipes. Of course, you can use less sugar, but I kept to the same original recipe from the Chef.
- Butter – Since you’re going to enjoy this French toast to the fullest, use good quality butter to cook the French toast, not cooking oil spray. Butter plays a part in flavoring the French toast.
Optionally, you can add cinnamon too. The Chef’s recipe does not include it so I didn’t add it in this recipe, but I use some ground cinnamon in my French toast and it’s always delicious!
3 Tips to Make the Best French Toast
1. Get a French baguette and cut the bread into 1.5 – 2 inches (4-5 cm) thickness.
The recommended bread is a loaf of French baguette with a hard crust around the white soft bread. To enjoy the texture of the French toast, the chef recommended slicing it into 4-5 cm lengths.
2. Soak bread in the egg and milk mixture for 5 minutes on each side.
Because we soak the bread in the egg and milk mixture, you can put your stale bread to good use! I sometimes keep leftover baguettes in a plastic bag in the freezer for entertaining, and I use them to make French Toast. Thanks to the thick crust, the French baguette absorbs the creamy milky flavors while the crust still maintains its shape.
3. Put the dry side of the bread on the frying pan first.
This may seem odd, but if you like your French toast with nice brown edges, then cook from the ‘dry’ side of the bread first. On the contrary, if you place the well-soaked side of the bread on the hot pan first, the surface tends to end up with excess batter, kind of like scrambled eggs.
French Toast – A Recipe Everyone Should Know!
There’s truly nothing like some decadent French toast to start off your day. With this recipe, you are set for an indulgent weekend breakfast or brunch! Enjoy it with fresh fruits and douse liberally with maple syrup. Bottomless coffee or tea is always welcome!
The Best French Toast
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups whole milk
- 1 French baguette
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- confectioners’ sugar (if desired)
- maple syrup (if desired)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, beat 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell).
- Add ¼ cup sugar and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.
- Add 2½ cups whole milk and whisk well together.
- Cut 1 French baguette into pieces 1½–2 inches (4–5 cm) thick.
- Soak both sides of the bread in the milk and egg mixture. Place them in a deep baking dish, with the soft white side facing up.
- Pour the leftover mixture into the baking dish.
- Let it soak for 5 minutes, and flip to soak the other side for 5 minutes. The side facing up now is the “dry” side. You can prepare fruits, powder sugar, and maple syrup during this time.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease the rimmed baking sheet with butter. Heat 1–2 Tbsp unsalted butter in the frying pan or griddle.
- When the butter is melted and the pan is hot, place the bread “dry” side DOWN in the pan. *The “dry” side is the side facing up in the image on the right.
- Cook until the bottom is golden brown. Then turn over to cook the other side until golden.
- When both sides are nicely brown, transfer to the baking sheet.
- Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 6 minutes. For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
- Remove from the oven and serve on a plate.
- Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and drizzle maple syrup as desired.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month.