Overnight Challah French Toast

For the last two years, my friend Karen and I have led a fundraiser for our synagogue’s religious school, making round challot for the High Holy Days. Challot is the plural of challah, that wonderful egg bread similar to brioche, that is traditionally eaten at every Shabbat and holidays. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, and to celebrate it, challot are traditionally round-shaped and often contain dried fruit (usually raisins) to symbolize a sweet new year.

This year, in the middle of our 20-hour day baking, we got hungry and looked to the freezer. It turned out that we somehow had several challot that had not been sold last year. Since we weren’t going to sell them this year either, we turned one into french toast to eat as lunch, and I used another to make this overnight french toast.

Challah is a wonderful bread for french toast, since it’s a enriched (sweetened) egg bread to start with. I hadn’t thought of blogging this recipe, and since I quickly put it together I failed to take any pictures of the process. However, my friends loved it and wanted to know how I made it, and I thought you all might be interested to! As with all overnight french toast recipes, the beauty is that it comes together quickly, sits in the fridge overnight, and is then baked off in the morning, leading to a quick and tasty breakfast. It also reheats beautifully – I took pieces of it to work all week, as you can see at the top 🙂

Overnight Challah French Toast

Overnight Challah French Toast

  • 1 loaf of challah, or other bread, roughly 1-1.5 pounds
  • 10 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • about 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, if desired
  • Slice bread 1/2"-1" thick.
  • Place the eggs, milk, vanilla, and spices (as desired, to taste) in a 9x13" pan. Scramble the mixture until homogeneous.
  • Arrange the slices of bread fanned out in the pan, with as much or little overlap as you would like. When the bread is arranged, un-fan the pieces to create a gap and dip each piece into the batter so that it is coated on both sides. When the pieces have all been coated, re-arrange them in the pan. This ensures that each piece is coated.
  • Use your hands to press lightly down on the bread, to help distribute the rest of the egg mixture and encourage it to soak into the bread. If you have a lot of bread and/or don't seem to have a lot of egg mixture left, you may want to mix up several extra eggs with some milk and pour it over the top. I felt this mixture was enough for a 1 pound loaf plus 2 slices from another loaf.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes, to help minimize shock to the pan from going straight from the fridge to the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle the turbinado sugar all across the top of the soaked bread. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until nice and brown. Check with a knife to ensure that the custard is fully baked through, then remove from the oven.
  • Serve warm as-is, or with honey, syrup, jam, sugar, or the topping of your choice. This also reheats well in the microwave.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *