I am so not a morning person…I do not function well until I have had at least two pots of coffee.
So anything I can do the night before—such as make school lunches, lay out clothes, and so forth—I try to always do this the night before.
Heaven forbid that I stand up for how long making slice after slice of French toast.
Fortunately there is an awesome way to make French toast the night before.
In fact, not only does this make ahead French toast casserole allow you not to stand any more than you have to…to serve everyone at the same time…to make rushing out the door even easier because you already have breakfast made…
Refrigerating this casserole overnight allows the bread to soak up the custard and makes the dish taste even better than it would have otherwise.
The perfect French toast has a sweet custard-like flavor, the texture of ordinary French toast, a crispy layer of streusel topping on top, and just the right amount of cinnamon.
- 1 loaf crusty bread—such as French bread, sourdough, challah, brioche or ciabatta
- 6 eggs
- 1-1/2C milk
- 1-1/4C brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar (don’t leave it out, trust me)
- 1Tbsp vanilla
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 4Tbsp melted butter
- 3Tbsp brown sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1/2tsp nutmeg
- Dried cranberries
- Maple syrup
- Powdered sugar
- Fruit…such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, pineapple, or bananas
1. Bread….Pretty much anything other than normal sandwich bread will end up making an even better French toast casserole. Save that for your kid’s lunchbox peanut butter jelly sandwich that you have to make each night instead.
If you do use loaf bread, your casserole will typically end up tasting soggy and lacking texture.
Instead, explore with other options—such as challah or brioche.
Choose breads that are “crusty”…the crust will add texture to your dish.
Your French toast casserole will also taste much better if you use stale bread, instead of freshly baked….(another reason to make this casserole, right…as you clean out your pantry or make out your next grocery list and find that bread that you forgot that you bought sitting there just begging to be eaten)…
Cream Cheese…Cream cheese is optional…(wait, in a Southern girl’s world, c ream cheese is NEVER optional, right, Paula?!)..but if you do choose to use cream cheese, be sure that you use only a high quality full-fat cream cheese, such as Philadelphia brand.
2. Milk...Whole milk will give your casserole the richest taste and texture.
3. Powdered Sugar...Powdered sugar is another optional ingredient…at least for anyone not both in the Deep South.
Tear bread into cubes. Place the bread in a warm oven for minutes to dry slightly.
Spray your 9×13 with cooking spray.
Layer half of the bread into a 9×13.
Combine flour, eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour this on top of the bread.
Top with the remaining bread.
To make the struesel…Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Pour the struesel evenly over the top of the casserole.
You can go ahead and bake it at this point…or you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.
If you are going to go ahead and bake your dish now, wait about twenty minutes first so that your bread can soak up the cream cheese mixture..
When you are ready to bake the dish…
Preheat oven to 350.
Cover dish with foil.
Bake for 20min.
Bake 20min…until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.