If you have the time slice your bread into ½ inch to 1 inch thick slices the NIGHT before you plan to make French Toast. Arrange fresh bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet overnight to allow the bread to dry out. Alternatively, you can also dry the sliced bread out quickly by placing the sliced bread on a baking sheet and place into a 200-degree F oven for 10-20 minutes, flipping the bread half-way.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and a dash of salt together until well combined.
Dip the bread into the egg custard on each side, about 5-10 seconds per side.
Remove bread from custard and shake off excess.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of butter to the skillet and let melt to coat the bottom of the skillet evenly.
Place French Toast in a skillet and pan-fry until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the opposite side.
Remove from skillet and place browned French Toast on baking sheet.
Repeat the process, adding butter in between each batch of french toast.
Place prepared French Toast in oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking.
French toast is delicious with fresh fruit, maple syrup, or powdered sugar.
Feel free to use any milk or cream that you desire. Half and half gives the egg custard a more rich luxurious taste, while skim milk does not provide as much flavor to the custard.
Use pure vanilla extract for the richest, purest vanilla flavor in this French Toast. Be sure to not allow the bread to soak too long in the custard. This will result in soggy bread that will fall apart and not be able to be pan-fried.
Use Gluten-Free Bread for Gluten-Free French Toast.
Granulated sugar can be substituted for the maple syrup in the egg custard, but the maple flavor adds a terrific flavor to this French Toast recipe.
It is NOT necessary to finish the French Toast in the oven, but I find this step ensures that the egg custard is fully cooked and the french toast is fluffy, not at all soggy. If not finishing in the oven, cook for 1-2 minutes longer per side, being careful to not burn french toast.
Leftover French Toast can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days and is best reheated in a dry skillet.