Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when we have a lazy morning ahead of us we like to tuck into a tall stack of these fabulous slices. We actually toast the bread so it doesn't get all soggy when dipping into the mixture. Don't skip this step, it makes all the difference! We usually double up the recipe below.
Bella Vista French Toast
8 large slices high-quality hearty white sandwich bread (we prefer Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White)
1-1/2 cup whole milk, warmed to 80 degress (should be warm to the touch)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted; plus 2 tbsp for cooking
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp table salt
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Place bread on wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake bread for 8 minutes, then flip to other side and bake for another 8 minutes, until almost dry throughout (center should remain slightly moist). Remove bread from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Return baking sheet with wire rack to oven and reduce temperature to 200 degrees F.
While bread is toasting, warm milk and then melt 2 tbsp butter. Set other 2 tbsp butter into cold skillet. Separate eggs, keeping yolks.
Whisk warmed milk, egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Transfer mixture to a 13x9 baking pan.
Soak bread in milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, about 20 seconds per side. Using a firm, slotted spatula, pick up a bread slice and allow the excess mixture to drip off; repeat with remaining slices. Placed the soaked bread on another wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat butter in skillet over medium-low heat. When foaming subsides, used a slotted spatula to transfer slices of the soaked bread to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer; if toast is cooking too quickly, reduce heat slightly.
Transfer first batch to the baking sheet in oven. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Repeat the procedures with remaining slices, adding 1/2 tbsp more butter for each batch.
Note: warming the milk, melting the butter and having the eggs at room temperature will prevent the butter from clumping up when mixing these ingredients together.
Serve warm with maple syrup. Some times we like to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top for fun, or serve with blueberries or raspberries. Enjoy!