As a kid French toast was my go-to breakfast item on any menu, but these days I find I almost never order it. What happened? Unfortunately over the past 10 years I think I've eaten so many bad versions that it may have scared me. I thought about what went wrong with this lovely food and there are three major offenders. The first common mistake, TOO SWEET. You know the sweet I'm referring to, piled high with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and other various dessert toppings. This is not the way I want to start my day, no matter how lazy I plan to be that day. The second mistake, TOO THIN. I think this is a result of the French toast being an afterthought. A restaurant has a breakfast menu; they feel like they should add French toast, so they put out some terrible limp, thin, flavorless version. The third and final mistake I see often, TOO CLASSY. I mean, challah and brioche are nice but they already taste like French toast before they are even soaked in eggs! You can take your crème brulee, croissant French toast soufflé elsewhere (this is actually what came up when I googled "upscale French toast"!). In my opinion a good French toast should be simple. I used a nice crusty ciabatta, soaked it in egg for a few hours, stuffed it with deliciousness, and tossed it into a frying pan for a few minutes.
The tomato, basil, and cheese go in from the side of the bread.
The egg yolk goes in from the top. The yolks actually broke during the soaking process, so I suggest cutting the cavity, soaking the bread, then adding the yolks after.
The bread soaks in the egg and milk mixture for 2 hours, flipping once in the middle.
Fry 'em up in lots of butter.
I gave them some time on their sides as well since they were so thick.
I thought these had a fun look to them, and you couldn't even tell there was a surprise inside!
The taste of both of these actually blew me away. Much better than I had expected. The egg yolk one was like a new take on the classic egg in a hole. No need for syrup on this plate. When things did need a sauce of some sort, there was plenty of yolk to go around. The texture of the bread was soft like a perfect bread pudding.
The soak was 5 eggs, about ¼ cup of milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. The bread was a crusty ciabatta. In one variety I stuffed tomato, basil, and mozzarella from a side. In the other variety, I put an egg yolk in from the face of the bread. I first cut out the cavity almost pushing through to the other side of the bread. Drop in the yolk and place a peice of the bread back to secure the yolk inside. I would suggest cutting the bread for this before soaking, but then actually waiting to put the yolk in until after the soak. I put mine in before and they broke at some point. Anyway, soak for 1 hour, flip, and soak one hour more. (you could potentially do this overnight if you want to eat first thing in the morning.) Cook on medium in a frying pan with lots of butter until browned on all sides.