French toast recipes usually call for rich, eggy breads like challah and brioche. These breads make for a rich breakfast dish that is a bit of a blank slate for the flavors of your syrup or toppings. I’ll often make it a point to pick up a loaf when I’m planning to make french toast for weekend brunch, but challah and brioche aren’t usually the breads that are staples in my pantry. They’re there sometimes, of course, but I also buy all kinds of whole wheat and whole grain breads. Those heartier breads make great sandwiches and toast topped with avocado and drizzled with olive oil, but they also make a delicious Whole Wheat French Toast that you can enjoy for breakfast any day of the week.
Whole wheat breads are often a bit drier and coarser than white breads. This isn’t true for all of them, of course, but these traits actually make whole grain breads fantastic candidates for making french toast. They are able to soak up the eggy custard base very well and that mixture tenderizes the bread without making the finished dish too soggy. These heartier breads typically have a nutty, wheaty flavor to them that will come through in the finished french toast. I like to add a little maple syrup to the custard mixture – agave and even honey can be good substitutes if you don’t have any maple syrup on hand – to soften these flavors a bit. It’s nice to have the whole grain element in breakfast, but french toast should have a nice sweetness to it when it is served.
I used a multi-grain bread in the french toast pictured here, but you can use any kind of whole grain bread that you prefer. I often have sliced sandwich bread on hand, but you can also cut thin slices from any loaf of whole grain bread might already have in the kitchen. French toast is a great way to use up any leftover bread that might be a touch too stale to eat as-is. The finished french toast should be served with maple syrup, or with a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar and fresh berries.
Whole Wheat French Toast
1 cup milk (any kind)
3 large eggs
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 slices of whole wheat bread
maple syrup or powdered sugar, to serve
Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and lightly grease.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon until smooth.
Pour egg mixture into a large, shallow dish. Place one or two slices of whole wheat bread in the egg mixture and soak, turning once, for about 1 minute or until completely saturated.
Transfer bread to preheated pan and cook until golden, 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook until golden on the second side, 1-2 minutes.
Slice french toast in half and serve immediately, with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup.