Choose your bread wisely.

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When it comes to French toast, all breads are not created equal. It takes a particular kind of loaf to stand up to all that wonderfully sugary, creamy, and eggy goodness. Here's what you need to know to select the best bread for your next batch of French toast: 

What Are We Looking For? 

plain French toast on white plate
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Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the perfect bread for French toast: 

  • Sturdiness. No matter which French toast recipe you use, you’re going to have to saturate the bread in wet, milky, egg mixture. The bread you choose will need to be able to withstand a good soaking and pan-frying without falling apart. Opt for something thick-cut and dense instead of something finely sliced and airy. 
  • Slight staleness. French toast is traditionally made with day-old bread because it prevents waste and because slightly stale slices absorb the custard-like mixture better than fresh ones. Now, this is certainly not a prerequisite (especially if you’re not using homemade bread), and you can absolutely make French toast with brand new bread — just something to keep in mind before you throw out a loaf that’s nearing its expiration date! 
  • Flavor. Have you ever heard someone say that you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink? Apply that same principle here. For truly perfect French toast, you really need to use quality ingredients. 
French toast on patterned plate with butter
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What About Bread Pudding?

Bought too much bread for your French toast? Just make a pan of bread pudding! Both dishes require soaking in a custard-like egg mixture, so you can use the same loaf. 

The Best Breads For French Toast 

Without further ado, here are the five best breads for making French toast:

Brioche

Brioche on kitchen towel
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Brioche is everything a perfect French toast bread should be: thick and sturdy with a tender, plush crumb. Its high butter and egg content makes it an ideal companion for the rich custard made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. It’s for these reasons and more that many French toast recipes call for thick-sliced brioche. 

Sourdough

Sourdough bread on cutting board
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Sourdough’s tanginess adds a touch of complexity to the over-the-top sweetness of French toast. Its natural flavor and texture mimics those of ever-so-slightly stale white bread, so it makes it an obvious choice. Plus, it’s one of the sturdiest breads out there — you certainly won’t have to worry about a well-made sourdough falling apart during the cooking process. 

French Bread

Bread (sliced baguette) on cutting board with butter on plate on dark background.
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No surprise here: Tonight’s baguette is perfectly suited to become tomorrow’s French toast. French breads typically have a thick crumb and crisp crust, which makes them ideal for soaking. Cutting the long loaf into thick round pieces instead of the traditional square slices makes this kind of French toast distinctly, well, French-looking. 

Challah

two loaves of challah on kitchen towel
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There’s nothing worse than letting perfectly good challah go to waste. Not only does the traditional Jewish bread have all the hallmarks of a great French toast bread (its eggy, sturdy, and absolutely delicious), but the braided loaf makes for a gorgeous finished dish. 

Plain Ol’ White Bread

Loaf of sliced bread on a chopping board
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At the end of the day, French toast is a dish born out of frugality. Any thick-sliced white bread you have on hand will work, so don’t even think about throwing away a loaf just because it’s not the finest brioche your local bakery has to offer. 

Get the recipe: Italian-French Toast