I have a long-standing relationship with French Toast. First of all, classic french toast is Lt. Dan’s second favorite food, after steak, so I’ve become very well acquainted with it over the years.

I thought I had perfected French Toast. Yet I then had the opportunity to take not one, but three trips to France in a relatively short amount of time. On these trips, it became quite clear to me that I still needed to learn a few things about How To Make French Toast… The way the French make it! So now, after a couple of Parisian cooking classes, and a lot of at-home experimentation, my French Toast is now just as amazing as the Pain Perdu we ate in Paris.

Why Is This Called Pain Perdu?

French toast (like french fries) is an Americanized version of a classic French recipe. The original recipe is called Pain Perdu in french, which literally translates as “lost bread.” Some believe the term refers to using day-old bread that would be thrown out if not repurposed. Others believe it refers to the bread getting lost in the egg mixture when dunked.

What’s The Difference Between French Toast And Pain Perdu?

There’s a vast difference between the French Toast most Americans make on the weekends, and what Pain Perdu is meant to be. In France, Pain Perdu is nearly an art form. It has been perfected over centuries. There’s a method. There’s a ratio. There’s an expectation. Here in the United States, French Toast is an afterthought. We open the fridge and think, “Great! I’ve got a few pieces of sandwich bread left, and a couple of eggs… French Toast!” We whisk the eggs with whatever liquid dairy product (or nut milk) we can find, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and dunk the bread.

We don’t measure. We don’t consider the consistency of the egg mixture. We don’t worry about the type of bread or the thickness of the slices. We know, in the end, we will drown the French Toast in maple syrup and enjoy it regardless. However, this quick weekend breakfast could be SO much more, with very little effort.


  • 1 loaf brioche bread, unsliced
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • Possible Toppings: Toasted almonds, fresh berries, powdered sugar, maple syrup, caramel sauce, chocolate shavings
  • Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lay out a large baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the half & half, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Make sure the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Use a serrated knife to slice the brioche loaf into 1 inch slices. (About 10 slices.)
  • Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons butter, depending on the size of the skillet.
  • Soak 2-3 pieces of brioche in the egg mixture for about 30-60 seconds, flipping to coat. The bread should soak just long enough to be fully saturated, without dissolving it.
  • Carefully move the soaked bread to the hot skillet. Fry the French Toast slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. If they are cooking faster, lower the heat to medium-low, to make sure the inside is cooked through the middle.
  • Move the French Toast to the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. (The longer it sits in the oven, the puffier it will become.)
  • Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and add more butter to the skillet. (You only need to wipe the skillet if the butter residue looks dark.)
  • Repeat with the remaining slices of bread until all the French Toast is cooked. Place each batch in the oven to keep warm.
  • Serve warm with fresh berries, maple syrup, or your favorite toppings!

  • Recipe from A Spicy perspective