Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

Last Sunday morning, after eating the quick French toast that I made with the challah leftover from the previous evening, Dwight suggested that I share this recipe on my blog. I had made my mom’s classic French toast recipe by dipping the bread in a mixture made with eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and milk. As you can see, it is nothing too exciting, just simple French toast. Frankly, I did not think of this recipe as one that is worthy of sharing with my readers.

However, I was intrigued. I decided to do a little research and see how others were making their French toast. Between you and I, I was secretly hoping to find a foolproof recipe that I could claim to be the best.

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

After several hours of surfing on the internet and reading through my favorite cookbooks, I came to the conclusion that the homecooks of our generation have gotten far more sophisticated with their French toast recipes than my mother’s. It was apparent that I could definitely improve on that recipe, and make it in a way that is worthy of sharing here on the blog.

As I read through these sources, I took notes and spent the next 2 mornings testing them in my kitchen. At the end of those 2 days and after eating more than our fair share of slices of French toast, my husband and I thought that we could claim this to be the best French toast recipe ever.

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

So here is what I learned:

1. Choose a type of bread high in egg and fat:
I found that most French toast recipes use bread that is high in egg and fat content. Breads like Challah (Jewish egg bread made with eggs and oil), or Brioche (French yeast bread made with eggs and butter) are the two most popular ones. It is commonly agreed that using these kinds of bread produces a more custardy and creamy end result.

2. Bread should be dry:
Everyone seems to agree that the bread you choose should be dry (or stale) to absorb as much of the milk mixture as possible. However, the most common way of drying the bread was to leave it out (covered with a clean kitchen towel) for a day or two on the counter, and let the air do the work.
Though I had done this in the past, I love the method that America’s Test Kitchen uses. They simply bake the bread in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the baking process. This way the water in the bread completely evaporates in a much quicker way.

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce
3. Add more fat in to the milk mixture:
As I read through blog posts and recipes, I realized that the most commonly used term for the milk mixture was “creamy”. Almost everyone was looking for a way to make it creamier. And the way to do that was to increase the fat content by adding some melted butter into the milk mixture.
I can’t say that this was a surprise to me, as we all know butter makes things taste better, but for this instance, I thought that it really added a new layer of flavor to the end product.
That being said, I saw some recipes that used vegetable oil instead. I will try this next time and will let you know how it turns out. However, I doubt that it will make it taste better than the version with butter.

One very important note here – If you add the melted butter to cold milk, it may curdle. You can prevent that by warming up the milk in the microwave for a minute or so.

4. Go for a custardy French toast rather than an eggy one:
Another thing that I learned from America’s Test Kitchen was to increase the amount of milk (by half a cup) by eliminating the egg whites. To be quite honest, I wouldn’t mind the eggy taste, but I loved the additional custardy consistency that this minimal change produced.

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

5. Dress it up:

Last but not least, most recipes, especially the ones that were written by food bloggers used seasonal fruits and sauces to enhance the flavor of the French toast. I suspect that they did this to make it look more seasonal and appealing.
In my case, as you can see in the pictures, I went a little overboard with this part. I stacked them up with layers of Mascarpone cheese and sprinkled it with pistachios, and topped them off with some berries and caramel sauce.

Though I promise you, this French toast still tastes very good just by itself and/or after it is drizzled with a little bit of warm maple syrup.

Yields 8

Brioche French Toast with Berries and Caramel Sauce

5 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of brioche , sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter + 2 tablespoon unsalted, melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of seasonal berries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (homemade or supermarket brand)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 F degrees.
  2. Place brioche slices on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the slices for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the baking process.
  3. Once ready, remove bread from the rack and set it aside to cool.
  4. Turn the heat down to 200 F degrees. Return the baking sheet back into the oven.
  5. Whisk together the milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt in a large – flat Pyrex. I used my 13X9 inch Pyrex.
  6. Soak 1 slice at a time into the milk mixture - 20 seconds long on each side for each slice. It should be wet, not falling apart. Let the excess milk mixture drip off. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the same process with the rest of the slices.
  7. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet, over medium heat.
  8. Using a slotted spatula, transfer 2 slices of Brioche on to the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown. If they turn golden brown too quickly turn down to heat just a little.
  9. Place cooked slices onto the baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm until you are ready to eat.
  10. Repeat the same process for the rest of the Brioche slices using 1/2 tablespoon butter for each time.
  11. To assemble (like the one in the picture): Place a slice of French Toast in the middle of a plate. Spread 1/2 tablespoon (or more) Mascarpone cheese on top and sprinkle it with chopped pistachios. Stack a second French Toast on top, and repeat the same process. Place the third slice on top of the second one, and top it off with fresh berries. Drizzle it with caramel sauce and sprinkle it with powdered sugar and some more pistachios.
http://www.foolproofliving.com/brioche-french-toast-with-berries-and-caramel-sauce/

The French toast part of this recipe is adapted (with changes) from Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Brioche French Toast with Caramel and Berries

21 comments
  • cynthia - This is incredible! I love all the research you did! Your end result looks beyond fantastic — and your photos are beautiful, as usual. Awesome 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean - Hi Aysegul! What a informative and mouthwatering post! Thank you for all the tips for making the perfect French toast (one of my most favorite comfort foods). The addition of mascarpone is brilliant! I can’t wait to whip these up with some fresh made brioche! Your photography is inspiring. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Traci,
      French toast is my favorite breakfast as well and I don’t think that I can live without Mascarpone. 🙂
      I hope these tips will help you as much as it helped me.
      Thank you so much for your kind words about my photography.
      Cheers!
      Aysegul “Ice”ReplyCancel

  • Katie Bryson - What a great post – I adore French Toast but have only made it in the British “Eggy Bread” way… I can clearly see now this is completely inferior after your extensive research and am now going to nip out and get the ingredients so we can have it for Sunday breakfast tomorrow. I have to say your photography is stunning by the way – I found you on foodgawker 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Katie,
      I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind the eggy way myself. However, this version is worth a try.
      I cannot imagine a better Sunday breakfast. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words.
      Cheers and hugs from the Caribbean.
      Aysegul – “Ice”ReplyCancel

  • Lynna - Love this post. French toast is probably one of my favorite breakfast food! I love eggs and wouldn’t mind the eggy taste, but I definitely want to try this version. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Lynna,
      Me too. I wouldn’t mind the eggy version. Though I was surprised to see the difference that excluding the egg whites made at the end product. I guess it is a personal choice, but I think this version is definitely worth a try.
      Best,
      AysegulReplyCancel

  • Sharana @ Living The Sweet Life Blog - HOLY MOLY MOTHER OF YUM!! what a gorgeous recipe, it sounds incredibly delicious and your pictures are out of this world!ReplyCancel

    • Terri - Holy Mother of Yum! That puts a smile on anyone’s face! Thanks for the lift. Great for the holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Mica Hill - Ayce.
    This one sure caught my eye and makes me realize the French Toast I have been making all these years is boring and basic. The work you put into this is amazing and the result is perfection. Yum!ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Hi Mica,
      I doubt that anything you do could ever be boring. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I cannot tell you how much they mean to me.
      Let’s see if our favorite doctor will like the taste of this version..
      Cheers!
      IceReplyCancel

  • Madeline - You never cease to amaze and the photography is sublime! Was there a recipe for the caramel sauce or did I miss it?ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Thank you Madeline. 🙂
      I made the caramel sauce myself because I couldn’t find it on the island, but you can use a supermarket brand that you like. I didn’t add the recipe as I wanted this blog post to be all about the French toast.
      I am working on a cheesecake recipe where I will be including the recipe of a really good homemade salted caramel sauce recipe.
      Coming soon…
      Love and hugs..
      IceReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire - Your photos are stunning and I love how much thought you put into this recipe. I am normally one for French toast, but I think I will need to make this during the weekend.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - I’m glad Dwight suggested you post this because it looks amazing. That first picture needs to be on the cover of a cookbook. It sounds like you discovered the more fat you add, the better it will taste…haha of course! I’m sure it’s worth every bite 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Aysegul Sanford - Thank you Caitlin.
      I agree with you on the butter. 🙂
      Thank you for your kind words, my friend.
      Cheers!
      IceReplyCancel

  • J F - Great recipe! Next time I would add a little less milk. I served with Maple syrup- they didn’t need anything else- delicious!ReplyCancel

Hi There!

I am so glad you stopped by and I hope you are enjoying my adventures in cooking, photography, and life. 
I am Aysegul: the photographer, writer, designer, recipe creator, and dishwasher behind this blog. This website is a journal of my favorite seasonal and healthy recipes. Click around and let me know if I can help in any way. 
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