Monday, January 11, 2010

Braided French Toast

While watching Iron Chef I saw a competitor make french toast using a beautiful loaf of brioche. That was two weeks ago and I still can’t get the image of the delicious bread out of my mind. I looked at my regular grocery store but of course they did not carry it. I find it very disheartening that the average grocery store will devote one entire isle to bread yet none of them are anything special. I want to see sourdough and baguettes that are hollow when you tap them and are rich and chewy in the center. Now, I know I could have trekked out into the cold this weekend to find a bakery that would make a suitable loaf, but instead I decided to warm my house and my spirits in a way that only kneading bread can do. I decided to make challah: a rich, egg-y, buttery, braided bread. This lightly sweetened bread worked perfectly for the  french toast I had been dreaming about.
2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 c. warm water (105-115 F)
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg beaten for glaze
5 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
In a stand mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 c. flour, salt and butter. Attach dough hook and knead 5-7 minutes or until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and transfer into large bowl brushed with oil. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm draft-free spot for 2 hours (dough will double in size). Punch down dough and place on a floured work surface. Cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Lightly knead each ball of dough and shape into 3 ropes a little longer than the length of a baking sheet.
Place 3 ropes of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Braid dough and tuck each end under the braid. Cover braided loaf with a towel and let rise again in a warm spot until it doubles in size (45-60 min). Brush the braid with a beaten egg and bake at 350 F 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking
Braided French Toast
3 eggs
3/4 c. half and half or milk
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Challah bread

In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and seasonings and mix until well combined. Dip thick bread slices into egg mixture and cook in a large skillet or electric skillet that has been brushed with butter. Cook approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. I like to top with honey butter.

1 comment:

  1. Katie12/1/10

    Eric made the bread and french toast-- tasted like a gourmet breakfast at a restaraunt!! Very filling and delicious!