French toast has gotten a makeover! This overnight french toast casserole uses challah bread marinated in a cinnamon spiced milk mixture, then baked in the morning and topped with fresh berries. This easy french toast bake recipe makes breakfast so easy and delicious!
For this recipe I utilized challah bread. It has a sweet and buttery taste, that soaks up so much flavor. I have also made this recipe with brioche as well. You’ll want the bread to be a day or so old, so it’s not so soft. This will give you a better texture for the casserole.
Cut the bread into slices, then cut into 1 inch cubes. I love keeping the crust on because it crisps up when you bake it.
Now for the flavor! In a bowl you’re going to whisk together: eggs, milk, half and half, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. This is what the challah is going to soak up and make every bite so delicious!
I like to add orange zest to give it a nice citrus flavor. I use my microplane to easily gather the zest, then dump into the liquid.
Whisk until all the eggs are beaten and a light foam forms on top. You want to ensure all of the eggs are fully whisked. I choose to transfer it to a 32oz measuring cup with a spout, so I don’t make a mess when pouring over the bread.
Evenly pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. This allows the bread to soak up the maximum amount of flavor. If you forget to soak overnight, give it at least 20-30 minutes to soak in the morning before baking.
The next morning, before putting it in the oven I make a quick cinnamon sugar topping. This part is optional, but you combine brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cold squares of butter. Mix with your hands and it will turn into a crumble. This will melt over the top of the bread pieces while baking.
Bake for an hour uncovered. At 45 minutes, I check to make sure the top isn’t burning. If you see the top is getting too dark, then tent some aluminum foil over the top for the final 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with your favorite berries! I used blueberries and raspberries.
I also enjoy topping it with some powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup!
This french toast bake is the perfect breakfast/brunch dish for feeding multiple people and brings french toast to another level. Enjoy!
French Toast Bake
- 16 oz loaf of day old Challah bread sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup half & half
- 8 eggs
- ¼ + ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange zest grated
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1+1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes
- 6 oz fresh blueberries
- 6 oz fresh raspberries
- Grease a 13×9 baking dish and spread your cut bread inside.
- In a large bowl whisk together: milk, half & half, eggs, ¼ cup brown sugar, vanilla extract, orange zest, kosher salt, nutmeg, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Ensure all eggs are fully whisked.
- Carefully pour over the top of the bread, evenly distributing over the pieces on top. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove bread from refrigerator.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, cold butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, and ¼ cup brown sugar. Mix with your finger tips until combined and crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the bread.
- Place in the oven and bake for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes if the top begins to burn, tent the top with some aluminum foil for the remaining duration.
- Remove from oven, the top should be crisp and the middle spongey, but not wet. Top with the fresh berries and optional powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup.
- If you cannot refrigerate the bread overnight, allow minimum 20 minutes for bread to soak. (The longer the better for flavor purposes)
- You can substitute brioche for challah bread