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Martha's Famous French Toast

French Toast
French toast with strawberries and blueberries.Getty Images
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
8 mins
8 to 10 pieces

Chef notes

Lemon zest and brandy bring this thick French toast major brightness. Drenching the bread in egg batter and rotating it in the pan creates a tender, yet crisp texture, which holds up when you keep finished batches in a warmed oven. When served with some savory, crisp bacon or fresh fruit, this breakfast is unbeatable.


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (such as Cognac) or vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange or lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Coarse salt
  • 8 to 10 slices bread, such as brioche or challah bread, sliced 1-inch thick, preferably day-old
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
  • Syrup, for serving
  • Fresh fruit or crispy bacon, for serving (optional)



Preheat oven to 200°F. Place a baking sheet or ovenproof serving platter in oven.


In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brandy, zest and large pinch of salt. 


Layer bread slices in a shallow baking dish and pour over egg mixture; let stand until bread begins to absorb liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn bread slices and let bread absorb liquid on the opposite side, 2 to 3 minutes more.


Working in batches, coat the bottom of a medium skillet with some butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add 3 to 4 slices of soaked bread and cook until golden brown and crisp. Turn bread and cook until golden brown and crisp, adding butter as necessary to help browning and to give the French toast a nutty flavor. Transfer French toast to baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Wipe skillet and repeat process with remaining soaked bread and butter.


Serve French toast immediately with syrup and fresh fruit or bacon, if desired.