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Kate’s Quick Bites: Real French Toast

Julia Noulin-Merat of Opera Columbus talks about the classic way to make French Toast and how they're making opera accessible in Columbus


  • 4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices of challah or brioche bread 
  • 3 extra large eggs 
  • 1 cup of milk 
  • pinch cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional) 

In a medium shallow soup bowl, pour the milk. This is the secret that French people do to prepare French Toast that is not widely known, each step has to be done in a separate bowl- DO NOT blend the eggs with the milk! That’s the American version. Also, it’s best to use bread that is a little dry.

In a separate medium shallow soup bowl, beat eggs with vanilla. Add in any other spices or seasonings at this time; you can add a pinch of cinnamon or ground nutmeg if you like for an extra touch. Keep in mind nutmeg is powerful. Whisk egg mixture with a fork until well blended.

Place each slice of bread into the milk bowl and move on to next the egg mixture, immersing bread and allowing it to soak for 1 minute. Turning the slice several times.

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low until bubbling. Lift bread from egg mixture, letting excess egg drip off before placing bread in skillet. Fry French toast until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining bread.

Stash cooked slices of French toast in an oven set to 200°F to hold them warm until you are ready to serve everything.

Serve French toast hot with butter, maple syrup, and/or Fresh Berry compote and as desired, a pinch of cinnamon.

Fresh Berry Compote

  • 1 pound mixed fresh berries, such as strawberries and raspberries, sliced (4 cups) 
  • 1/4 cup + plus 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • Crème fraîche, for serving 

In a medium saucepan, combine the berries with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the water and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat until the berries are softened and the sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. The berry compote can be refrigerated overnight. Serve warm.