Somewhere near Christmas my mother handed me a recipe for a baked french toast and hinted strongly that she’d like to have that for Christmas morning breakfast. It seemed easy and you basically did all the prep the night before and refrigerated before baking, so it also seemed like a great thing to bake while opening presents. Mom wound up not caring for it but fortunately I loved it and I especially loved that it makes lots at once and freezes and reheats quite nicely.
I, of course, tweaked it that first time to get the wheat and dairy out and now I’ve tweaked it so far away from the original recipe that I consider this one to be mine:
Gluten and Dairy Free Baked French Toast
- 1 loaf gluten free bread; I use Udi’s or Trader Joe’s whole grain gluten free, both of which are small loaves with small slices–if you have some other brand or make your own you may need more or less
- 2 cups soy or coconut milk creamer or 1 cup plain soy or coconut milk creamer plus 1 cup vanilla soy or coconut milk creamer
- 8 eggs
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried orange peel
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (or 8 or 10 swipes of whole on a grater)
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- optional: One 4 oz. package diced pancetta or 6-8 slices chopped bacon
You also need a 9″x 13″ pan and some butter or oil or parchment paper to grease or line the pan.
Several hours before you plan to make the rest, take all the bread out of the wrapper and lay on a cookie sheet or platter to get it stale.
Put all the rest of the ingredients except pancetta in a mixer bowl and mix thoroughly.
In your greased or papered 9×13 pan, lay 2 or 3 slices of bread at one end (depends on size of slices and whether you want them end to end or side to side), and then overlap 2-3 more slices. Continue overlapping till you reach the other end of the pan. (The one pictured is from an end where I wound up turning a couple of slices a different direction than the rest to make it fit properly so it looks funny…)
Pour the blended liquids evenly over the bread and squeeze down to make sure the bread is soaking it up thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.
Preheat oven to 375 F. If you want pancetta or bacon on it, spread the uncooked, diced or chopped meat over the top now. Place uncovered pan in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. Time depends in part on how moist or dry you want it. And, if you plan to freeze and reheat some, I recommend that you cook it a little less and leave it a bit wet. That way there’s room for a some extra cooking to happen without drying it out when you reheat.
To serve, I like to drizzle a little more pure maple syrup over the top after it’s heated but with the spices, vanilla and syrup already in it, it’s plenty sweet if you like to be sparing about sugars. You could also sprinkle powdered sugar on top — if you don’t care how much sugar… 🙂 Or some fruit…