How To Make Bread Stale For French Toast

The BEST French toast is made with stale bread! Learn how to make bread stale for French toast.

french toast that was made with stale bread. it has cut fresh berries and maple syrup.

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Who DOESN’T love French toast? There is nothing I love more than brioche French toast in the morning with fresh berries and a heavy drizzle of maple syrup.

In France, French toast is called “pain perdu”, which translates to “lost bread.”  This dish was created to use up day-old, stale bread. Nowadays, you can order expensive French toast at fancy restaurants.  

However, no matter how expensive or budget-friendly this dish is, French toast starts with one one ingredient: Stale Bread

How To Make Bread Stale For French Toast

Quick Answer: To make bread stale for French toast, leave slices out on your counter overnight. If you are in a rush, you can make bread stale in the oven. Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. 

Delicious homemade french toast on a plate.

Can You Make French Toast Without Stale Bread?

The bread doesn’t HAVE to be stale to make French Toast. However, the best bread to use for any French toast recipe is stale bread. 

Stale bread is drier and firmer than fresh bread, which makes it less likely to fall apart when soaked in the egg mixture and during the cooking process. The staleness allows the bread to soak up more of the mixture of eggs, resulting in richer flavor and creamier texture.

If you don’t have stale bread, no worries! The good news is that you can make bread stale for French toast regularly fast and easy! You can either leave it out on the counter overnight or bake it in your oven. 

However, for best results, I highly recommend using stale bread whenever you are making French toast.

Stale Bread Vs Dry Bread

Stale bread makes the best French toast, NOT dry bread! 

Stale BreadDry Bread
Lost moisture over time due to exposure to airCompletely devoid of moisture, usually through toasting or baking
Firm and chewyHard and brittle
Still someone flexibleLacks flexibility
Perfect for French toast and bread puddingPerfect for breadcrumbs and croutons
Differences between stale bread and dry bread

Stale bread and dry bread may seem similar. However, they differ in terms of their texture and moisture content. Stale bread retains moisture content and a bit of flexibility. On the other hand, dry bread has lost all of its moisture, is dry, and is brittle. 

slices of bread on a wire cooling rack.

How To Make Bread Stale Overnight

The best way to turn bread stale for any classic French toast recip is to leave it on your counter overnight. 

If you are planning on making French toast in the morning, slice the bread and lay the slices out on a wire cooling rack. The wire rack will allow all sides of the bread to be exposed to air evenly. However, if you don’t have one, you can place the slices on a baking sheet. 

Leave the cooling rack or baking sheet uncovered overnight. You don’t want to cover it or put in an airtight container because you want the slices to be exposed to air. 

In the morning, the bread will be stale and perfect for French toast. 

French toast that was made in the oven.

How To Make Bread Stale In Oven

You don’t have to wait the next day for stale bread! If you forgot to leave your bread out overnight and need a fast way to make your bread stale, then try the oven method.

Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. You want all of the bread’s surface area to bake evenly. Bake them for roughly 10-15 minutes. If you are using thick slices of bread, then this baking process might take up to 20 minutes. 

You will know when the slices are done baking. The slices should feel dry and slightly firm to the touch.

Afterward, allow the slices to cool completely on a wire rack before using them to make French toast. 

homemade bread on a red tea towel. It is being left out to become stale.

How To Make Bread Stale Fast For French Toast

If you are in a rush and cannot wait for your day-old bread to become stale overnight, nor can you wait for your oven to preheat, then you can make bread “stale” fast for French toast in the toaster.

Lightly toast the slice of bread for three to five minutes until the slices are dry and slightly crispy. Be careful not to toast them too much! You do not want the slices to be golden brown. You also do not want an overly crispy exterior. If they are too toasted, then they won’t soak up the French toast batter.  

After the slices of bread have been lightly toasted, allow them to cool down on a wire rack completely before soaking them in the egg mixture. 

Toasting the bread will not result in the same stale bread that happens when you leave slices out overnight. However, it will result in better French toast than using fresh bread.

brioche bread being drizzled with maple syrup

What Bread is Best For French Toast?

Traditionally, any classic French toast recipe is made using any type of bread that has gone stale or slightly dried out. This often includes leftover breads such as:

  • White Bread: In many regions around the world, white bread such as sandwich bread is commonly used for French toast. 
  • Brioche Bread: High in fat content, brioche bread is a great choice for French toast. It is buttery and sweet and compliments the dish.
  • Challah Bread: This is an enriched bread that is buttery and has a ton of eggs. I’ve made sourdough challah and turned it into French toast. It was one of the best I’ve ever had!
  • Baguette: This is a common French bread that is used to make French toast in France. Baguettes have a chewy texture and a slightly crispy crust, which adds a unique texture to the dish. 

Although not traditional, you can try making French toast with sourdough bread, italian bread, or cinnamon raisin bread.

Bread Thickness

For the best French toast, use thick bread that is between one to two inches thick. The thickness of your bread will allow for maximum absorption of the egg custard. This egg-soaked bread results in a rich and flavorful final dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Bread Become Stale?

Bread becomes stale when it is exposed to airflow. It goes through a process called “retrogradation,” which involves changes in the start molecules of the bread.

What Is The Difference Between Fresh Bread And Stale Bread?

Stale bread is drier and firmer than fresh bread. It has lost most of its moisture content. 

How Can You Tell If Bread Is Stale?

You can tell if bread is stale by bending it. Stale bread is not as flexible as fresh bread. The next step in determining if bread is stale is by tasting it.

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Recipe – “How To Make Bread Stale For French Toast”

French toast on a plate
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How To Make Bread Stale For French Toast

How to make bread stale for French toast. The BEST French toast is made with stale bread! Learn how to Turn your fresh bread into stale bread
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time5 minutes
Resting Time10 hours
Total Time10 hours 10 minutes
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: american, bread, breakfast, easy, french toast
Yield: 1 French Toast
Author: Xena Kai
Cost: $1

Materials

  • 5 Slices Bread

Instructions

Overnight Method

  • Place the slices of bread on a wire rack. Let sit on the counter uncovered overnight.

Oven Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  • Lay the slices of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet
  • Bake in the oven in the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Toaster Method

  • Lightly toast the slice of bread for three to five minutes.

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