What Is a French Toast Casserole?

T. Carrier

A French toast casserole — also known as a poor knight’s casserole or an eggy bread casserole — consists of the food French toast presented as a baked dish. Conventional French toast has bread and an egg-based mixture as main ingredients, with other ingredients added to make the dish either sweet or salty. The French toast casserole increases the serving size of this hot dish. In order for the French toast to cover an entire baking pan, some alterations are made to the typical French toast recipe.

An egg-based mixture is the main ingredient of french toast casserole.
An egg-based mixture is the main ingredient of french toast casserole.

For one, bread cubes are often used in place of regular slices of bread, although slices may be cut and used as well. This enables the cook to make the base larger. The quantity of other ingredients is also increased so that the dish may serve more people. Perhaps the biggest difference rests in the baking time, which can run close to an hour for a French toast casserole.

Sourdough bread is sometimes used in French toast casserole.
Sourdough bread is sometimes used in French toast casserole.

In general, a casserole refers to a deep and large-sized baking dish. Any foods cooked in these containers may also bear the name of casserole. A majority of casseroles contain meat and vegetables, so French toast casserole differs from other types of casserole in this regard.

French toast is a unique take on toasted bread. It consists of bread that is covered or dipped in a liquid-like mixture. Ingredients such as milk, sugar, cinnamon, and other spices often comprise this mixture. These additives are combined with the main fixture of the French toast topping: eggs. While conventional French toast is typically fried, the French toast casserole is baked.

Baking the French toast casserole involves first placing the bread base at the bottom of a baking pan before adding the mixture atop and in between the bread. This mixture may bake better if it is refrigerated for several hours before baking. The actual baking is a simple process where the casserole is placed in an oven and cooked until it takes on a golden color. Many individuals also add a further sweet drizzle following baking to bolster the flavor further, such as syrup or extra sugar and cinnamon.

Variations of the French toast casserole are found in many regions. Some areas use French toast as more of a main course than a breakfast food or a dessert. In these regions, the casserole would retain its bread and egg base, but sweeter additives might be replaced with food fare like mayonnaise, cheese, or onions. The sweet casseroles may also have alternatives, like using water in place of milk or placing fruit or jam in between bread layers to create a stuffed French toast casserole. Bread types used for the base differ by region as well, and may range from white bread to sourdough bread.

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