Sunday, July 8, 2012

Buttermilk French Toast with Homemade Cinnamon - Raisin Bread for #SundaySupper

Sunday mornings were big breakfast "do's" at my house growing up. While the food wasn't overly extravagant and there were no multi-course brunches laid out by my mom like you read in storybooks, it was one day of the week where breakfast was hot, and a little richer than usual. Pancakes, crepes, waffles and the occasional omelette and buttermilk biscuit would come our way, provided that us kids helped by getting out and mixing ingredients while Mom and Dad dealt with the hot stuff.

One of the first things I remember my Mom teaching me how to do for myself involving the stove was a bona fide French toast breakfast. Other than scrambled eggs (which I was never fond of, unless packed with cheese and black pepper), the preparation of the eggy pan-fried bread was least likely to suffer with my exuberant stirring of batter or if I got too happy with the spatula playing "chef". French toast was always - always - on thick-cut cinnamon raisin bread from the grocery store, which for a storebought, mass processed loaf was (and is) surprisingly unlike typical "Wonder Bread". For one thing, the bread was not just "white with a hint of spice and occasional raisin" - no. This bread (which I would have linked to if it existed on the website!) was packed with raisins and the cinnamon was stong enough to be present without causing second-degree burns. Left out overnight, or the end crusts remaining in the freezer after the middle slices were gone, it was prime for soaking up egg and milk goodness.

These days we do still buy cinnamon raisin bread on occasion, but my sister (the #1 consumer) prefers whole wheat loaves so we pick a different brand. But the true favourite now is homemade. When I make raisin bread for Teaghan, French toast consumption in the mornings increases exponentially, and I've seen my mom grabbing a slice to two on the fly for a morning snack. Over time I've customized the bread recipe even more to pack in as much raisiny goodness as possible and maintain a "toaster friendly" crumb (and yes, a recipe is forthcoming), and is delicious enough on it's own with a dab of butter or peanut butter. Since my recipe is still more moist and tender than the packaged loaves, even after being frozen (we freeze all our bread), we found that we could achieve prime French toast-age by lightly toasting it first.

As for the buttermilk inclusion, the last time I made buttermilk biscuits, I added leftover buttermilk to the eggs instead of our standard 1% and was blown away by how well it worked. The tangy flavour was there, but not overpowering, and added a richness to the vanilla and cinnamon custard both soaked into the toast and as the "chef's treat" bits made from left overs (see the recipe below for more on that). It's important to mix the vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar together first before adding the milk and eggs, since the alcohol in the vanilla keeps the fine particles of spice in suspension instead of floating up to the surface. In terms of the sugar, sis likes just plain old dark brown best, but if you love maple or the rich molasses flavour of Demerara, use that. Of course, for calorie / sugar hawks out there, you could use stevia, but this is so far removed from "diet food" I don't know why you'd bother. I just wouldn't suggest anything too coarse, since then it won't dissolve.

Even though it's not a breakfast for the calorie, carb and fat watchers, it's still a wholesome concoction. Firstly, it uses whole eggs - the lecithin in the yolk keeps the cholesterol from solidifying in your bloodstream and provides carotenoids, essential fatty acids, the vitamins A, E, D, K, thiamin, B6, folate, panthothenic acid and B12, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc (amongst other things). The bread is both homemade and 100% wholegrain, without preservatives or "weird stuff", and the buttermilk has probiotics as well as that great flavour profile. For families with kids, it's a great way to celebrate #SundaySupper by getting the Kids in the Kitchen and teaching them a basic life skill. Who knows, the next Iron Chef might be right at your elbow!

Here are the rest of the delicious, kid-friendly #SundaySupper offerings from around the web (hosted this week by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic):

Start your day:
Healthy Snackers:
Main Squeeze:
Sweet Treats:

I'm also sending this to next week's edition of YeastSpotting at Wild Yeast and BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread (July '12).

Buttermilk French Toast with Homemade Cinnamon - Raisin Bread
Serves two (kiddo and parent, perhaps?)
4 thick slices whole grain cinnamon raisin bread (something like Sister's Sweet Cinnamon - Swirl Bread or my 12 - Grain Raisin Bread with Double - Cinnamon Swirl is ideal)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (or 2 tbsp low-fat plain yogurt + 3 tbsp 1% milk)
4 eggs
2 tbsp salted butter, for cooking
  1. On the lowest setting of your toaster, toast the slices of bread until just slightly "blonde" in colour and dry on the surface. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk together the vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar to evenly distribute the cinnamon.
  3. Add the buttermilk and eggs and whisk to combine.
  4. Place a large frying pan (we use non-stick but cast iron would be awesome) over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of the butter.
  5. Two slices at a time, dip the toasted bread into the egg mixture and allow them to soak about 30 seconds on each side.
  6. When the pan is hot, add the soaked slices and cook for 5 minutes per side.
  7. Repeat with remaining bread, egg mixture and butter.
  8. For a chef's treat (which was my favourite part growing up) pour the leftover egg mixture into the pan and cook until crispy on the bottom and set on the top like an omelette. Serve alongside the French toast (with Blueberry Butter or maple syrup, of course!).
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 639.3
Total Fat: 35.8 g
Cholesterol: 455.4 mg
Sodium: 292.7 mg
Total Carbs: 62.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4 g
Protein: 22.7 g


  1. This is one recipe that I can't wait to try! Loved that you shared this with us during #SundaySupper and I am so glad you are a big part of our Mission!

  2. Great tip on mixing in the vanilla, Sarah! Most people wouldn't think of it!

  3. I am so hungry reading your recipe! (Visiting you from #SS!)

  4. All I have to say is Yum! This french toast looks amazing.

  5. I adore french toast! I don't know why I've never been smart enough to use cinnamon raisin bread, but that is going to change now! Delish!

  6. French toast with cinnamon raisin bread is fantastic! And with homemade bread, the perfect lazy sunday brunch.

  7. A local bakery made the best cinnamon raisin bread and it was stellar in french toast. Unfortunately, they've gone out of business. You've inspired me to make my own version!

  8. Wow--this sound fantastic! I love the story of how it came to be also...that's what makes cooking with our family so much more than just about the actual food.

  9. Just curious, why salted butter instead of unsalted? I would think you'd want to go with the lower sodium option.

  10. I don't know what I'm more excited about: homemade cinnamon bread or French toast????

  11. This is pretty much my ideal breakfast. I love anything with buttermilk and pretty much any homemade bread, but especially Cinnamon-Raisin. mouth is watering.

    I hope you'll drop by and share these with BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread this month (!

  12. I've always thought that making french toast from a bread like cinnamon raisin bread is the absolute ultimate breakfast! And you did it with homemade bread, which is even more amazing.

  13. healthy simple & delish !! My kind of recipe ! family is a big fan of french toast and thsi looks like a great healthy variation. thanks for sharing ! Will be making this one :)

  14. Delicious! French Toast is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. The cinnamon raisin bread is revolutionary!

  15. One of the best french toast I ever had was made with cinnamon raisin bread. Now I have a great recipe to make it myself.

  16. yum this looks tasty! My kids are on a raisin kick right now so we will have to try thing out!

  17. Yum..homemade cinnamon raisin bread sounds amazing-and then to make it into french toast? YES!

  18. I never thought to make french toast with cinnamon raisin bread. My dad would love that idea! So what time's brunch? ;)

  19. This looks fabulous. Nothing like a great french toast in the morning. Or evening.

  20. My husband is crazy about buttermilk and I have never thought of doing french toast using it. I love this idea, thank you for sharing it with BYOB!

  21. My mom use to make something like this when I was growing up but she used store bought cinnamon bread I bet this is even better.

  22. Yay! Thanks so much for sharing this scrumptious breakie =)

  23. Using buttermilk in French toast is something I am definitely going to have to try. I can't wait to taste the difference.

  24. Hi, I'm dropping by via BYOB. This sounds divine. I love French Toast and it won't get any better with home made bread.

  25. Tired of a simple buttered French toast but this one is a great idea, a new taste to be served not just for breakfast but also with pasta. Yummy!

  26. This food looks so delicious and I will not actually feel like fasting. Excited to make one!


Thanks for the feedback!