Leftover Focaccia Is The Perfect Upgrade For French Toast

If asked to picture a plate of French toast, chances are you may imagine a stack of rectangular slices of white bread, a staple of the dish. It's also possible you may have seen French toast made with other soft breads, like brioche or challah. But have you ever tried making it with focaccia?

When it comes to bread, focaccia is one of the softest and tastiest options there is, and since bread is the primary ingredient in French toast, having an ingredient that is high-quality is the easiest way to level up your breakfast. (As a bonus, this Italian-French-American culinary mashup harkens back to the unexpected ancient origins of French toast.) 

The other reason this type of bread works so well is that a defining factor of focaccia is its enormous holes, which form as the bread rises. When cut into thick slices for French toast, the focaccia pockets then fill with melted butter and maple syrup, making every bite all the more delicious.

How to transform focaccia into French toast

One of the great things about French toast is that it can take a food that is no longer at its prime — i.e. stale bread — and transform it into something totally craveable. And while you can certainly buy or bake a fresh loaf of focaccia to make French toast, it's also a nice idea to keep in your back pocket for times when you have leftover bread from other kitchen projects.

To make French toast with focaccia, gather the usual ingredients that you would need for a classic French toast recipe, such as eggs, milk, and cinnamon, as well as the bread. The main thing to pay attention to here is how you slice your bread. Because of the large holes in focaccia, you will want to cut it into extra thick slices. This allows the custardy batter to soak into the bread and for pools of your favorite toppings to absorb, rather than seeping out the other side.

Italian inspiration for your sweet or savory focaccia French toast

Once you start making French toast with focaccia, you may also want to take inspiration from traditional Italian ingredients to experiment with other elements of the breakfast dish. Such as, skip the classically American combo of maple syrup with butter and smear on chocolate-hazelnut spread instead, or try a heap of ricotta with fresh fruit, citrus marmalade, or even balsamic vinegar. If you like the sweet Italian holiday bread known as panettone, make your focaccia French toast with a sprinkle of orange zest and a handful of raisins to get a similar effect.

If you are craving something less sweet or more substantial, you can also try making savory French toast. Substitute a plain loaf of focaccia for one flavored with rosemary, garlic, olives, or tomatoes, then top with grated Parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oi, pieces of pancetta, or a fried egg. For those who like things crunchy, you can add pistachios, pine nuts, or other toasted nuts atop your sweet or savory French toast for some additional texture.