The Game-Changing Ingredient Swap For French Toast

French toast is an inherently simple recipe. The most basic form of it consists of sliced bread, milk, eggs, and vanilla. You can easily make the breakfast dish with just those four ingredients and it will taste delicious. But most people like to enjoy French toast with at least a drizzle of maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar.

The great thing about French toast is that it's a blank slate. It's easy to build layers of flavor and customize it to your liking. Some French toast recipes are stuffed full of Nutella while others are topped with heaps of fruit and whipped cream — and many look more like a dessert. If you want to take your French toast to the next level, adding sugary ingredients is always a good option. 

But if you don't have much of a sweet tooth, would rather keep it simple, or just want the best possible base to work with, consider making this game-changing swap the next time you make French toast.

Upgrade the bread and vanilla

To improve your French toast, all you really need to do is use better quality ingredients, specifically when it comes to the bread and the vanilla, recipe developer Eric Ngo revealed to Tasting Table. While it is possible to make tasty French toast with regular sandwich bread, it can turn out soggy and limp, especially if it's on the thin side. That's why Ngo recommends shokupan, or Japanese milk bread. As Just One Cookbook explains, this variety is a lot thicker and fluffier than sandwich breads, allowing it to soak up more custard and hold its shape well throughout the cooking process.

If your French toast has the best possible texture, you'll want to pair it with the best possible flavor. That's why using vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract is key. Ngo explains that vanilla beans pack more of a punch than vanilla extract, meaning a lot more vanilla will come through in your French toast. Per Ngo's instructions, half a vanilla bean pod substitutes for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds into your milk and eggs mixture, and your tastebuds will thank you.