Buttermilk for French Toast: A Culinary Delight

Introduction to Buttermilk French Toast

Buttermilk French Toast, a dish beloved across generations and cultures, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Originally known as pain perdu or “lost bread” in France, this dish was a practical solution to revitalize stale bread. Over the centuries, French toast has evolved, embracing diverse culinary traditions and ingredients.

The introduction of buttermilk as a key ingredient in French toast is a relatively recent innovation that has transformed the dish’s texture and flavor. Buttermilk, with its slightly tangy and rich profile, adds a unique dimension to the classic recipe. Unlike regular milk, buttermilk imparts a subtle tartness, enhancing the overall taste and creating a more complex flavor profile. This delightful twist not only honors the traditional essence of French toast but also elevates it to a gourmet level, making it a favorite in modern brunch menus and home kitchens alike.

For a detailed recipe using buttermilk, check out Epicurious’ Buttermilk French Toast Recipe.

Benefits of Using Buttermilk

Buttermilk is not just a flavorful addition to French toast; it also brings several nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamins and minerals, buttermilk is lower in fat compared to regular milk, making it a healthier option for those mindful of their dietary intake. It contains probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health and digestion.

From a culinary perspective, the use of buttermilk in French toast significantly enhances both flavor and texture. The acidity in buttermilk tenderizes the bread, allowing it to absorb the mixture more effectively, resulting in a softer, more custard-like interior. This contrasts beautifully with the crispy, golden exterior achieved when the toast is cooked. The tangy flavor of buttermilk also adds depth and complexity, balancing the sweetness of traditional toppings like maple syrup or powdered sugar. These attributes make buttermilk an excellent choice for creating a French toast that is both delicious and satisfying.

Recipe and Preparation

Choosing the Right Bread

The choice of bread is a critical factor in creating the perfect French toast. Ideal bread types are those that are dense and sturdy enough to absorb the buttermilk mixture without falling apart. Challah and Brioche are top choices due to their rich, buttery texture and ability to hold their shape. These breads have a soft crumb that soaks up the liquid beautifully, resulting in a moist interior after cooking.

Sourdough and Texas toast are also excellent options. Sourdough brings a delightful tanginess that complements the buttermilk, while Texas toast, with its thick slices, provides a hearty base for the custard mixture. Avoid using very fresh or soft bread as it can become too soggy. Day-old bread is preferable as it has slightly dried out, making it more absorbent and less likely to disintegrate when soaked.

For more insights into choosing the right bread, visit Jamieson Diaries’ Buttermilk French Toast.

buttermilk for french toast

Buttermilk French Toast Recipe


  • 1 loaf of Challah or Brioche bread, sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
  • 1 ½ cups of well-shaken buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Butter for cooking
  • Maple syrup and powdered sugar for serving

Preparation Guide:

  1. Prep the Bread: Begin by slicing your chosen bread into 1-inch thick pieces. This thickness is ideal for absorbing the buttermilk mixture without becoming too soggy.
  2. Make the Custard Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and salt until well combined.
  3. Soak the Bread: Dip each bread slice into the buttermilk mixture, allowing it to soak for about 30 seconds on each side. Ensure the bread is well-coated but not overly saturated.
  4. Cook the French Toast: Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and melt a small amount of butter. Place the soaked bread slices on the skillet and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and slightly crispy.
  5. Serve: Serve the French toast warm with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Cooking Techniques and Tips for Buttermilk French Toast

Skillet vs. Griddle Cooking:

  • A skillet is ideal for cooking a few slices of French toast at a time, offering better control over the heat and ensuring even cooking. It’s perfect for small batches.
  • A griddle allows for cooking multiple slices simultaneously, making it a better choice for serving a larger group. Ensure even heat distribution across the griddle for consistent cooking.

Achieving the Perfect Texture and Color:

  • Medium Heat: Cook the French toast over medium heat to ensure the inside cooks thoroughly without burning the exterior. This temperature allows the bread to develop a crispy exterior while maintaining a soft, custard-like interior.
  • Butter: Use butter for cooking, as it adds flavor and helps achieve a golden-brown color. Be mindful of the butter’s heat; if it burns, it can impart a bitter taste.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Give each piece of bread enough space in the pan or on the griddle. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and steaming instead of frying.
  • Timing: Pay attention to cooking time. Each side should take about 3-4 minutes to cook. Look for a golden-brown color as a sign that it’s time to flip the bread.

French Toast : Variations and Serving Suggestions

Creative Variations

French toast is a versatile dish that lends itself to a variety of creative twists. Adding flavors to the buttermilk mixture can elevate the dish to new culinary heights. A teaspoon of vanilla extract can impart a sweet, aromatic flavor, while a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg adds warmth and spice. For a citrusy zest, consider grating some orange or lemon peel into the mix.

For those looking to experiment beyond traditional buttermilk, there are several alternatives. Almond milk or coconut milk can be used for a dairy-free version, adding their own subtle flavors. To mimic the tanginess of buttermilk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes. This homemade buttermilk alternative works wonderfully in French toast, providing a similar texture and taste to the original recipe. These variations allow for personalization and can cater to different dietary needs or flavor preferences.

Serving and Topping Ideas

The beauty of French toast lies in its versatility, especially when it comes to toppings and presentation. Classic maple syrup is a timeless choice, offering a sweet and rich flavor. For a more indulgent experience, consider caramel or chocolate syrup. To add freshness and a burst of color, top your French toast with a variety of fruits like sliced strawberries, blueberries, or banana slices. A dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar can add a delightful finishing touch.

For a healthier twist, serve with a side of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey, or sprinkle with chia seeds or flaxseeds for added nutrition.

When it comes to presentation, layering the French toast with toppings creates an appealing and appetizing look. Arrange the toast on a plate in a stack or fan them out slightly. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or a light dusting of cinnamon for a visually stunning and delicious breakfast or brunch dish.

Nutritional Information and Dietary Considerations

Health and Nutritional Aspects of Buttermilk French Toast

French toast, particularly when made with buttermilk, can be a delightful treat, but it’s important to be mindful of its nutritional aspects. A typical serving of buttermilk French toast can range in caloric content, primarily depending on the bread used, the amount of buttermilk and eggs in the soak, and the toppings chosen. On average, a serving can contain anywhere from 200 to 400 calories, with additional calories from syrups and toppings.

For those with specific dietary needs, there are adaptations to make buttermilk French toast more accommodating. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free bread, which is readily available in most supermarkets. To cater to a dairy-free diet, substitute buttermilk with almond, soy, or coconut milk mixed with a little lemon juice or vinegar to replicate the tanginess of buttermilk. These adaptations allow everyone to enjoy French toast while adhering to their dietary restrictions or preferences.

Buttermilk French Toast


Can buttermilk be substituted in French toast?

Yes, buttermilk can be substituted in French toast, and it’s a fantastic way to add a unique flavor and texture. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily create a substitute by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of regular milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. This mixture won’t be as thick as traditional buttermilk, but it will provide a similar tangy flavor. Additionally, dairy-free alternatives like almond or soy milk mixed with an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) can also be used for those avoiding dairy.

Tips for making French toast not soggy.

To prevent your French toast from becoming soggy, consider the following tips:

  • Use thick, dense bread like Challah or Brioche, and if possible, use day-old bread as it absorbs the egg mixture better without becoming too mushy.
  • Don’t over-soak the bread. Dip each slice in the buttermilk mixture just long enough to coat it, letting excess liquid drip off.
  • Cook the French toast at a medium heat. High heat can burn the exterior before the inside is done, while low heat can cause the bread to become too soggy.
  • Ensure your cooking pan or griddle is properly heated before adding the bread. A well-heated surface helps in cooking the exterior quickly, sealing in the moisture without making the bread soggy.

Freezing and reheating instructions.

French toast can be frozen and reheated, making it a convenient make-ahead meal. To freeze, cool the cooked French toast and then place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be stored for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place the frozen French toast in a toaster or an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) until warmed through and crispy. This usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Avoid microwaving as it can make the toast soggy.


Buttermilk French toast is a delightful twist on a classic breakfast dish. Its rich flavor and creamy texture make it a favorite for brunches and special occasions. Experiment with different bread types and toppings to find your perfect combination.

For more breakfast ideas, explore our Anabolic French Toast for a fitness-friendly option or try our unique French Toast Pancakes for a delightful twist on classic breakfast favorites.

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