Amazing what you can make with plain bread! It’s like french toast, a muffin and pull apart bread had a baby……..A great make-ahead to feed an army. Also a superb morning-after recovery food. Highly recommend drowning in maple syrup for optimal experience.
“These are great food-on-the-go!”
These little morsels came about when I was having a bunch of friends over for brunch. I am insanely obsessed with french toast (as regular readers will know from the number of french toast creations I’ve posted!). But you can’t really make it for more than 4 people at a time because you need to stand at the stove making batch after batch.
A great option to make french toast for a crowd is french toast casserole, where you layer pieces of bread and egg mixture in a casserole dish and bake it up, then spoon it out like a casserole. I’ve made them in the past, but to be honest, I find that the centre of the bake is a little too eggy – that is, the proportion of crunch to soft/moist is too low. (Though I am thinking of making a version that dials up the crunch factor on top to get around this).
So rather than making one big casserole, I decided to make individual french toast muffins. And….well…..they worked! It was really handy being able to make 2 muffin trays (24) at the same time. And even better, I made most of it the night before then just assembled it in the morning.
“This is a great way to use up stale bread. And you can prepare ahead the night before!”
I want to be able to tell you that you can assemble them in the muffin tin the night before, but I don’t recommend it because the egg mixture in the bread cubes at the top of the muffins sinks to the bottom of the muffin tin so the bread cubes on top are not as moist as the ones at the bottom. So I recommend making up the bread-egg mixture the night before, as well as the bacon, then just spooning it into the muffin tin the next morning. It really doesn’t take that long!
Time to expose my embarrassing pudgy Baby-Hands again. But for good cause – so you can see that it’s like mini pull-apart breads! I love that you can just pick bits off and eat it with your hands. It’s great food-on-the-go, I just pop a couple in a paper bag and snack on them like muffins.
Having said that though, there is no denying that maple syrup catapults these into another universe. Come on, you know bacon and maple syrup is a match made in heaven! Can you imagine it? Each bite is crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside with little salty bursts of bacon mixed with the warmth and sweetness of maple syrup. Bring it on.
- 5 cups of bread , cut into 2cm/1" cubes (fresh or stale - see notes 1 and 2)
- 3 rashers bacon , diced
- Oil spray
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk (low or full fat)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 pinches salt
- Maple syrup (optional)
Combine the Egg Mixture ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a fork until combined.
Add bread cubes and mix well to each piece of bread is well coated with the Egg Mixture.
If using fresh bread, set aside for 10 to 30 minutes in the fridge. If using stale bread, set aside for 20 minutes to overnight. If you're in a rush, use your hands to gently squeeze the cubes to help them absorb the egg mixture faster.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Spray a medium fry pan with oil spray and heat on high heat. Add the bacon and cook until just starting to brown. Don't cook until it is very brown because otherwise it will overcook in the oven. Remove bacon from fry pan and drain on absorbent paper.
Spray 6 holes in a muffin tin.
Mix the bread-egg mixture to evenly disperse the egg mixture that will have settled at the bottom of the bowl.
Divide 1/3 of the bread-egg mixture between the 6 muffin cups.
Sprinkle with half the bacon, then press the mixture down with medium pressure using the back of a spoon.
Top with the remaining bread mixture. Use your fingers to lightly compress them. Each muffin should be slightly mounded even after lightly compressing them. The bread cubes on top will puff back up when you bake it.
Sprinkle with remaining bacon.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Let rest for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.
Serve with maple syrup, if using.
1. This recipe works equally well with fresh or stale bread. If using fresh bread, it is best to bake within 30 minutes of combined the egg mixture with the bread, otherwise I find it gets too soggy. If using stale bread you can make ahead the night before and leave it overnight in the fridge.
2. You can also make this with pre sliced sandwich bread rather than a block. The bread cubes will just be smaller.
3. To make ahead, make the bread-egg mixture and bacon the night before (keep them separate). Then assemble in the morning and bake.
4. These can be frozen after baking. Thaw, then bake in the oven to crisp the outside again (about 5 minutes at 180C/350F). If you microwave it, they are soggy on the outside which is not as nice.
5. Nutrition excludes maple syrup. Because if I included the amount of maple syrup I use, I think the Nutrition calculator would explode.