- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup (132 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 ounces day old white bread, cubed* (about 8 cups)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk (nonfat, 2%, whole, or almond all work well)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the melted butter, and gently stir to combine.
Evenly distribute the bread cubes over the brown sugar mixture.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk until well blended. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread. Gently press down on the bread or turn the pieces so they are all at least lightly moistened.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, place the casserole on the counter while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the casserole is set in the middle and golden brown on top.
Serve warm with a side of fruit, bacon, sausage, etc.
*Bread options: Pepperidge Farm classic white bread (not the thin slices) is a good option. Ten ounces of this variety is about 12 slices, including the crusts. Weight per slice does vary based on bread used, so I’ve provided several ways of measuring. For a gluten-free option, Udi’s white bread is excellent. The structure of white bread (whether gluten-free or regular) is sturdier than whole wheat varieties, which tend to become mushy in this type of recipe. Feel free to use another bread with which you’ve had French toast success, like French or challah.
Slightly stale or dried out bread works especially well. When using fresh bread, I like to toast and cool it first or simply leave the slices on the counter for several hours before assembling the casserole. You can also cube the bread several days in advance and store in an airtight container—or freeze leftover odds and ends until ready to use.
I like to cut the pieces into roughly one-inch cubes. There is no need to remove the crusts and end pieces of the loaf may be used. (I think the crusty pieces enhance the overall texture.)