Breakfast is underrated. And when it comes to pairing beer with food, well, it’s all too often overlooked. Skip the bloody mary or mimosa at next Sunday’s brunch and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about..
This last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming craving for french toast. I’ve been meaning to make the Sunday Mornin’ Haystack French Toast from The Best of American Beer & Food by Lucy Saunders, so that’s exactly what happened. This recipe is based entirely on hers, with a couple of minor tweaks (I’m not the most creative before coffee…)
- 12 ounces bottle-conditioned wheat ale (I used a 22 ounce bottle of Ommegang Witte)
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk + a fair splash of Half & Half
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking spice (I use this instead of cinnamon because the allspice & ginger go well with the Witte)
- 6 thicker slices of a white bread (challah is my favorite for french toast, but this recipe works better with a fresh baked white bread; stay away from the thing sliced mass produced stuff)
- Maple syrup
- Garnish – orange slices (even better when caramelized), bananas, blueberries, powdered sugar, etc. I’m a fan of supreming orange slices because it compliments most wheat beers quite well.
- Allow the beer to sit out overnight at room temperature so that the yeast settles at the bottom of the bottle. Carefully pour all but the last 3 ounces of the beer into a glass or two. What remains in the bottle should be yeasty & opaque.
- Combine the eggs, yeasty ale, milks, baking spice, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Whisk until well blended and aerated with lots of bubbles.
- Place bread slices in a large pan with a deep rim; cover with the egg mixture.
- Turn over the bread to coat evenly and allow to soak until almost all of the egg mixture is absorbed.
- Set oven to “warm” or the lowest heat setting.
- Prepare a greased griddle or large skillet with a pat of butter (or a few sprays of oil) and place over medium heat.
- Cook until both sides are golden brown.
- Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven to keep warm while preparing the remaining pieces of bread.
- Place the french toast on a plate, top with maple syrup, and your choice of fruit and/or powdered sugar.
- Serve with a Belgian Wheat Beer or an American Pale Wheat Ale, something that’s citrus forward and unfiltered.