- 8 slices or 1/2 loaf good-quality bread
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 2 tablespoons butter, or probably more
- Put a skillet, over medium-low heat while preparing the egg mixture for soaking the bread.
- Heat the oven to 200 F.
- If the bread is whole, cut it into 8 slices no more than 1 inch thick.
- Crack the eggs and open them into a wide, bowl large enough to hold a few slices of the bread.
- Add the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in a small pinch of salt and the sugar and vanilla.
- Put 2 or 3 slices of bread in the bowl.
- Use a fork to turn the slices, pressing on the crusts if needed to help them soak up the liquid.
- Sprinkle a couple drops of water into the pan; if the drops skid across the surface before evaporating, it's hot enough.
- If not, turn up the heat a bit.
- Put a pat of the butter in the skillet.
- When it stops foaming, lift a piece of bread from the egg mixture and let it drip off, then transfer it to the pan.
- Repeat soaking and transferring the bread until the skillet is comfortably full.
- Cook each piece until nicely browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary to keep the bread from burning.
- Move the slices around in the pan to help them cook evenly.
- When the bottom turns golden brown, turn and cook on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve right from the pan and keep cooking the remaining batches.