Dec 2, 2021

Chai French Toast

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
This chai spiced French toast adds a twist to a classic breakfast recipe.

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First make the chai by boiling water with black tea, milk and spices to create the base of the custard mixture. The slices of bread are dredged in the custard mixture and pan-fried in a bit of butter until golden brown. The tea can be brewed ahead of time and stored, chilled in the refrigerator, until ready to use. While concentrated chai can be used as a shortcut, the flavor of homemade chai is much more special.

Chai French Toast

History of Chai 

History of Chai 

Chai comes from British colonization of India where Indians put their own spin on tea – combining steeped black tea and milk with warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and clove. “Chai” translates to “tea” so there is no need to put the word tea after it, saying “chai tea” is redundant. 

How to make Chai French Toast

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Tea – Black tea is always used to brew chai. Look for a variation of black tea with full-bodied flavor like Darjeeling or Assam.
  • Spices –  The masala or spices can differ in preparations of chai. There can be any combination of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorn and clove. The spices are typically used whole to create the most pure flavor in combination with the black tea.
  • Eggs – A combination of whole eggs and egg yolks are whisked into the chai mixture to create a custard the bread soaks in prior to  cooking. 
  • Milk – Whole milk is typically used to make chai. Because it is slightly watered down I recommend using whole milk in this recipe.
  • Bread –  In this recipe I use a thick-cut white bread though an eggy bread like brioche or challah also work well. Day old bread that is a little stale is best for French toast. This helps the bread hold up to the egg-milk mixture a bit more. You don’t want to over soak the bread. 
Chai French Toast Recipe

How to Make Chai French Toast

For the chai:

  1. Heat the spices and tea. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat and add the cinnamon cardamom, ginger, peppercorns and cloves, simmering for 2 minutes. Add the tea bags, milk and sugar, stirring to combine. Remove from heat then cover the pot and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain chai. Strain the tea into a large mixing bowl, discarding spices and tea bags. Let cool completely to room temperature.

For the French toast:

  1. Whisk the egg mixture. In the large bowl whisk in the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract into the chai.
  2. Melt butter. Heat a large cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and allow to melt.
  3. Add bread to egg mixture. Working with one slice of bread at a time, soak the bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.
  4. Cook the French toast. Add two slices of the bread and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of butter and repeat with the remaining slices of bread.
  5. Serve. Top with whipped cream or maple syrup and serve immediately.
Chai French Toast

Chai French Toast Variations

Overnight chai french toast 

To make an overnight french toast bake, use one loaf of bread. Tear apart the slices of bread and add to a baking dish. In a bowl whisk together the Chai custard mixture then pour over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then bake at 350ºF until golden brown on top. This casserole-style version will be more similar to a bread pudding and is perfect for serving a crowd. 

Toppings 

I like to top my French toast with homemade whipped cream and maple syrup though you can also garnish with a bit of powdered sugar. To make your own whipped cream, beat 1 cup of  heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar at medium speed until the cream forms stiff peaks. Try adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract for additional flavor in the recipe. 

How to Keep French Toast Warm

If making many slices of French toast, preheat the oven to 200°F and arrange slices of cooked French toast on a baking sheet covered loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm while the rest are cooked. This method works well when feeding a crowd.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out these:

Chai French Toast

Chai French Toast Recipe
Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the chai:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamom pods, smashed
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, halved
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 6 bags black tea
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the French toast:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 slices thick-cut white bread
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Instructions:

For the chai:

  • In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat and add the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, peppercorns and cloves, simmering for 2 minutes. Add the tea bags, milk and sugar, stirring to combine. Remove from heat then cover the pot and let it steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain tea into a large mixing bowl, discarding spices and tea bags. Let cool completely to room temperature.

For the French toast:

  • In the large bowl whisk in the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract into the chai.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and allow to melt.
  • Working with one slice of bread at a time, soak the bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides.
  • Add two slices of the bread and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of butter and repeat with the remaining slices of bread.
  • Top with whipped cream or maple syrup and serve immediately.

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