Overnight French Toast Casserole

posted by Andrea | 03/6/2019

As many of you  know, I’ve been grinding my own grain for the last several months — with the intention of making all my own whole wheat bread products. 

Unfortunately, baking with freshly ground whole grain has been MUCH more challenging than I anticipated — especially when it comes to yeast breads. 

I’ve been successfully making 100% whole grain pancakes, waffles, corn bread, banana bread, apple cake, pumpkin muffins, and even brownies… but yeast breads are still giving me SO MUCH trouble! 

I’ve had a few moderately successful loaves so far, but even the loaves that taste amazing fresh out of the oven are often crumbly, tough, and dense the next day.

At least they look pretty though! πŸ™‚

Since I can’t handle wasting food (even not-so-amazing food) I cut up any bread we don’t eat within the first 2-3 days and put these bit size pieces in gallon-size bags in the freezer. 

I use these bread chunks to make croutons, bread crumbs, and this yummy recipe for Whole Grain Overnight French Toast Casserole.

So far, we’ve gobbled it up every time… which means there’s a good chance your family with love this recipe too! 

If you’re looking for a great way to use up stale bread, buns, or rolls, try this french toast casserole! 

Recipe for Overnight French Toast Casserole

{print recipe}

makes a 9″ x 13″ pan (I only make a half-batch for our family)

INGREDIENTS: 

  •  several slices of stale bread, cut into bite-size chunks (at least 1 slice per person)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 6-8 eggs**
  • 1-2 cups milk, cream, or half-and-half**
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • powdered sugar, butter, syrup (for serving)

**NOTE: If there is still lots of dry bread after you pour the egg mixture on, simply mix up more eggs and milk to pour over top — it is not an exact science! 

OPTIONAL CRUNCHY OAT TOPPING: 

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. cold butter 

DIRECTIONS (The night before): 

Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (I always use glass because eggs make a mess of my non-stick pans!) 

Arrange bread cubes in the pan (filling the pan about half full).

Sprinkle cinnamon (and any other spices or seasonings you’d like) over the bread cubes. 

In a medium size bowl, mix eggs, milk or cream, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over bread mixture. 

Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

DIRECTIONS (in the morning): 

Remove pan from fridge and let sit on the counter while oven preheats. The casserole might look a little “dry” but that’s because the bread has absorbed all the egg mixture. 

Preheat oven to 375ΒΊF. 

Make optional oat topping by mixing oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Then cut the butter in with a knife or fork until it forms a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle mixture over french toast.

Put pan in preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle is no longer soggy and the top is slightly crunchy. If the top gets too brown before the middle is set, cover loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking until middle is set. 

Dust with powdered sugar and serve with butter and syrup. 

 

I absolutely LOVE the crunchy topping combined with the very soft, chewy, egg-soaked bread… you’d never guess it was made from stale, dense, crumbly, not-so-great, homemade, whole grain bread! 

And I feel SO good knowing none of my bread-baking ingredients or efforts went to waste.

I will continue my tireless effort to find really good homemade whole grain bread (I’m giving myself a full year). In the mean time, we will continue to enjoy lots of French Toast Casseroles! 

NOTE: I also use bread chunks to make this hearty egg casserole (everyone loves that recipe too!) 

And here’s one of my very OLD recipes for Blueberry Stuffed French Toast Casserole — a little less healthy, but equally yummy!

What is your favorite way to use up stale bread?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

63Shares

Filed under: FoodWhole Grains

Leave a comment

19 comments

  1. Sonia

    03/19/2019

    Hello! Just wanted to let you know that this was a delicious way to use up Irish soda bread!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — thanks for sharing Sonia!

    [Reply]

  2. Tori

    03/08/2019

    Hey Andrea!

    That French Toast casserole looks delish.

    Question…does the bread HAVE to be stale?

    I totally want to make this for tomorrow’s breakfast.

    Blessings,
    Tori

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Tori!
    If the bread is too fresh, it will really absorb a lot more of the egg mixture and be very spongy and soggy, even after baking. So stale bread is best. However, if you don’t have any stale bread, just let several slices of bread sit out on the counter for the next hour or so, then make the casserole. It will be better than nothing, and you can still try out this recipe tonight!

    [Reply]

  3. Elizabeth

    03/07/2019

    have you ever tried Jim Lahey’s no work bread recipe? It makes making Yeast bread easy. It makes beautiful artisan loaves using the high heat of a Dutch oven. I learned about it in a cookbook I have but if you Google it it’s online. It is really really easy

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no — does he make whole grain breads? that’s my issue right now — the recipes don’t convert easily to using whole grains.
    I have made some artisan breads in Dutch ovens, but the kids don’t like the crunch crust πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  4. Natalia

    03/06/2019

    This looks delicious! I’ll give it a try!

    I used to make bread pudding (with apples or cottage cheese and egg mixture).Haven’t made it in a long, long time!! Probably because I don’t have much leftover bread lately.
    I also remember my mom slightly frying the “fresh” bread croutons and pouring eggs all over. There was much more bread than egg, but freshened up the bread and gave it a great taste and texture. Excellent as a side dish along with other breakfast foods. Oh, and we almost always had hot tea with it.
    Thanks for stirring up my memories!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I never thought to add cottage cheese to our egg mixture for this casserole — even though I ALWAYS add cottage cheese to our scrambled eggs! I’m planning to make this casserole tonight (for breakfast tomorrow) and I think I’ll add in some cottage cheese!

    Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  5. Clare

    03/06/2019

    This is a great idea. I love all your recipes. Please keep them coming!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Clara πŸ™‚ I have several more recipes ready to go for the next few weeks!!

    [Reply]

  6. Margaret

    03/06/2019

    I used to make whole-wheat bread with an “overnight sponge” method. The dough is partly mixed, and then left to rise overnight, then the rest of the flour is added. You may remember references to “setting a sponge” in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books–that’s what Ma is doing! My primary bread-baking days were pre-Internet, so I can’t point you in a specific direction, but some research might be profitable.
    Also, it does matter what kind of wheat berries you’re using. Do you know? Winter wheat or spring wheat?
    Also, if you’re baking more than a day’s worth, are you freezing loaves?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, that’s what I’ve been doing — letting most of the flour “sponge” or soak with the liquid over night.
    I do not know if I’m using winer or spring wheat — it’s white hard wheat, sometimes with a few other types thrown in for test purposes πŸ™‚

    The 2 “issues” for me are:
    (1) the vast majority of “whole wheat” bread recipes call for 25%-50% all-purpose flour along with the whole wheat flour but I ONLY want to use whole wheat
    (2) most recipes do not account for the fact that I’m grinding my own grain right on the spot. So my flour absorbs more water and is more “grainy” and “gritty”. It also does not have any “extras” added in or anything taken out like most store-bought flours do.

    I’ve been reading and researching daily since October, and trying all sorts of different tips and tricks. It’s definitely been a learning curve — fairly frustrating at times, but every time I have a mildly successful loaf of bread, I’m encouraged to keep going!
    Thanks so much for your tips!

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    Winter = hard, so you’re going right there. Have you tried sourdough? Some really annoying popups this morning

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh OK, that’s what I thought but wasn’t positive! I’ll have to look into the ads a bit more — thanks!

    [Reply]

  7. Marcy

    03/06/2019

    My mother taught me to make whole wheat bread using the “sponge ” method. Mix the liquid ingredients in your recipe with the yeast, sweetener, and enough of the whole wheat flour to create a thick batter. Cover this and let it rise for one hour, or until doubled. Stir it down, and add the remaining flour and the salt. It is important not to add salt to the “sponge”. Knead the dough, and place directly into the baking pans , rise until doubled, and bake. My favorite whole wheat bread recipe is the Copycat recipe for Great Harvest wheat bread on the Six Sisters Stuff website.I just use the above method to make it. I have never had an issue with dry loaves of bread.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve been using a sponge method lately — it does seem to work better!
    I’ll have to look up that recipe on Six Sisters Stuff — I’ve been to their site several times already!

    [Reply]

  8. Marcia

    03/06/2019

    Looks wonderful. Reminds me of making “bread pudding”

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s probably similar!

    [Reply]

  9. Diana

    03/06/2019

    That looks like a fantastic way to use up stale WW bread! I know the taste of dry, homemade, whole wheat bread and it’s hard to get past.

    My mother-in-law made a fresh loaf every day when her kids were middle age, and they pretty much ate the whole loaf each day so they didn’t have trouble. So there’s that option… πŸ™‚

    [Reply]