Sourdough French Toast with Maple and Cinnamon

French toast enjoys a wide and varied history,  and food history enthusiasts will find that the combination of beaten egg, day-old bread and good seasonings pop up in the traditional cooking of peoples across the globe, from Germany to Brazil, and is first referenced in Apicius – a collection of Roman recipes first recorded in the late 4th century.  And why not? It’s a perfect use for day-old bread, where its very staleness equates to an improved result.

For us, sourdough French Toast is a compromise foods in many ways.  We don’t often consume sweeteners, natural or otherwise; after all, sweeteners were rarely used among populations thriving on their native, traditional diets outside of celebratory ritual1, but, from time to time, we indulge – and this recipe is no exception.  It’s wickedly indulgent – combining the richness of eggs and cream with the sweetness of maple syrup; moreover it’s a good source of manganese2 – a nutrient that plays a critical role in many biological functions but is particularly important in bone formation, healing and collagen formation.  Maple syrup, particularly the darker and cloudier syrups, offer some antioxidant activity3. That said, it is still a concentrated sweetener, natural as it may be, and should be used with a wise and thrifty hand.

sourdough french toast: the recipe

By Jenny Published: April 27, 2010

  • Yield: about six to eight servings
  • Prep: about 20 to 25 min

This version of french toast makes use of sourdough bread with its wonderful and rich tartness, pairing it against a sweetness provided by maple syrup. I find that grade B maple syrup offers a more complex flavor for a better price than grade A maple syrup, and recommend it in this and in other recipes (mmm … sprouted spelt shortbread.) Of course, one could omit maple syrup entirely from this recipe and serve it unsweetened, perhaps paired only with fruit and fresh cream for an equally charming breakfast.


  • 6 to 8 large slices wholegrain sourdough bread (about 1/2-inch thick), preferably day-old or stale)
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • up to 2 tbsp grade b maple syrup (if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash unrefined sea salt
  • clarified butter or ghee (for frying)


  1. Line a baking dish with six to eight slices whole grain sourdough bread cut 1/2-inch thick.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk grade beaten eggs, whole milk and maple syrup together with cinnamon, vanilla extract and a dash unrefined sea salt until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour the seasoned and sweeten egg mixture over the sliced sourdough bread and allow the slices to soak for about five to ten minutes.
  4. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of the clarified butter in a skillet over a medium-high flame until it melts, then reduce the heat to medium before gently adding soaked bread into the hot fat.
  5. Gently fry the bread on one side for about two minutes, or until it browns, then flip it to fry the other side for two minutes or so.
  6. Plate and serve hot with nuts, fruit, maple syrup, honey, yogurt or cream as desired.

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What people are saying

  1. Jenny says

    Ida –

    French Toast, like many dishes, is wide and varied.  I wouldn’t say that’s “weird” at all – it’s the norm for many practical dishes like this one.  Sure in Spain, you might know it as Torrijas.  In France, you might call it Pain Perdu.  In Belgium, you’d call it Verloren Brood.  In Brazil, its name is Rabanada.  I could go on and on. 90% of Nourished Kitchen’s readers come from the US and would first recognize it as “French Toast.”  Its a dish without a nationaiity as much as many nations would lay claim to it.

    – Jenny

    • says

      This oatmeal is very very good!! I made it again this monring for Kenley and I. She LOVED it! But instead of Maple Syrup I did some Brown Sugar. I liked it a lot better this way. The almond milk is not by the other milk. It isn’t refrigerated. I found it in the organic section of the store .if you don’t have an organic section it might be in the baking section? Or ask someone? Every time I go to the store I have to ask them like a million questions about where stuff is still getting use to the new grocery store (I had the Ankeny ones memorized haha). Oh and over Easter Weekend I purchased a Pizza and Calzone cookbook that teaches you how to make the dough, sauces, etc .I can’t wait to try and make homemade pizza crust! Never done that before I will try that recipe too! And BBQ sauce sounds good, I love BBQ Pizza, nice adjustment!

  2. says

    Hi There

    Your website is amazing so thank you so much. I am just wondering why you suggest in some recipes to use clarified butter or rendered lard instead of normal butter or animal fat. What are the advantages of rendered lard or clarified butter.

    Thank you

  3. Linda says

    I enjoyed a simplified version of this dish this morning, no nuts or bannanas. It is a favorite of mine and really hits the spot. I enjoy the contrast between the sour of the sourdough bread the sweet of the other ingredients. I also find substituting healthier ingredients like Coconut Milk for cows milk makes it even sweeter and healthier!

  4. Sarah says

    LOVE sourdough “french toast.” Its my favorite combo, so delicious! Actually the only bread my year old will eat is sourdough so its works out nicely for this breakfast. We are about to make this for our Saturday Family Breakfast and everyone is looking forward to it.

  5. Jeanmarie says

    We have French toast every week or two, sometimes for dinner/dessert in one! I had largely given up bread for years until David converted me to sourdough bread. I haven’t learned to make it yet but our local bakery makes one, “Fort Bragg sourdough,” that is the best I’ve ever tasted. I just polished off three slices thick with butter for lunch (along with a salad and liver).

    In my version of French toast, we use cream instead of milk, and more eggs. I’m always trying to cram more eggs into recipes, since at any given time I’m likely to have 3-6 dozen on hand from our hens. We like a couple of dashes of sea salt to balance out the sweet. We find that a pyrex pie plate is perfect for mixing up the eggs and letting the bread really soak. David taught me to mash the bread into the egg mixture with a fork to make sure it soaks through. Is that why stale bread works best, it absorbs the liquid more readily? I concur about Grade B maple syrup, that’s all we buy. I think we’re having French toast tomorrow!

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