The second loaf of challah baked up beautifully. While still far from perfect, it had a great crust and delicious and moist crumb. We shared about half of it with family, but then hoarded the rest away in order to make french toast with it this morning.
The basis for this recipe for french toast is the first recipe I ever wrote down while watching Thirty Minute Meals (caution - link has sound) with Rachel Ray - almost 6 years ago (before she took over the world) - and it is the bomb. But I've never used challah bread for french toast before today, and now it is the atom bomb of french toast. Serve with real maple syrup, preferably made by a friend's family, and you might as well wipe yourself off the face of the map. Crazy. Good.
(adapted from Thirty Minute Meals)
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
6-8 slices thick (at least 1" thick) french or challah bread
Butter for pan
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, milk, and nutmeg. Start soaking several slices of bread in the mixture, flip over after a few minutes to soak other side. Heat large non-stick skillet/griddle to medium heat. When the pan is heated, melt a bit of butter in it, then add several pieces of soaked bread to it - only as many as can fit comfortably in the pan, don't crowd it. While these are cooking, start soaking remaining slices in the egg mixture. Depending on your stovetop's heat output, each slice should be flipped over after about 3 minutes, when the cooked side is golden brown. The other side usually takes a little bit less time, maybe about 2 minutes. Warning - I've never actually timed how long this takes. Maybe it was 4 minutes and 3 minutes? Just keep an eye on it. If the toast darkens after only a minute, turn down your heat a bit, or else you will have beautiful-looking french toast, but it will be nasty and gooey on the inside - blech. I like to preheat my oven to 300 degrees, set a wire rack on a cookie sheet, and have it ready in the warmed oven in order to put my finished slices of french toast on while I cook the whole batch of toast. The finished slices don't get soggy or cold, and everything can be served together at the same time. And if, by chance, the center of the french toast didn't get completely done in the pan, the heat from the oven will finish the cooking process.