I've gone and done it. I made Alton's French Toast for the first time in a good while. Found a loaf of Italian Bread for $.80 at the store and thought it would work. I have had trouble finding the challah or brioche in this area, but I usually get a loaf of French bread and use the whole thing with a double batch of the custard. I used a double batch of custard this morning with the Italian bread and had enough for all but one slice of bread. This is a fussy recipe so I don't make it much, but oh my is it good. We could really taste the honey in this batch. And the texture is unmatched. We like to serve this with maple syrup, but I think you could get by with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2003
1 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
4 tablespoons butter
In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.