I eat a lot of eggs and dairy, but not everyone does. Some people, in fact, eat neither, which (traditionally) would seem to put French toast out of their reach. But we live in a golden age of vegan substitutes, and while I’m sure a reasonable French toast could be made with Just Egg and the like, a humble tub of almond yoghurt makes absurdly good French toast.
This tip, which comes to us from Danielle Deavens of The Kitchn, surprised me. I had never had the recommended Silk Vanilla AlmondMilk Yogurt Alternative, or any alternative yoghurt for that matter, but it worked beautifully. When mixed with a little oat milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and pinch of salt, it transforms into a creamy French toast custard that gives doughnut characteristics to nearly any bread you dunk in it.
How to make the dairy-free, egg-free custard
With the exception of the yoghurt and salt, Deavens doesn’t specify any measurements, but recommends adding your milk of choice “little by little” until it coats the back of a spoon. For me, this translated to 2 tablespoons of Chobani Extra Creamy Oatmilk, a capful of rum that I had rinsed a vanilla extract bottle with, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. I whisked it all together, then proceeded to dunk several different breads.
One thing I learned immediately is that the dunk must be quick. The high moisture content in the yoghurt means the custard effectively steams the interior of the bread, making it pillowy soft on the inside and lightly crispy on the outside, but it’s easy to overdo it. I made this French toast with eggy challah, plain white sandwich bread, and a chewy baguette, and all three came out tender on the inside without any soaking time, with the quickest of dips. It really did remind me of a doughnut. (I did try soaking a piece of baguette for five minutes, which gave the yoghurt far too much time to seep into the crumb structure, resulting in little pockets of uncooked yoghurt and oat milk. Not great.)
How to cook this French toast
This custard is surprisingly sticky, even in a Teflon-coated pan. To keep the delicate crust from sticking and sliding off, I rubbed the pan with a stick of butter before adding the French toast, and in between flipping. If you want to make fully vegan French toast, you can use vegetable oil, coconut oil, or margarine (sometimes referred to as “plant butter” by clever marketing teams).
Getting fat in between the pan and the custard also gives it a more classic French toast appearance. Without it, the custard forms a crinkly skin over the bread, which tastes totally fine, but is prone to tearing and doesn’t exactly look the part.
But with fat, you get a more mottled, “fried” appearance.
Also, you’ll want to pay some attention to the sides of your bread. Wipe off the excess custard, and fry the sides briefly so you don’t have any “raw” yoghurt mixture dripping around.
Heat-wise, keep it around medium, or medium-low. I ended up frying my French toast 3-5 minutes on each side, to give the moisture enough time to evaporate and the bread enough time to brown. Try to rush it, and you’ll end up with moist but burnt toast, and your family will hate you. (Maybe they’ll just be mildly annoyed; I don’t know them.)
Almond Yoghurt French Toast (makes 4-6 pieces, depending on your bread)
- 1 tub of Silk Vanilla AlmondMilk Yogurt Alternative
- 2 tablespoons oat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Bread of your choice
- Fat of your choice for the pan
Combine all ingredients except bread and fat in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add enough butter or oil to lightly coat.
Dip both sides of each piece of bread in the yoghurt mixture, and be brief about it. If you’re making a bunch at once, place any pieces that are in waiting on wire rack set over a plate or baking sheet.
Fry each piece of French toast for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown, making sure to reapply the fat to the pan when you flip. Plate and serve immediately or, if you’re making a big batch, place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 93°C oven until ready to serve. Enjoy with your favourite French toast accompaniments.
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