|Overnight Baked French Toast
Serves 4 to 6
1 (13- to 14-inch-long) loaf of soft-crust bakery-style Italian bread
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
Accompaniments: maple syrup, berries and powdered sugar if desired
Cut about six to eight — enough to fit your pan — one-inch-thick diagonal slices of bread.
Generously butter one side of each slice and arrange slices, buttered sides up, in one layer in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit if necessary.
Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined well, then pour evenly over bread. Chill, covered, until bread has absorbed all of custard, at least one hour and up to one day, depending on bread.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring mixture to room temperature and sprinkle bread with sugar.
Bake, uncovered, in middle of oven until bread is puffed and top is golden, 20 to 25 minutes, or longer — make sure it’s nice and golden on top or it will be soggy in the middle. Serve immediately with fruit and syrup and powdered sugar if desired.