Sausage French Toast Bake
If you’re anything like me you always need a little something savory with your sweet. When it comes to breakfast, for me that typically means simply pairing pancakes or French toast with bacon or sausage but what if we took it a little bit further and put the savory IN the sweet?
Enter: Sausage French Toast Bake. The perfect combination of savory, sweet and delicious. We take day-old brioche-style bread, cube it up and toss it with an orange and vanilla-scented custard. It’s layer it with our very favorite Jones Dairy Farm Pork Sausage and bake until the middle is ooey gooey and the top is crisp and golden brown. We drown it in maple syrup, a sprinkling of powdered sugar and serve it up.
Bonus? Our French Toast Bake can easily be made the night before and popped into the oven the next morning for a super easy way to feed your family fast.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in French Toast Bake.
Bread. I love to use a brioche-style bread. You don’t have to use anything fancy, this or this will work great. The key is to make sure it’s day-old bread. If it’s fresh, the bread will get very soggy very quickly. (More on this below.)
Milk. When I make a French Toast Bake I’m looking for something slightly indulgent so I usually gravitate towards whole milk. However, if you want to lighten it up a bit 2% or 1% milk works great.
Eggs. I like my bakes to have plenty of eggs so we use five large eggs. Not only does this add richness but it’s the binder that holds our French toast bake together.
Orange. I almost always reach for citrus to brighten up dishes and when it comes to breakfast, I love to use a hint of orange. Adding a good amount of orange zest to the custard adds a really lovely almost floral note I adore. Don’t skip it!
Vanilla. Is there a better combination than orange + vanilla? The two go together hand in hand.
Sugar. Even though we use maple syrup to serve the French toast bake, I like to add a little bit of sweetness to the custard as well. It doesn’t make it cloyingly sweet but just sweet enough.
Jones Dairy Sausage. Our love for Jones Dairy Farm Sausage runs deep so when it came to picking something savory to nestle in the crooks and crannies of our French toast bake, Jones Dairy Farm Sausage is a no brainer. It’s always loitering in our freezer and while we’re big fans of ALL varieties and flavors (we use chicken sausage here and turkey sausage here), today I was craving their All Natural Pork Sausage so that’s what we went with.
The links sliced into three pieces are the perfect size to comingle with the saturated bread and I love that they are pre-cooked so all I have to done is defrost them while I prep everything else.
I also love that I feel WONDERFUL giving them to my sausage-obsessed children because they are full of protein, and free of preservatives, msg and nitrates. Something I’m always looking for more of these days.
Maple Syrup. No pancake, waffle or French toast is complete with pure maple syrup, amiright?
Let’s make our Sausage French Toast Bake!
Cut up the bread. As we mentioned before you are going to want day old bread. This works best for French toast as fresh bread won’t soak up the custard as well and can turn out soggy. I pulled the bread out the night before and laid each piece (not overlapping) on a sheet pan and let it sit out on the counter. IF you forget to do this or don’t have time, you can also lay each slice on a baking sheet and pop it into a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until it has a similar texture to stale bread.
Once it cools, use a bread knife or serrated knife to slice each piece of bread into 1 ½-inch cubes.
Defrost or cook the sausage. If the sausage isn’t already, defrost it in the microwave. You can also crisp it up on the stove if you want to brown it.
Make the custard. Add milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange juice to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
Toss. Add half of the bread to an 8×8 baking dish. Scatter half of the sausage on top. Arrange rest of the bread on top of that and then scatter with the rest of the sausage. Give the custard one more stir and pour it over the bread and sausage.
Bake. Scatter the butter on top and cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown. Drizzle with maple syrup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Do I have to use brioche?
No! Any sturdy white bread will work. I also like Italian bread or ciabatta.
Can I make French Toast Bake in advance?
Yes!! In fact, it’s better if you make it at least two hours in advance. Make from start to finish, aside from baking. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Let the French toast bake sit out for about 15 minutes before cooking according the recipe instructions.
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- After adding the custard, push the bread down to really soak the bread in the custard, then add the butter.
- Don’t overbake! It is done when it’s puffy and the liquid has evaporated.
- Be sure you use day old or oven-dried bread, You will NOT get the same results if you use fresh bread.
- Add in a splash of grand marnier for an extra kick of orange,
- Chopped apples or pears would make a nice addition.
- For another savory element, add in ½ cup of extra sharp shredded cheddar or gruyere, Goat cheese or brie would be nice too!
- 9 slices *thick-cut day old brioche bread, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes If you do not have day old bread, see notes
- 1 package Jones Dairy Farm All NaturalPork Sausage, defrosted (9 links)
- 5 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest 1 large orange, about 2 teaspoons
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 Mixing bowl
- 1 8×8 baking pan
- Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.
- If you haven’t already, slice the bread into 1 1/2 -inch cubes. Slice the sausage into three even pieces.
- Layer half of the bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with half of the sausage. Layer remaining bread on top followed by remaining sausage.
- Add the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and orange zest to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the bread and sausage. Use the back of a spoon to make sure the top pieces get soaked into the bread.
- Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the French Toast Bake out of the fridge at let it come to room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
- Drizzle with maple syrup and dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm with extra maple syrup.