Breakfast with Red

French toast made with challah bread

Late last week, tempted by fall, Laura baked a loaf of challah with just one goal in mind: French toast.

Dense and mildly sweet, challah makes the most amazing French toast, particularly when it’s been left to sit out for a day or two, going slightly stale. We used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, with the addition of an apple and some cinnamon.

Homemade challah loaf with apple and cinnamon

When Sunday afternoon rolled around, we could hardly contain ourselves as we dipped the thick, chewy slices in their wash of egg, milk and vanilla, and then cooked them in a bit of melted butter. (The magic ratio seems to be one egg for every three slices of bread.)

Our French toast was perfect as it was (and with some thickly-sliced bacon from Murray’s Cheese), but it was made even more indulgent by our unique beverage pairing.

Challah French toast with Italian red wine

There was no prosecco or champagne in this house on Sunday. Instead, we opted for a bottle of red: a Frappato Sicilia IGT “Ciaru”. Frappato is a grape varietal from Sicily that is primarily blended with other grapes—such as Nero d’Avola—but on its own produces a fine, light-bodied, fruit-forward wine.

A resident expert at Astor Wines here in the city introduced me to it when I asked for suggestions. He recommended it because he had actually paired it with pumpkin pancakes for brunch the previous weekend.

“It’s all liquid raspberries and strawberries,” he said, as he handed me the bottle. At just under $10, it may have even been a sweeter value.

French Toast with Bacon

The wine’s mild structure, coupled with the subtle fruits made the maple syrup seem not as sticky or heavy. It really did make it seem as if we had a bowl of fresh fruit to go with our French toast.

The pop of fruit, the sweetness of the syrup and the challah, and the porky, salty kick of bacon was the perfect afternoon delight that kept us satisfied until well past dinnertime.

- Ryan and Laura

What We Used: Riedel Vinum Cabernet Wine Glasses // Vinny Carafe


  1. Vanessa
    Oct 20, 2011 @ 02:39:24

    French toast is my all-time favorite breakfast, but I have never, ever thought of pairing it with wine! Very interesting idea for brunch, might have to try it. And whether it’s for brunch or not, that particular wine sounds delicious.


  2. Matt Wrench
    Oct 20, 2011 @ 14:05:47

    Do you have any other favorite flavor combos with the challah bread? It sounds delicious, but alas, lots of my family don’t like cinnamon. (I know.)


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Oct 20, 2011 @ 17:12:55

      Matt, I think almost anything could work. Maybe some dried cranberries with a little bit of orange zest? (That’s one of my favorite flavor combos that I think would be particularly good in a challah.) -LR


      • Matt Wrench
        Oct 20, 2011 @ 17:57:08

        Good idea. Cheers!

  3. Ilana
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 01:00:01

    Oh, the irony of the bacon with challah :)


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