We’re celebrating a birthday in our family this week so we had a special Sunday breakfast yesterday—low sodium baked French toast. This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen's boozy baked French toast recipe, which I modified to make low sodium. The original recipe uses store-bought bread, 3 eggs, 3 cups of milk, and 1/2 tsp salt. I used my own no sodium sandwich bread, 2 eggs plus one flax egg, a mixture of cream and water instead of milk, and omitted the salt to get this down to 140 mg of sodium for the entire dish. It’s sort of something between bread pudding/French toast, and more creamy than egg-y, but I’m still calling it French toast. Serve it with low sodium breakfast sausage and some fresh fruit for an easy, festive weekend brunch.
Servings: Makes one 9x13 inch baking dish, about 8-9 servings Sodium: 140 mg of sodium for the entire recipe Time: 30 minutes to assemble, 12 hours to rest overnight, and 30 minutes to bake
Flax egg ingredients:
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
2 and 1/2 tablespoons water
Egg mixture ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 loaf no sodium bread (or any other bread), cut into 1 inch slices, then quartered
Cinnamon sugar ingredients:
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
powdered sugar and sliced almonds to taste
maple syrup for serving
1) Prepare the flax egg: in a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 2 and 1/2 tablespoons water and let sit for 5 minutes until it is thick.
2) Prepare and arrange the bread: there are lots of ways to do this. You can layer slices of bread flat in a 9x13 inch baking dish, which is what the original Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for. I tried this and my bread just didn't fit right. There were too many gaps and not enough bread to fill in all the gaps. So instead, I cut my loaf into 1 inch slices, and then I cut each slice in 4 and arranged them upright, side by side in my 9x13 inch baking dish. You can butter the dish and/or the bread also. I'm sure that would be amazing but I forgot to do this once and it was still really delicious so I leave the butter out now since there's already quite a bit of fat in this dish.
3) Prepare the egg mixture: in a medium bowl, combine the flax egg from step 1 with heavy cream, 1 cup water, eggs, vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour the mixture over the bread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4) In the morning, preheat your oven to 425°F. The bread should have soaked up most of the egg mixture but there will still be little liquid at the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar mixture (2 tsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup.
-This recipe is really flexible. Use whatever bread fits into your sodium limits. As for the egg mixture, you want a total of about 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. The original recipe calls for 3 cups whole milk, but I use a mixture of no sodium heavy cream and water to cut the sodium down. Coconut milk would probably work really well, too, and it's also very low sodium. Use whatever combination of milk, cream, or water that works for you. The same goes for the eggs. The original recipe calls for 3 eggs and if you can manage that level of sodium, go ahead and use 3 eggs and skip the flax egg. Almond extract could also be used in place of vanilla, and you could certainly add a little liquor to enhance the flavor. Different nuts and dried fruit will also work well here. Bake them with the bread or throw them on top after baking.
-The bread will soak up the egg mixture better if it's a little bit dry. If your loaf is fresh or too moist, cut it up a few hours early and let it dry out at room temperature.