French toast is pretty well suited for camping. It uses basic ingredients and doesn’t require a lot of skill to prepare–perfect for when the coffee really hasn’t kicked in yet.
If you’re cooking for two people, French toast is a breeze. But if you’ve got a large group to feed, the production process can really slow things down.
Dip, flip, transfer, toast, flip, repeat. If you only have one skillet going, it can take forever! By the time the last piece of toast is done, the first one is stone cold. So what’s to be done?
Our solution is simple: ditch the concept of individual slices and go with a Dutch oven filled with hand-torn bread chunks that have been coated in a sweet egg-milk mixture and baked to golden perfection! Sort of like a French Toast Casserole. All you need to do is slice it into wedges and drizzle with maple syrup.
The benefit of this approach is all the food is ready–and hot–at once. No more eating in shifts or trying to keep things warm under foil. Also, since the whole thing is baked in cast iron, it will stay warm for quite a while afterwards, too.
This style of French toast also lends itself very well to mix-ins. For this recipe we mixed in some fresh blueberries, which we baked along with it. You can add any berries or fruit that you like. Since it’s all tossed up anyways, it’s easier to get a berry here and there with each bite!
So if you love the idea of French Toast, but want to condense the cooking time down, give this Dutch oven French Toast Bake a try!
Why We Love It
↠ Great way to make a lot of French toast, all at once.
↠ While the Dutch oven bakes, we can focus our energy on other things. Like making a second cup of coffee!
↠ Lends itself well to mix-ins like seasonal berries
↠ It feels like a French Toast cake, which is just sort of special on its own.
Tips & tricks
Our biggest tip for baking in a Dutch oven is to line the bottom with parchment paper. This not only helps prevent sticking–and makes clean up easier–but it will also help you lift everything out in one piece. The easiest way to do this is by placing the Dutch oven lid on a sheet of parchment paper and tracing around it.
↠ Dutch oven: A cast iron Dutch oven is the most versatile piece of camp cooking equipment. For this recipe we used a 10” 4 quart Dutch oven. You will want to 1.5x this recipe if using a 12” 6 quart.
↠ Lid Lifter: We use a 4-1 lid lifter / pot stand from Lodge. It is fairly inexpensive and makes handling the Dutch oven lid a lot easier.
↠ Collapsible Charcoal Chimney: A charcoal chimney is the fastest (non-lighter fluid) way to get a batch of charcoals going.
↠ Heat Resistant Gloves: Whenever we’re working around a campfire, hot coal, or hot anything really, we like to wear our heat resistant gloves. Never singe another knuckle!
Start your coals. Cut out a circular piece of parchment paper to serve as a liner inside a 10-inch Dutch oven.
Tear the bread into rustic pieces (roughly 2 inches square) and place in the Dutch oven on top of the parchment paper..
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the eggs, then stir in salt, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Once those ingredients are fully incorporated, stir in the milk.
Now slowly drizzle the mixture over the bread. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to lightly toss the bread until each piece is evenly coated. Sprinkle the blueberries on top and mix gently.
Cover the Dutch oven and set it over seven evenly spaced briquets, then add 14 briquets to the top of the lid, giving a cooking temperature of about 350 degrees in a 10-inch oven. (Use 16 total coals for an 8-inch Dutchie, or 25 for a 12-incher, placing about one-third of the coals underneath and the rest on top.) Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with butter and maple syrup.