Make French toast in the evening, then pop the dish into the oven for a fresh and hot, no-muss, no-fuss breakfast. Although make-ahead French toast is handy any time, it is especially convenient if you're serving several hungry guests or a large family. Prepare extras such as bacon or sausage while the French toast is in the oven, then serve the golden brown toast with toppers such as butter and maple syrup or honey.
Coat a baking pan with cooking oil or melted butter. Cut or tear a loaf of French or sourdough bread into 1-inch cubes, then place the pieces in the baking dish.
Whisk eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add milk and sugar, then beat well. If desired, stir in vanilla extract or a small amount of freshly grated orange zest.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover the baking pan tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then put it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Place a small amount of brown sugar in a small mixing bowl, then stir in a dash of salt. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in cold butter until the mixture is the consistency of small peas. Add a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon, if desired. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator.