The World Loves French Toast

French Toast--Way more versatile than you might think.

French Toast--Way more versatile than you might think.

See:  Oooooh–French Toast!  There’s a version or eight in tons of countries, whether they call it French toast or pain perdu or roti telur.  But why?  Why does everyone love this stuff?  What makes it so great?  Here are my thoughts.  I know, I know–you’ve been Dying to hear them, right?

As with many dishes, necessity is the mother of invention.  The necessity, in this case, is how to use up some Stale-Ass bread and make it palatable.  Enter eggs.  Hello eggs.  Why eggs?  ‘Cause back in The Day, tons o’ folks had chickens.  Chickens=free-ish eggs.  And enter eggs’ buddy, milk.  Hey, milk.  Why milk?  ‘Cause the chickens needed Company.  Eggs+milk=custard, so a quick dip (or a long soak) in some custard, a sizzle on a slick griddle, and otherwise wasted bread turns into a free-ish meal.  Waste not, want not.

When I sat down today to Write, I had not Clue One what I was going to write about.  It’s that Planning Aversion that I have.  So, I looked at my referrers so far, and I saw a post from Nate Cooks.  And here it is:  Yay for Leftover Bread–Making French Toast.  Like Nate says, leftover baguette makes fantastic French Toast.  Here are some other options for your Delectation (read stale before each Item):

  • English muffins
  • cinnamon rolls
  • croissants
  • Cuban bread
  • Italian bread
  • Hamburger or hot dog buns
  • Hawaiian bread (exceptional, I might add)
  • yeast-raised doughnuts
  • ciabatta
  • brioche
  • challah
  • panettone
  • Et Cetera

And don’t limit yourself to sweet custards.  Why not a savory French toast?  Any neutral-flavored bread (eg: not doughnuts or cinnamon rolls) would work great for that.  You could even use focaccia.  Go crazy.  Savory French toasts could make a Killer Appetizer.  Fry it up so it’s nice and crisp, cut into cute canape shapes or just squares and top with a crumble of goat cheese and a bit of roasted red pepper.  That’s just One idea.  I’m sure you can come up with others.

Here’s another thought about French Toast–Any strata recipe, any bread pudding recipe, any quiche recipe can be turned into French toast, or stuffed French toast.  For stuffed French toast, you could just put the fillings between two pieces of cooked bread, or you could cut your pieces twice as thick as you normally would, cut a slit in the side and stuff it, then brown it and finish it in the oven to make sure the filling is nice and hot.

One of the best French Toasts I have ever eaten is Deep Fried French Toast.  Yes, you heard me Correctly.  Susie Friou, a friend of my folks from church, brought the technique with her from New Orleans.  I haven’t seen or heard from those guys in decades, but I still remember her French Toast.  Susie, your legacy is assured.  To make it, for every cup of milk and 2 eggs (the standard French toast custard), use 1 cup of flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.  Make sure you add a healthy pinch of salt and whatever flavorings you like.  Just soak your Bread of Choice in the batter and then Deep Fry It.  You will not be Sorry, I promise.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say about French Toast.  And, if you don’t read Nate Cooks, you should.  His last post is from May, so he might be busy, but the archived stuff is great.

PS Make a sammich with ham, turkey and Swiss cheese, dunk it in the Deep Fry Batter, fry it up and serve it with raspberry jam, and you have one of the Best Sammiches Ever–the Monte Cristo.  Thank you, God, for the Monte Cristo Sammich.

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Comments

  1. Jamieson Ridenhour says

    Wow, great ideas. I love me some french toast. We do a tasty Indian version with peppers and spices in the egg/milk mixture. It makes a great appetizer with buttered basmati rice and spicy lentils.

  2. linda c. says

    My daughter makes me stuffed french toast every Mother’s Day. She uses french bread cut thickly. A mixture of cream cheese and peaches serves as the stuffing. Make as usual. Warm REAL maple syrup and serve with sliced strawberries. She’s been making it since she was about 8. I love that kid!

    Another cool thing to do: “Bread” the french toast in crumbled up crunchy breakfast cereal before frying. Very good!

    You know what makes good french toast? Texas toast.

  3. says

    Great Scotts woman, that is some amazing looking French toast!

    Was thinking of you this evening as I successfully made my first pastry! I made a butternut squash and blue cheese tart, and although the pastry was very crumbly, it worked out very well indeed.

    I was just wondering though – it took me about three hours to make and I am completely knackered now. Surely it must get easier?!? AFter all your experience, can you whip up a good savoury tart in like, 45 minutes or something?

    I’d be delighted to know, as I’m sure it just HAS to get easier the more you do it! It would be great encouragement for me to think so :)

    Hope you’re well – haven’t visited your blog in a bit so looking forward to a catch-up read after posting this comment!

  4. says

    In chef school, we had a real French chef (from France, no less!) teach us how to make FT. He cut the rind off the baguette slices, dipped and fried them in butter. Then – here it comes! – he did it again. With the same slice, mind you. DDFT. Tres bon.

    I, however, am a nut. I’ve invented the “retro-active heart attack” French toast. You eat it and not only will it kill you instantly…it will also wipe out your ancestry, several generations back. It’s that rich, I swear…

    So (when I was still alive, of course), I made a sweet dough, like, for cinnamon rolls, but with so many extra eggs and milk that it was way to soft for flattening and rolling up. I just dumped the batter in a hotel pan and kinda swirl-folded the brown sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg/Mexican Vanilla mix into the dough. Let it rise, baked it off – exclusively for my killer bread pudding. The custard was made with cream, no milk.

    Why am I telling you about my bread pudding recipe? Oh, yeah – the leftovers can be sliced and browned in butter for a French toast that’ll take you to heaven. Literally.

    Come to think of it, I got carried away a bit. You don’t even have to make the bread pudding part. Just cut up the baked cinnamon roll mountain and dip the slices into the egg wash. Who says you can’t make the “bread” for French toast fresh? You’ve got much more control over the killer quality, that way…

  5. says

    Yes! Monte Cristo! I make mine with French toast, straight up. Two (or three) slices, hot, piled with ham, turkey, and cheese that gets all melty from the heat of the French toast. A sprinkle of powdered sugar, and voilà!

    And I must tell you that pain au chocolat makes excellent bread pudding (which we all know is just deep-dish, baked French toast). In fact, in French, they don’t even have different words for the two preparations. Pain perdu covers it all!

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