Easy French Toast

Easy French Toast

What is French Toast and where did it get its name?  I’m sure just about everyone has had French Toast sometime or other, it is after all a popular breakfast food and is featured on many restaurants’ breakfast menus.  But I everyone knows its origins or how it got its name.

Some version of this popular breakfast fare has been around for centuries.  Yes I said centuries.  And why not?  All French Toast is bread that’s been soaked in a milk and egg mixture and then fried.  We know that milk and eggs have been a food staple through out most of civilization.

According to Apicius a collection of recipes from the 5th. Century AD the dish we know as French Toast was around during the Roman Empire.  Their version called Pan Dulcis, was bread soaked in a milk mixture then fried in oil or butter.  In the court English of Henry V during the 15th. Century “Pain Perdu” was all the rage.  The name which was in French literally means “lost bread” because it calls for soaking hard or stale bread in a milk and egg mixture then frying it.  The French still call it Pain Perdu to this day.

So how did it come to be called French Toast in America when clearly it didn’t originate in France?   Well legend has it that a New York innkeeper named Joseph French created the dish in 1724 and sold it as French Toast.  It’s believed he meant to call it French’s Toast but he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe.

Whatever you call it and whatever its origins French Toast is delicious and actually very simple to make.  Of course there are now different versions of this simple dish including IHOP’s Stuffed French Toast and Denny’s Fabulous French Toast.  I actually make Creme Brulee French toast on Christmas mornings!

I look at French Toast as a blank canvas.  You can have it just with syrup and butter, and that’s delicious! Or you can embellish it with fruit, whipped cream, jam, nutella, or whatever else you can think of.  But before you can embellish you’ll need the basic recipe.  I prefer to use day old french bread, but really you can use whatever bread you have on hand.  But do try to avoid using freshly baked bread as it tends to be too soft and will fall apart when soaked in the liquid mixture.  Once you’ve got the basics you can add toppings or even add ingredients to the batter.  So here’s the basic recipe!

Basic French Toast

Ingredients:

6-8 slices of day old French Bread or whatever bread you have on hand

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

Butter for frying and for topping

Syrup

Fruits, jams, whipped cream, etc. for toppings (optional)

Directions:

Beat Eggs, Milk, and Sugar together until well combined.

Stir in vanilla.

Melt a pat of batter in a skillet.

Dip both sides of bread slice in egg mixture until soaked.

Lift bread out of liquid and let excess liquid drain off.

Place soaked bread in skillet and cook until first side starts to brown.

Flip over and cook other side until brown.

Place in serving dish and serve immediately.

Serve with butter and syrup or whatever topping you like.

Easy French Toast
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Easy French Toast
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French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

French Toast for Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Contrary to it’s name French Toast did not originate in France.  In fact it originated long before France was even a country.

French Toast is basically made with stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture then fried up for a tasty meal.  Being that bread, eggs, and milk have been staples since they started to prepare bread in some form it makes sense that it’s been around for centuries.  And of course back in the day people weren’t wasteful so turning stale bread into a meal using basic ingredients that were readily available makes sense too.

The first mention of a similar dish dates back to a cookbook attributed to Apicius back in 4th. Century Rome.  It was then called Pan Dulcis, or sweet bread, and made pretty much how we make it today.  The dish spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, specially the practice of using stale bread.  In France it was known then as it is now as Pain Perdu which literally means Lost Bread.  It is known by this name in Belgium, New Orleans, and other places where the French had some sort of presence.  We call it French Toast for the similar reason we call fried strips of potatoes French Fries; simply because it was popularized in America by French immigrants.

french toast

French Toast has become a staple on diner and coffee shop menus.  In fact it is one of my favorite breakfast foods mainly because not only is it easy to make and very tasty, I almost always have all the ingredients in my kitchen!

Now there are many fancy variations of this humble dish like the Crème Brûlée French Toast I make on Christmas mornings. Now that requires a bit more fussing.  But the basic French Toast recipe is so easy that you can make it even on weekday mornings, or at the very least on weekends.

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday so I know cooking breakfast is pretty much not on the top of your priority list.  But wouldn’t it be super sweet to wake up just 15 minutes earlier this Valentine’s Day and surprise your sweetheart with a stack of French Toast?

Garnished with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream can dress up this humble dish and make it look like you’ve been up for hours preparing it!  So go ahead, wake up your Valentine with the cinnamony aroma of fresh made French Toast!  The kids’ will love them too!  Here’s my recipe!

Ingredients:

3 Large Eggs

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Vanilla

6-8 Pieces Bread – any type will do, you can use day old or fresh, whatever you have on hand.

Butter

Syrup

Garnishes like fresh fruit, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc.

Directions:

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.

Add milk and sugar and stir well.

Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.

Melt butter in a frying pan.

Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.

Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.

Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want.

You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves.

 

 

 

 

french toast
French Toast
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french toast
French Toast
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. .
  2. Add milk and sugar and stir well.
  3. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  5. Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.
  6. Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.
  7. Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want. You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves
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