French Toast

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Is there nothing better than French toast for Sunday breakfast? Thick slices of bread, soaked in a mixture of beaten eggs with milk and cinnamon, toasted in a frying pan, and served with butter and maple syrup, this has to be one of our favorite, and most indulgent, breakfast dishes.

French toast comes out best if you work with thick slices of French or Italian loaf bread that are several days old. That way they’ve had a chance to firm up, which will make the slices hold up better when you dip them in the egg milk mixture and fry them. Thin slices of fresh bread tend to fall apart or get mushy when you do this.

Many people like to sprinkle powdered sugar over their French toast. I think there’s is plenty enough sugar in the maple syrup, so I don’t bother with adding more.

One of my favorite variations, the idea for which I picked up from The Silver Palate Cookbook 20 some odd years ago, is to add some orange zest, and a bit of Triple Sec orange liqueur to the batter for extra zing.

From the recipe archive. First posted 2005.

French Toast Recipe

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  • Prep time: 8 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 8 thick slices of 2-day-old bread (better if slightly stale)
  • Butter (can sub vegetable oil)
  • Maple syrup

Optional

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • Fresh berries

Method

1 In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cinnamon. Stir in the orange zest and/or Triple Sec if using. Whisk the mixture until well blended and pour into a shallow bowl, wide enough to place a slice of the bread you will be using.

2 Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place each slice of bread into the milk egg mixture, allowing the bread to soak in some of it. Shake off the excess, and place the bread slices onto the hot skillet.

french-toast-method-1 french-toast-method-2

3 Fry the French toast until browned on one side, then flip and brown the other side.

4 Serve hot with butter, maple syrup, and if available, fresh berries.

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French Toast

Showing 4 of 87 Comments

  • Fork Lift Operator

    French toast you can get drunk on. What will they think of next?! As long as we are being carded, Amaretto would work.

    Definitely butter and no vegetable oil.

    Definitely real maple syrup…none of that commercial rubbish.

    That optional stuff is very optional. I might add confectioner’s sugar or whipped cream before that other stuff. The berries are OK though. I am thinking how that sweetness would work with the maple syrup.

  • Dana

    this looks great, I love the addition of orange. What a great idea, esp with a touch of cinnamon and/or vanilla. I have been reading quite a bit about french toast as mine is often soggy and I’m not overly keen on it. Although I’ve always heard that you should use stale bread, I recently read on Fine Cooking that fresh bread makes for better french toast. While staler bread absorbs more liquids, fresh bread is softer so it makes for a more tender french toast. I might try that to see if it makes a difference, I just hope it isn’t more soggy! I guess everyone has a different preference.

  • Anna

    Thank you for the delicious recipe! It made for a wonderful Christmas Eve breakfast. I made them with unsweetened soy milk and fried in olive oil for my dairy free better half and they turned out great.

  • Angel

    This was amazing. I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to mine along with the orange zest.

  • Frankie

    Hello all …. Bonjour!
    I’m French. I didn’t go through all the comments but there’s only one basic recipe of « Pain Perdu » : Old bread cut into thick slices then dipped into milk (well you can leave it a little while in the milk but not too long), THEN in the eggs , and then fried in the frying pan with butter not with oil. A tad different in the old days as butter and milk were expensive so it was without milk and fried in oil /animal grease.

    As Mouette said , in the old time it was a way for the very poor people to use the old bread in order to have one more meal . YOU cook this for breakfast , WE seldom do. It will be either the desert of a light lunch, or what we, French, call “Le Goûter”. There’s no real equivalent as it is cultural . I have made up my own translation and call it “sweet snack” as Goûter IS a snack but always sweet.

    Nowadays it is not anymore for poor people. Children here put Nutella on, or jam while adults will use it a bit like they would use “crêpes”.
    Spread caster sugar on your French toast and add a few (or more than a few …lol!) drops of Grand Marnier on it…. NOW …; that is typical French and ….yummy !!!! No orange no cinnamon no nothing, French toast is a simple thing. If you add plenty of other things then give it another name, as it won’t be French toast anymore or say “My way of making French toast”. Françoise 56 ans

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