Traditional recipes

What Is French Toast?

What Is French Toast?

The perennial brunch favorite of the anti-pancake and anti-waffle crowd

Along with pancakes, waffles, and omelettes, French toast is a must for anybody who seeks to while away a lazy Sunday morning with a steaming cup of joe and a proper newspaper. Unlike french fries, this dish is actually French in origin, known as "pain perdu" or "lost bread" because of the dish’s usefulness in repurposing day-old bread.

Simple to make and indulgent, this is something that you can make with the kids. All you need is some thick slices of slightly stale bread, a few eggs, some butter, and milk, and perhaps some cinnamon if you’re feeling particularly fancy. Feel free to think outside the box a bit — panettone, challah, and brioche all make great French toast.

Click here to see the Challah French Toast Recipe.

Then, there isn’t much to do. Beat the eggs together with the milk to make the batter and melt the butter in a skillet. Dip the slices of bread into the batter, shake off any excess liquid, and fry both sides until golden brown. (To keep your French toast from getting soggy, dip the slices into the batter just before frying.) Serve with maple syrup, jam, or more butter. Dust with powdered sugar to your heart’s content. That’s it!

Click here to see the Raspberry-Cinnamon French Toast Recipe.

French toast

French toast is a dish made of sliced bread soaked in beaten eggs and typically milk, then pan fried. Alternative names and variants include "eggy bread", [1] "Bombay toast", "gypsy toast", [2] and "poor knights" (of Windsor). [3]

When French toast is served as a sweet dish, milk, sugar, vanilla or cinnamon are also commonly added before pan-frying, and then it may be topped with sugar (often powdered sugar), butter, fruit, or syrup. When it is a savory dish, it is generally fried with a pinch of salt or pepper, and then it can be served with a sauce such as ketchup or mayonnaise. [4] [5] [6] [7]

  • 6 slices Sara Lee® Artesano™ Golden Wheat Bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • Maple syrup, to taste
  • Powdered sugar, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon until combined. Dunk slices of bread in egg mixture, coating both sides of each slice.
2. Place the bread on a lined baking sheet and bake until the bread starts to toast around the edges (approximately 15 minutes). Remove from oven, flip bread and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Top French toast with desired amount of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Dust French toast with powdered sugar and top with desired amount of maple syrup.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 apple, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, or to taste
  • ½ cup raisins (Optional)
  • 1 (16 ounce) loaf cinnamon-raisin bread, torn into chunks

Grease the inside of a slow cooker.

Place apple pieces in the prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle brown sugar over apples and top with butter slices.

Beat eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and allspice together in a bowl with a whisk until smooth add raisins. Mix bread pieces into egg mixture until bread is saturated. Pour bread-egg mixture into the slow cooker.

17 French Toast Recipes That Let You Eat Dessert for Breakfast

Whether you’re hosting a fancy brunch party or casually feeding your family, a basic French toast never disappoints. French toast pleases tastebuds of all sorts𠅎specially when breakfast is inspired by classic desserts. Take your pick of churro French toast, tiramisu French toast, red velvet French toast, or cheesecake French toast and eat dessert for breakfast. A little morning indulgence never hurt anyone and who says you have to wait till after dinner to have dessert, anyway? Dessert-inspired breakfast recipes truly give you a reason to jump out of bed. (But feel free to stay in pajamas all day—we fully endorse that.)

French toast is undoubtedly one of the easiest breakfasts to whip up: just soak, fry, and feast. No matter what you do, you can’t go wrong—there are no rules. Plus, not much work goes into prepping or cooking French toast, so it’s perfect for lazy weekends. Seriously, you can serve up the world’s best French toast in 10 minutes flat. But with a few extra minutes to spare, you can make the first meal of the day a whole lot sweeter. These 17 dessert-inspired French toast recipes will seduce all your senses on any given morning.

Can you store french toast in the fridge?

Do you want to make French toast in advance? Did you happen to make too many slices of French toast this morning?

Don’t worry. You can store French toast slices in the refrigerator for about two days.

You should put the excess in the fridge not more than two hours after cooking. Wrap them in Ziploc bags, foil, or plastic wrap.

Doing so will keep your French toast moist and fresh.

Under-Soaking the bread

Many experienced home cooks just dip the slices of bread quickly in the custard they whipped up before tossing them into the hot, buttered pan.

Always remember that the bread slices need to be soaked completely in the egg and milk mixture. This will result in a creamy center.

One minute per side is enough time.

Using too much heat or not enough heat

Remember that when you are cooking French toast, you are not cooking steak. Scorching the surface is not ideal.

The sugar in the custard will caramelize. If left cooking on high heat, it will burn immediately.

Cooking French toast over high heat will leave the inside soggy and uncooked.

If you cook it over very low heat, the entire bread will just dry out and you will not have that signature soft center.

For the Goldilocks French toast, cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.

Not pre-heating the pan

A pan that’s not hot enough will not cook the first slice immediately. Instead of forming up, the custard spreads off the slice. This results in irregularly shaped slices.

If the pan’s temperature is right, the batter doesn’t run. The eggs in the custard will start cooking immediately, the moment it hits the hot pan.

3 Secrets to Amazing French Toast

There is French toast, and there is French toast. Here&rsquos how to make the latter.

Do you use a recipe when making French toast? For most people, it’s a dish that’s thrown together on the fly, like scrambled eggs. Beat some eggs, add some milk, soak the bread, fry it up, then grab a plate and fork. Breakfast is served.

While this method will produce a plate of French toast𠅎ven really good French toast—you can do better. Here are three easy ways to elevate your run-of-the-mill recipe, or, if we’re being honest, that set of steps you perform at the stovetop when you’re still half asleep.

Start with a custard

Whether you’re making it by the slice, or in an oven-baked casserole, French toast is pan-fried bread that’s been soaked in a mixture of eggs and dairy. That mixture is actually a custard, and it tastes best when you use full-fat dairy (whole milk, half-and-half, or equal parts milk and heavy cream). Ideally you want equal parts egg and dairy, so aim for ¼ cup dairy for each whole egg. Whisk them together thoroughly until the mixture is completely blended, with no bits of egg white or yolk visible. Then whisk in a pinch of salt and about a half-teaspoon of sugar per egg. Granulated white sugar is fine, but it won’t dissolve as easily as powdered sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

Add extra flavor

In addition to a little sweetness and salt, stir in a few extra ingredients to enhance the flavor and aroma of the custard. Ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (or try a blend like apple or pumpkin pie spice), extracts like vanilla or almond, fresh lemon or orange zest, or a splash of spirits (like bourbon or rum) are all wonderful options. Soak the bread completely, so that it is entirely saturated.

Fry in butter and oil

Once the bread is soaked through, you’ll need some fat and a hot pan to turn it into French toast. A neutral cooking oil like canola has a high smoke point, but no flavor. Butter has plenty of flavor but burns at lower temperatures. So combine the two—I like using half oil and half butter𠅏or the best of both worlds: golden, crispy-edged French toast with plenty of richness.

Whisk 2 eggs with 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla. Dunk bread of choice (stale is best), then pan fry in butter until blushing gold on the surface and crispy golden on the edges, then douse liberally with maple syrup.

What does French Toast taste like?

It’s sort of like Bread and Butter pudding. Custardy on the inside with buttery crispy golden edges, it’s even great to eat plain but, like pancakes, ideal for smothering in maple syrup!

Is French Toast Actually French?

We’ve all heard of French toast. This delicious treat of bread (maybe even stale bread) that’s been transformed into a smooth and tasty breakfast dish with a simple blend of eggs, milk, and sugar.

In France, French toast is called “pain perdu” (lost bread) because you use stale bread to make it. In the United States, this same breakfast treat is known as “French toast.” But is French toast really French, and, if not, why do we call it French toast?

In the collective imagination, French toast comes from a desire to not waste food, simply for economic reasons, but also because throwing away bread, with its religious connotations, was socially unacceptable. Experts agree that French toast dates back to ancient Rome. A similar recipe can be found in the book of Apicius from the 5th century BC. The Romans dipped slices of bread in milk (and sometimes eggs) before frying them, and called it “Pan Dulcis.”

We find the trace of the same recipe in the 15th century at the court of Henri V where the “lost bread,” as it was then called, was a hit. It was not until the 17th century that the term “French Toast” appeared in England (in 1660, to be precise, in a book called The Accomplisht Cook, according to The Oxford English Dictionary). This would be in line with one of the theories developed about French fries which is that the name “French” does not designate from the country of origin of the dish, but is instead in reference to the verb “to French” which means “to slice” in Old Irish. Hence, “French toast” as in “sliced toast.”

As for how Old Irish ended up in the United States, after the Great Famine (1845-1851), Irish settlers traveling to the United States and Canada brought the term in their suitcases. The phrase “French toast” first appeared in The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. Although, this explanation seems less likely since similar recipes were also called “Egg toast,” “Spanish toast,” and even “German toast.”

This explanation would also then contradict the legend that French toast was invented in 1724 by a certain Joseph French in Albany, New York, and whose poor grammar made him forget the apostrophe-“s.”

The most convincing explanation is that French toast would have been called “French” because calling it French made the dish seem fancier and allow chefs to add one or two dollars to its price. “Traditionally in the United States, we have an admiration for French cuisine, which we consider to be elaborate and gastronomic. And that’s probably why this dish was named that way. It’s just marketing,” explained Stephen Block, editor-in-chief of the Kitchen Project, a site specializing in the study of the origins of recipes. “The name sounds good and the French adjective gives it a high-quality connotation. There’s no chance that ‘Lost Bread’ could have worked. And since the dish was successful and the recipe was easy, the name spread.”

This confirms the idea already proven by the origin of “French” in French doors that, in the minds of the English at the time and the Americans afterwards, if something was French, it had to be good. In any case, French toast is now much more popular in the United States than it is in France (go try to find some in a café in France, we dare you!). French toast is even entitled to its own national day, November 28.

5 great French toast recipes: Yes, you can eat breakfast for dinner

There's a simple magic to French toast: The way the soaked bread puffs in the pan, the toast crisping to a rich, golden brown in the hot fat. You can top your French toast with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or maybe a drizzle of warm maple syrup. This is dessert for breakfast. With each bite, the crisp, almost brittle crust gives way to a tender, soft-as-a-pillow interior, subtle with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and fragrant notes of vanilla.

You can't beat the simplicity of classic French toast. And yes, you can even it for dinner. Here are five of our favorite recipes. Simply click on the photo to go to each recipe.