For about 1,500 years—as early as the age of the Roman Empire—French toast has been making its way onto plates and satisfying breakfast palates the world over. Some believe medieval European cooks ingeniously came up with this meal as a way to frugally use day-old bread. Either way, it’s delicious!
First appearing in print, “French toast” showed up in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. Some of the alternative terms for this dish are “eggy bread,” “gypsy toast,” “Bombay toast,” “Pan Dulcis” as the Romans referred to it, and “pain perdu” which means “lost bread” in French.
Whether you’re enjoying this for breakfast, or a satisfying meal at another time, here are a few simple tricks for making the ultimate french toast experience!
The bread you choose has a major impact on final texture and taste. The drier the loaf, the better it can soak up the flavorful egg batter. Choose your favorite kind—you can use gluten-free bread, brioche, an eggy challah, or even banana bread. The key is using ½ inch to 1 inch thick slices that can hold up to a good soak.
Eggs and milk are the usual batter choice ingredients, even as they were for the Romans. Whether you choose a vegan egg alternative, or a dairy-free milk option—such as oat, rice, or almond milk—add some spices and soak those slices!
Cinnamon is a typical go-to spice here, perhaps a bit of nutmeg as well. A dash of natural vanilla extract is also a perfect addition and major flavor contributor. Some even add a delicious weekend grown-up twist by including a dash of liqueur.
A BPA-free nonstick pan is probably going to be your best bet for cooking, at least if you want to avoid a “glued on” eggy mess. And don’t forget that butter gives a comforting, flavorful richness, so be sure to use some. Choosing a butter and oil combo will help prevent smoking or burning as you cook.
Time to top! Beyond natural maple syrup, branch out if you want a flavor adventure and try topping your toast with your favorite jam, ricotta cheese, whipped cream, or fresh sliced fruits and berries. Enjoy your French toast, and don’t forget the coffee!