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How to Make French Toast

French toast is a breakfast and brunch staple every cook should know how to make

Fine Cooking Issue 113
Photos: Scott Phillips
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French toast is a sunday morning classic, in part because it’s a crowd-pleaser, but also because it’s quick, unfussy, and made with ingredients you likely have on hand. Just grab some fresh bread, slice it into thick pieces, soak it in a mixture of milk and eggs, and fry it until golden. Simple as that sounds, there are still a few pointers to keep in mind, like choosing the right bread and using the correct proportion of milk to eggs. Follow the recipe and tips here, and you’ll have warm, slightly sweet French toast that’s crisp and browned on the outside and creamy on the inside. Serve it drizzled with maple syrup, and you’ll wish every day were Sunday.

Need to Know

Choose bread with a fine, dense crumb and a soft crust. Try challah, brioche, or a hearty white sandwich bread. These are perfect for soaking up the batter, and they produce luxuriously soft results. Breads with large air pockets and a hard crust, like ciabatta, won’t absorb the batter evenly and will give your French toast tough, chewy edges.

Go with fresh bread, not stale. Although stale bread may absorb somewhat more batter, fresh bread, which is softer to begin with, makes more tender French toast.

Bring your eggs and milk to room temperature. This keeps the butter in the batter melted so that it can be readily absorbed by the bread. Milk and eggs straight from the refrigerator would cause the butter to harden into small bits. Use one large egg for every 1/3 cup milk in the batter. This makes a milk-heavy batter, which will give your French toast a creamy, custard-like interior. A batter with a greater proportion of eggs to milk will produce firmer, chewier French toast with a stronger egg flavor.

Add cinnamon and vanilla. Cinnamon lends subtle warming notes, while vanilla enhances sweetness and gives a greater depth of flavor to the batter and bread. Clean the skillet between batches. French toast is fried in butter, which burns easily. Use a paper towel to wipe out the pan between batches and start each batch with fresh butter to avoid a scorched flavor.

Cooks Tip

Soak just a few slices at a time. Work in batches, soaking only as many slices of bread as will fit in your skillet in a single layer. This will keep the bread from getting too soggy while it waits to go in the pan.

Tool Kit – Have these kitchen essentials on hand before you start the recipe:

• Measuring cups and spoons
• Serrated knife
• Baking sheets
• Small saucepan
• Medium bowl
• Whisk
• Large baking dish
• 12-inch skillet



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