According to a collection of recipes from the early fifth century AD, the dish recognisable as French toast could have been around as early as the Roman Empire. The Roman style of French toast, called Pan Dulcis, would see the bread soaked in a milk and egg mixture before being fried in oil or butter. Others believe the concept of French toast was created by Medieval cooks in Europe, who would need to use up every last bit of food to feed their families. No matter who created French toast, everyone can agree it is delicious. Here’s how to make the classic French toast according to BBC Good Food.
How to make the classic French toast
The phrase French toast first appeared in the Encyclopaedia of American Food and Drink in 1871.
It is known by a variety of other names including German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun’s toast, and pain perdu which means lost bread in French.
The name pain perdu derives from when people, historically, made French toast from stale bread in order to make use of bread that would otherwise have been thrown away.
In Scotland, French toast is traditionally served with sausage between two slices of French toast and eaten as a sandwich.
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For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 300ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- 4 thick slices white bread
- 2tbsp butter
- Topping of your choice
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In a wide dish, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla or cinnamon together.
Coat one side of the bread slices in the liquid, then carefully flip them over and leave them to soak for one to two minutes.
If the bread isn’t very fresh, you can leave it for a few more minutes.
You want the eggy milk mixture to be absorbed into the bread, but not so much that it falls apart.
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Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat, and add two slices of the soaked bread.
Cook for five minutes until golden.
Turn the French toast on the other side and cook for another five minutes.
Transfer to a plate and cook the other two slices in the rest of the butter.
Cut the bread on the diagonal and divide between two plates, then add your toppings.
A drizzle of honey or maple syrup works nicely, or a sprinkling of cinnamon mixed with sugar.
Add some jam, fruit compote or a few slices of fresh fruit or berries to spruce up your toast.
You can even turn it into a dessert by adding ice cream or creme fraiche. Enjoy!
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