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French toast
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  • French toast

    Post #1 - April 19th, 2010, 4:52 pm
    Post #1 - April 19th, 2010, 4:52 pm Post #1 - April 19th, 2010, 4:52 pm
    Looking to make French toast this weekend for brunch! Is there a big difference as to what kind of bread you use? Some recipes call for brioche, others for challah, etc. Also, what's the difference between soaking the bread in whole milk versus half-and-half versus evaporated milk? Or does it really not matter?

    What kind of French toast do you like to eat? Type of bread? Any toppings? Stuffed?
  • Post #2 - April 19th, 2010, 6:39 pm
    Post #2 - April 19th, 2010, 6:39 pm Post #2 - April 19th, 2010, 6:39 pm
    I love french toast. I made brioche for the first time this summer... I know, I know, what took so long, right? French toast will never be the same. It was phenomenal. I use 2% milk, sometimes adding a bit of 1/2 and 1/2 if I need to use some up. That said, I've made it with all kinds of bread. If you want something nutty that you can put in to bake while you do other things, the pecan french toast in 150 Best Recipes is amazing.
  • Post #3 - April 19th, 2010, 6:46 pm
    Post #3 - April 19th, 2010, 6:46 pm Post #3 - April 19th, 2010, 6:46 pm
    IMO, bread makes a big difference, but it depends on what kind of french toast you like. My favorite french is made with a chewy french or italian-style bread, the kind with big bubbly holes in it: they tend to soak up custard like sponges but still retain some texture and chew (cut the crusts off if you're easily offended by crusts.) SWB will give you squishy french toast, more of a puddinglike texture which may not be a bad thing depending on your preference. Challah or brioche should give you something in between the two, leaning towards puddinglike.

    Have to say, I've never understood the trend to use croissants in bread pudding. Don't you end up with greasy stringy things?
  • Post #4 - April 19th, 2010, 7:29 pm
    Post #4 - April 19th, 2010, 7:29 pm Post #4 - April 19th, 2010, 7:29 pm
    My favorite recipe at Epicurious calls for a baguette. I usually skip the pecans and the blueberry syrup--just sprinkle blueberries on top prior to baking and use maple syrup.
    Reading is a right. Censorship is not.
  • Post #5 - April 19th, 2010, 8:46 pm
    Post #5 - April 19th, 2010, 8:46 pm Post #5 - April 19th, 2010, 8:46 pm
    I really love using either Greek-style sesame bread or La Brea sesame semolina bread for my French toast, in nice thick slices. Cooking and eating for one, I usually can't use up an entire loaf of the La Brea before it starts to get stale and needs refrigeration, but at that point, I have an excuse for French toast. I use Dr. Oetker vanillinzucker and almond extract in the egg mix. And for a nice finishing touch, sometimes I use rose hip syrup, or lime syrup, or -- my fave -- passion fruit syrup, not very sweet, that I make myself from frozen passion fruit puree, superfine sugar, Tahitian vanilla, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Happyhappyhappyhappy!!!!
  • Post #6 - April 19th, 2010, 10:36 pm
    Post #6 - April 19th, 2010, 10:36 pm Post #6 - April 19th, 2010, 10:36 pm
    Mhays wrote:IMO, bread makes a big difference, but it depends on what kind of french toast you like. My favorite french is made with a chewy french or italian-style bread, the kind with big bubbly holes in it: they tend to soak up custard like sponges but still retain some texture and chew (cut the crusts off if you're easily offended by crusts.)


    Ding ding! The bread makes all the difference, and we use the same bread (day or two old) as you for the exact reasons. In our house the thicker the crust the better too. The other thing I'll add is to take your time. Let the bread soak up the custard until well saturated. I also cook it slowly over low heat, to keep the custard as wubbly as possible.

    Jeff
  • Post #7 - April 19th, 2010, 11:36 pm
    Post #7 - April 19th, 2010, 11:36 pm Post #7 - April 19th, 2010, 11:36 pm
    Mhays wrote:
    Have to say, I've never understood the trend to use croissants in bread pudding. Don't you end up with greasy stringy things?


    I worked with a French pastry chef, Henri Mahler, who made a pretty spectacular chocolate croissant bread pudding. Not greasy, but buttery. He ground up day old Danish pastries to make rum balls. Nothing was thrown away. Old school. This guy knows every trick in the book. Spun sugar for 2500 - no problem!!

    :twisted:
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #8 - April 20th, 2010, 5:27 am
    Post #8 - April 20th, 2010, 5:27 am Post #8 - April 20th, 2010, 5:27 am
    I picked up a good trick from David Richards of Sweets & Savories a few years ago, when I worked with him at a demo at the Botanic Garden. A good slug of leftover Sauternes from the night before really enlivens the French toast (and I suppose makes it even more French). I've found that a bit of Vin Santo or sweet Marsala work very nicely, too.

    Also, it makes life much easier to mix up the custard and pour it over the bread the night before you plan to serve it, cover with foil, refrigerate it overnight, and bake and serve it en casserole, instead of frying it in the morning, a dreary task that doesn't produce nearly as nice a result. Using brown sugar instead of white gives it a lovely caramel-y flavor, too. Based on experience, I'd bake a nice sheet pan-full of bacon to go with it - they can bake at the same temperature, 375 degrees, for about the same amount of time, half an hour, give or take a few (remove the foil from the toast for about the last 10-15 minutes, to brown it nicely). Bust out some fresh-squeezed OJ - preferably squeezed by someone else - and you're ready to roll. This is a virtually effort-free way to make a relatively fancy breakfast for a lot of people in short order, and a good trick to have in the repertoire for when the holidays spring out at you.
  • Post #9 - April 20th, 2010, 5:32 am
    Post #9 - April 20th, 2010, 5:32 am Post #9 - April 20th, 2010, 5:32 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:Also, it makes life much easier to mix up the custard and pour it over the bread the night before you plan to serve it, cover with foil, refrigerate it overnight, and bake and serve it en casserole, instead of frying it in the morning, a dreary task that doesn't produce nearly as nice a result.

    That's bread pudding, not French Toast. As far as the result, I'm sure both are tasty, but pan-frying the custard-soaked bread in copious amounts of good butter is a whole different (and wonderful) thing. The above is not a shortcut, it's a different dish.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #10 - April 20th, 2010, 5:43 am
    Post #10 - April 20th, 2010, 5:43 am Post #10 - April 20th, 2010, 5:43 am
    The above is not a shortcut, it's a different dish.


    Disagree. The bread remains intact, is placed in the pan in one layer, and retains its integrity as a slice when removed from the pan; the bread for bread pudding is customarily cut into chunks, and has a tendency to compact into a solid mass while baking. Same ingredients, for the most part, but a completely different end product.

    If you want to argue this further, please take it up with Ina Garten.
  • Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 5:50 am
    Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 5:50 am Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 5:50 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:
    The above is not a shortcut, it's a different dish.


    Disagree. The bread remains intact, is placed in the pan in one layer, and retains its integrity as a slice when removed from the pan; the bread for bread pudding is customarily cut into chunks, and has a tendency to compact into a solid mass while baking. Same ingredients, for the most part, but a completely different end product.

    If you want to argue this further, please take it up with Ina Garten.


    I like this Ina Garten french toast recipe. You sure you dont mean Paula Deen? Big difference: one can cook, the other can't.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 6:01 am
    Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 6:01 am Post #12 - April 20th, 2010, 6:01 am
    spiffytriphy wrote:
    What kind of French toast do you like to eat? Type of bread? Any toppings? Stuffed?



    Recently tried this with great results:

    Bananas Foster French Toast
  • Post #13 - April 20th, 2010, 8:32 am
    Post #13 - April 20th, 2010, 8:32 am Post #13 - April 20th, 2010, 8:32 am
    That Ina Garten recipe is the recipe I have bookmarked for this weekend! Just not sure what kind of bread to use. Might increase the amount of orange zest, honey, and vanilla extract by a little? I saw other recipes use 2tbls of honey and 2tsp of vanilla extract for even less egg/milk mixture.

    I saw a recipe that tops the French toast with macerated strawberries so I'm considering topping my French toast with this?

    The bananas foster French toast looks delicious! Can you replace vanilla paste with vanilla extract and get similar results?

    Hesitant to bake my French toast b/c I fear it's going to be too soggy and/or too custardy. Maybe my fears are unwarranted? I will probably try baking a batch though b/c I'm curious to see how the results compare to pan frying.
  • Post #14 - April 20th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Post #14 - April 20th, 2010, 9:01 am Post #14 - April 20th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Can you replace vanilla paste with vanilla extract and get similar results?


    I think the answer is yes. The paste just gives you the visual appeal of the little flecks of vanilla bean in the sauce. Otherwise, they're pretty much interchangeable.
  • Post #15 - April 20th, 2010, 11:22 am
    Post #15 - April 20th, 2010, 11:22 am Post #15 - April 20th, 2010, 11:22 am
    sundevilpeg wrote:Also, it makes life much easier to mix up the custard and pour it over the bread the night before you plan to serve it, cover with foil, refrigerate it overnight, and bake and serve it en casserole, instead of frying it in the morning, a dreary task that doesn't produce nearly as nice a result. Using brown sugar instead of white gives it a lovely caramel-y flavor, too. Based on experience, I'd bake a nice sheet pan-full of bacon to go with it - they can bake at the same temperature, 375 degrees, for about the same amount of time, half an hour, give or take a few (remove the foil from the toast for about the last 10-15 minutes, to brown it nicely). Bust out some fresh-squeezed OJ - preferably squeezed by someone else - and you're ready to roll. This is a virtually effort-free way to make a relatively fancy breakfast for a lot of people in short order, and a good trick to have in the repertoire for when the holidays spring out at you.


    We do much the same thing for overnights, morning after New Year's Eve, etc.: crusty bread, cream, vanilla, eggs, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and some sliced Granny Smith apples. Always a hit.
    Coming to you from Leiper's Fork, TN where we prefer forking to spooning.
  • Post #16 - April 20th, 2010, 11:26 am
    Post #16 - April 20th, 2010, 11:26 am Post #16 - April 20th, 2010, 11:26 am
    Has anyone ever tried to make a savory french toast? We usually do casseroles as described above as stratas, almost always with bacon or sausage and herbs, no sugar. I wonder how that idea would work on a smaller scale? I guess the Monte Cristo is a hybrid of this idea - although the bread part is still sweet.
  • Post #17 - April 20th, 2010, 12:42 pm
    Post #17 - April 20th, 2010, 12:42 pm Post #17 - April 20th, 2010, 12:42 pm
    M, you've given me a great idea. Sweet Baboo is a big French toast fan, makes it for himself at least once a week. I usually steer clear because once he's topped it with sugar and maple syrup, it's fallen into the sweet breakfast category, and I am firmly in the salty/savory breakfast camp. But the other day I noticed that the aroma of French bread cooking has nothing sweet about it - and why should it? Eggs, milk, butter... so next time he makes a batch and offers me some, I'm going to say yes for a change and make a Monte Cristo or some other kind of sandwich with it.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #18 - April 20th, 2010, 7:22 pm
    Post #18 - April 20th, 2010, 7:22 pm Post #18 - April 20th, 2010, 7:22 pm
    Hesitant to bake my French toast b/c I fear it's going to be too soggy and/or too custardy. Maybe my fears are unwarranted?


    Your fears are unwarranted. :) A good basic recipe for Overnight French Toast can be found at the epicurious.com website - it's from a 1992 issue of Bon Appetit, and can be gussied up as you see fit (or just left alone, of course). The only changes I'd make to the basic recipe would be to to bake it longer at a lower temperature, so as to accomodate cooking bacon along with it (see my post above), and to halve the amount of butter listed. Give it a shot, and see what you think.
  • Post #19 - April 20th, 2010, 7:32 pm
    Post #19 - April 20th, 2010, 7:32 pm Post #19 - April 20th, 2010, 7:32 pm
    Ok! I will definitely try baking the French toast. This weekend will be pan fried. Next weekend will be baked. (Once I get on a kick, whether it be cupcakes, burgers, etc., I get obsessed with it and make/buy all different versions for the next few weeks/months haha).
  • Post #20 - April 21st, 2010, 11:45 am
    Post #20 - April 21st, 2010, 11:45 am Post #20 - April 21st, 2010, 11:45 am
    Challah
  • Post #21 - April 21st, 2010, 11:53 am
    Post #21 - April 21st, 2010, 11:53 am Post #21 - April 21st, 2010, 11:53 am
    Challah


    Second. More body and flavor than white bread, and slightly stale challah absorbs the custard better than French bread. Plus thick slices of challah are ideal for the baked version - the presentation looks great at the table, and each slice comes out of the casserole cleanly.
  • Post #22 - April 21st, 2010, 12:03 pm
    Post #22 - April 21st, 2010, 12:03 pm Post #22 - April 21st, 2010, 12:03 pm
    Ok! I will definitely try baking the French toast. This weekend will be pan fried. Next weekend will be baked.


    We've used this variant to great success:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/ ... oast-15213

    While technically more bread pudding than french toast, each slice of bread retains its integrity and when you invert it for serving you get a nice "creme brulee" presentation.
  • Post #23 - April 21st, 2010, 12:14 pm
    Post #23 - April 21st, 2010, 12:14 pm Post #23 - April 21st, 2010, 12:14 pm
    Mmm...that creme brulee French toast sounds good! You think it would be ok to substitute either brown sugar or honey for the corn syrup? Or would that ruin the outcome?
  • Post #24 - April 21st, 2010, 12:38 pm
    Post #24 - April 21st, 2010, 12:38 pm Post #24 - April 21st, 2010, 12:38 pm
    You think it would be ok to substitute either brown sugar or honey for the corn syrup? Or would that ruin the outcome?


    Never gave it any thought (I've had the same bottle of Karo forever, don't recall ever using it for any other recipe). Can't imagine that it would be a problem to omit it.

    And we use French bread usually, it's such a rich recipe that anything more (e.g. challah) would be overkill. That is, unless you like overkill.
  • Post #25 - April 21st, 2010, 12:50 pm
    Post #25 - April 21st, 2010, 12:50 pm Post #25 - April 21st, 2010, 12:50 pm
    Yeah lol I've never used corn syrup before and don't foresee using it in the future unless I want to make many many batches of that French toast haha
  • Post #26 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:40 am
    Post #26 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:40 am Post #26 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:40 am
    We typically buy challah to make French Toast -- I don't really use anything else for it these days.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #27 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:53 am
    Post #27 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:53 am Post #27 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:53 am
    You think it would be ok to substitute either brown sugar or honey for the corn syrup? Or would that ruin the outcome?


    I always skip on the HFCS and add in honey/maple syrup in it's place. I also half the amount of honey/maple/brown sugar then what is called for in HFCS.
  • Post #28 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:55 am
    Post #28 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:55 am Post #28 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:55 am
    Shaggywillis wrote:
    You think it would be ok to substitute either brown sugar or honey for the corn syrup? Or would that ruin the outcome?


    I always skip on the HFCS and add in honey/maple syrup in it's place. I also half the amount of honey/maple/brown sugar then what is called for in HFCS.


    Corn syrup is not HFCS.
  • Post #29 - April 23rd, 2010, 2:02 pm
    Post #29 - April 23rd, 2010, 2:02 pm Post #29 - April 23rd, 2010, 2:02 pm
    scrape a little fresh nutmeg into your custard. gives it an amazing doughnutty flavor.
  • Post #30 - April 24th, 2010, 8:56 am
    Post #30 - April 24th, 2010, 8:56 am Post #30 - April 24th, 2010, 8:56 am
    Corn syrup is not HFCS


    When I last read the back of my Karo bottle (haven't had one in the house for years, so perhaps it's changed) the first ingredient was high-fructose corn syrup. I think it might have had regular corn syrup after that, but I can't recall. Most corn syrup on the shelves is HFCS.
    Katherine

    Everyone has a price: mine is chocolate.

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