French toasts is a dish made from sliced bread soaked in a mix of eggs and milk which is then fried. However, the French call it “pain perdu”, which translated into English means “lost bread”. This is because leftover slices of bread or those that are becoming hard and stale are used to prepare this recipe. Therefore, this results to be a smart way not to waste food. So, where does this name come from?
According to the most popular legend, its name is said to be due to the innkeeper Joseph French. This man was the first to prepare this dish in the city of Albany, New York. The fact is that he wanted to capture his last name in his creation but forgot to use the apostrophe and named it “French Toast” instead of “French’s Toast”. But is this true?
Whether or not this is the way this recipe’s name became popular, the truth is that the first reference to this dessert is much older. It dates from the time of the Roman and was found in a fourth century cookbook attributed to Apicio. In this book there is a recipe called Pan Dulcis, and the steps that are described for its preparation are practically the same that have survived to the present day. Therefore, we are dealing with a recipe that has survived the passage of hundreds of years. Over the time it has become popular and different variants have been created throughout the globe.
Here we present the most classic version of the recipe, and we complement it with a series of ideas or recommendations to improve it to your liking.
Details of this French toasts recipe for 3 – 6 people.
6 thick slices of dough or sliced bread
200 ml of milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Butter (to fry)
Sugar and cinnamon (para espolvorear)
1 Beat the two eggs in a bowl.
2 Next add the milk, the two tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla extract, and beat until the mixture is homogeneous.
3 Put a pan over medium heat and place a piece of butter.
4 When the butter has melted spread each slice of bread in the mixture one by one on both sides. Immediately after that start to fry. It is important to moisten the bread slices lightly so that they do not fall apart. In addition, add more butter as needed.
5 Fry on both sides, until the egg is curdled and the toast turns golden.
6 Serve warm on a plate and sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on each prepared toast.
Ingredients to serve the recipe.
In the final step of this recipe we have sprinkled the toasts with cinnamon and sugar, but you can choose other types of ingredients such as fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, berries, blackberries, …), honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, liquid chocolate, liquid caramel, a splash of olive oil,… The possibilities are many and very different.
What kind of bread to use.
The classic type of bread used in this recipe is sliced bread. However, the recipe can be recreated with any other kindof bread. But a good tip that is usually given when preparing French toasts is that it is better to use thick bread or, otherwise, hard bread. This is because the toast can hold the egg and milk mixture better without cracking.