Some Food Hacks for Perfect French Toast, Every Time

By : | 0 Comments | On : September 18, 2017 | Category : Food Hacks

Banana Bread Recipe

French toast is one of those things that everybody kind of knows how to make, but few people know how to do really well. And while the dish originally does hail from France (its original name, pain perdu, means lost or wasted bread), it has become a beloved American breakfast dish.

Here’s how to make sure that your French toast comes out with a crispy, crunchy exterior, a rich, creamy interior, and the right balance of custardy sweetness every single time.

Use High-Quality Bread with a Dense Crumb

Sure, just about any bread that’s dipped in an egg-based custard (aka soaking liquid) and fried in butter is going to taste good, but if you want your French toast to taste great, you want really, really good bread.

Challah, brioche, a loaf of traditional country white bread: something with a dense, almost cakey crumb is going to really soak up the custard so you can get the aforementioned creamy interior and crunchy exterior. Slice it thickly—about an inch wide works.

Good quality bread will make a big difference when it comes to how your French toast tastes.Image via
Leslie Unfinished
Make Sure the Bread Is Dry, Dry, Dry
Making French toast with fresh, soft bread usually means you end up with soggy slices. That bread needs to have some moisture removed to really cook up well. You can wait until the bread is stale, but if you’re trying to really impress folks, Cook’s Illustrated recommends cut your loaf into slices and drying it out. Why? Because stale bread is usually flavorless bread. If you buy a fresh loaf and dry it out yourself, you’ll still have that freshly made flavor.

It also means that you can really soak your bread in the egg mixture for that perfect custardy interior without having to worry that the bread will fall apart during the process.

Using wire racks ensures that your bread will dry out evenly.Image by James Ransom/
Food52
Bring Ingredients to Room Temperature
Don’t just bung cold milk and eggs into a bowl and start whisking away. Fine Cookingrecommends that those key ingredients be brought to room temperature so another key ingredient in the custard, melted butter, doesn’t become solid and grainy. You want all that rich flavor to be absorbed into the bread.

Bringing ingredients to room temperature takes longer than you think, so set your stuff out early.Image via Tiny Test Kitchen

They also recommend using 1/3 cup of milk to every egg in the soaking liquid. A custard that’s heavier on the eggs produces a firmer, chewier slice of French toast, while more milk gives that desirable custardy feel.

Here’s a tip: if you forget to set out your ingredients ahead of time, no problem. Run some hot tap water into a large, shallow container. Pour your milk into a tall container or glass (if it has a cover, even better). Place the container and your eggs in the hot water. The eggs will take about five minutes to get warm. The milk will take a little longer.

Use Only Egg Yolks, Not Whites, in the Soaking Liquid

Meanwhile, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated go one step further and say that you should only use egg yolks for the soaking liquid. Egg whites contain the sulfur compounds that give eggs their distinctive taste. Yolks alone are pretty much fat (as well as a lot of vitamin A, calcium, and iron), which will make your French toast taste ultra rich. If you’re not sure how to separate eggs, never fear: there’s an easy way.

Egg yolks solo have a lot going for them.Image by Jose115/Shutterstock

Frankly, I’m agnostic on this point—I think there are good arguments to be made for using the whole egg, since incorporating the whites usually means you have a firmer slice of toast that fries up nicely and holds its shape. Also, I’m not a big fan of egg white omelets and I don’t always want to make meringues, so separating the eggs means that most likely the egg white will go to waste, which I abhor.

If you do decide to use the whole egg, make sure you don’t skip the next step. It makes a huge difference.

Strain the Custard!

Slate recommends straining the soaking liquid before you put your bread in it, and I heartily agree. No matter how well you whisk, sometimes lumps of egg white remain in the custard. That means a few slices will end up coated in egg white rather than custard.

Ever noticed that pool of egg that sometimes extends from the bottom of your slice of French toast? That’s often unincorporated egg white. It’s also known as the “foot,” a term which is often used for macarons, too.

Those excess bits of egg hanging off the French toast are also known as feet in cooking parlance.Image via Porridge and Parsnips

When you take the time to strain the soaking liquid, you make sure that every piece of bread will be able to absorb that rich, flavorful custard you created.

Opt for Full-Fat Dairy in the Custard

Reduced fat milk will do in a pinch, but if you have the time to plan ahead, get full-fat milk and use melted butter in the custard. (I think heavy cream or half-and-half are overkill, though.) Remember, you want that rich, velvety mouth feel and pillowy texture. You’re only going to get that if you use quality ingredients that contain fat.

Organic whole milk from independent dairy Straus Family Creamery.Image via Good Eggs

Share This Post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.