Monday, May 31, 2010

The Zen of French Toast . . .

French Toast is something I have a passion for, because when it's done right, it's like a little bit a nirvana right there in your mouth.  The trick is, it isn't something you just whip up in a jiffy.  After all, it's toast, NOT popcorn!  Like with good Fried Rice, at the absolute minimum, you need to start the day before.  Really.  Doesn't matter if you are starting with homemade bread, or stuff from the store, you need to pick the number of slices you're going to want, and place them on the rack in a cold oven and walk away.  Thats right, just close the door, forget about it and walk away.  Because I'm telling on the most over looked part of really good french toast is the bread.

Secret Number one:  Stale bread.

It's such and easy part that folks overlook it.  Heck, I don't even know how many people know that French Toast was, is, like Fried Rice, a way to get more life out of left overs.  Day old bread is vital to good French toast.  So if you leave it overnight in the oven and let it get all dried out and hard, it makes much better French toast.  In fact if it's close to ready be turned into bread crumbs, then it's ready to be French toast.

Secret Number two:  Foam!

Whatever you use in terms of ingredients you need to whip it up into a foam.  Can't just mix it up so the ingredients are stirred.  Well I suppose you can, but it works better if you really work it up onto a lather.  Be it with a fork, or a whisk, really beat that batter into a foam.  Put some energy into it, because the friction and motion causes the ingredients to mix better, and the proteins to bond.  Foaming ot, does a better job of breaking the ingredients down so they can bond.

Secret Number three:  Don't cook it too fast.

Starting with the dried break and letting it really soak up the mixture, means you need to heat it properly so that the mixture gets properly cooked all the way through.  Keep in mind that undercooked eggs can be terribly unhealthy.  So if the pan is too hot, the outside is going to burn before the inside is fully cooked.

So it's like meditation, mindfulness, taking the slow, deliberate approach to making French Toast.  Putting the love into the food like my Mom always did.  And that's how you get the truly amazing Mouthgasm French Toast.  That's the Zen of French Toast.


Véronique said...

I've never heard of turning stale bread into French toast. Bread pudding, yes, but this one is new to me. I'm thinking I'll stick with the Joy of Cooking on this one, since I already love the French toast I so rarely make (and all the more because it's a rare indulgence). I agree about slow cooking, though. You want it to cook through, not burn on the outside.

alan said...

I was thinking this afternoon it had been a long time since I made any French Toast...

Must be I was reading your lovely mind!