French toast

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This article is about the food. For the band, see French Toast (band).
French toast
French toast served at a restaurant
Serving temperature Hot, with toppings
Main ingredients Bread, eggs
Cookbook:French toast  French toast

French toast, also known as eggy bread,[1] gypsy toast,[2] or omelette bread is a dish of bread soaked in beaten eggs and then fried.

History and names[edit]

The earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century; the recipe mentions soaking in milk, but not egg, and gives it no special name, just aliter dulcia "another sweet dish".[3] There is a fourteenth-century German recipe under the name Arme Ritter ("poor knights"),[4] a name also used in the Scandinavian languages.

In the fourteenth century, Taillevent presents a recipe for "tostées dorées".[5]

There are fifteenth-century English recipes for pain perdu [6] (French for "lost [or wasted] bread", suggesting that the dish is a use for bread which has gone stale).

Preparation and serving[edit]

French toast topped with fruit, butter and cream, served with maple syrup

Slices of bread are soaked or dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs, often with milk or cream. The slices of egg-coated bread are then fried on both sides until they are browned and cooked through. Day-old bread is often recommended by chefs because the stale bread will soak up more egg mixture without falling apart.[7]

The cooked slices can be covered with sweet toppings such as jam, honey, fruit[8] or maple syrup, or given a savory topping such as bacon, cheese or cold-cooked meats.


Hong Kong–style French toast served in cha chaan tengs. The toppings include syrup and a slab of butter.

Hong Kong–style French toast is listed at number 38 on the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[9] It is made by deep-frying stacked sliced bread dipped in beaten egg or soy, served with a slab of butter and topped with golden syrup, or sometimes honey. Two slices are normally used and a sweet filling is usually added.[10]

Torrija is a similar recipe traditionally prepared in Spain for Lent and Holy Week.

Rabanadas or Fatias Douradas is the Portuguese variation served with a Port Wine based syrup and prepared as dessert during Christmas period.

Pain perdu[edit]

In French speaking regions, French toast may be referred to as pain perdu, meaning "lost bread" in French. It is referred to as "lost bread" because it is a way to reclaim stale or otherwise "lost" bread. The hard bread is softened by dipping in a mixture of milk and eggs, and then fried.[11] The bread is sliced on a bias and dipped into a mixture of egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. The slices are pan-fried in butter and traditionally dusted with powdered sugar and served with jam or syrup on the side.

In France, pain perdu is considered to be a dessert, a breakfast, as well as an afternoon tea snack ("goûter").[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beckett, Fiona (18 September 2010). "Student cookbook: French toast (aka eggy bread)". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Mille (24 February 2002). "Gypsy Toast". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Joseph Dommers Vehling, trans., Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, Book VII, chapter 13, recipe 296 full text at Gutenberg
  4. ^ Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, quoting from the Buch von guter Spyse
  5. ^ Jérôme Pichon, Georges Vicaire, Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, 1892 p. 262
  6. ^ T. Austin, Two 15th-century Cookery-books, 1888, quoting a 1450 recipe, quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary
  7. ^ Alton, Brown. "French Toast-Food Network". 
  8. ^ "French Toast Toppings – Unique French Toast Recipes – Good Housekeeping". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  9. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11
  10. ^ CNN Go 40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-09
  11. ^ Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-19-280681-5. 
  12. ^ (French) Wikipedia article about the pain perdu

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]