French toast

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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.

When French toast is served as a sweet dish, milk, sugar, vanilla or cinnamon are also commonly added before pan-frying, and then it may be topped with sugar (often powdered sugar), butter, fruit, or syrup. When it is a savory dish, it is generally fried with a pinch of salt, and can then be served with a sauce such as ketchup or mayonnaise.[3][better source needed]

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".[4] There is a 14th-century German recipe under the name "Arme Ritter" "poor knights",[5] a name also used in the Scandinavian languages.

In the 14th century, Taillevent presents a recipe for "tostées dorées".[6]

There are 15th-century English recipes for "pain perdu"[7] (French for "lost [or wasted] bread", suggesting that the dish is a use for bread which has gone stale).

Various versions of French toast under a variety of names—"suppe dorate", "soupys yn dorye", etc.—were prepared throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. They were sometimes served with game birds.[8] An Austrian and Bavarian term is "Pavese", perhaps related to a kind of wooden shield or to zuppa pavese, both referring to Pavia, Italy.

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.[9]

The cooked slices can be covered with sweet toppings such as jam, honey, fruit[10] or maple syrup, or given a savory topping such as bacon, cheese or cold-cooked meats.


Stuffed French toast is a sandwich of two pieces of French toast filled with bananas, strawberries, or other fruit. It is usually topped with butter, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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 France, Belgium, New Orleans, Acadiana and the Congo, French toast is called pain perdu, which means "lost bread" in French. It is called "lost bread" because it is a way to reclaim stale or "lost" bread. The hard bread is softened by dipping in a mixture of milk and eggs, and then fried.[14] 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 New Orleans, pain perdu is a local variation of French toast and often shows up on menus as "Lost Bread". It is made from leftover New Orleans–style French bread. The bread resembles a French baguette, but has a crunchier exterior and a lighter interior and is usually fried in oil. It is eaten for breakfast in New Orleans.

In France, pain perdu is considered to be a dessert, a breakfast as well as an afternoon tea snack ("goûter").[15]

In Quebec, French toast is called pain doré, which means "golden bread".

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. ^ Asha. "French Toast Recipe". Delicious Indian Recipes. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Joseph Dommers Vehling, trans., Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, Book VII, chapter 13, recipe 296 full text at Gutenberg
  5. ^ Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, quoting from the Buch von guter Spyse
  6. ^ Jérôme Pichon, Georges Vicaire, Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, 1892 p. 262
  7. ^ T. Austin, Two 15th-century Cookery-books, 1888, quoting a 1450 recipe, quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary
  8. ^ Odile Redon, et al., The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy, 2000, p. 207f
  9. ^ Alton, Brown. "French Toast-Food Network". 
  10. ^ "French Toast Toppings - Unique French Toast Recipes - Good Housekeeping". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  11. ^ Recipes : Stuffed French Toast : Food Network
  12. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11
  13. ^ CNN Go 40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-09
  14. ^ Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-19-280681-5. 
  15. ^ (French) Wikipedia article about the pain perdu

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]