Two slices of bread, untoasted (left) and toasted (right)
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Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning is the result of a Maillard reaction, altering the flavor of the bread as well as making it firmer so it holds toppings more securely. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable.
In a modern kitchen, the usual method of toasting bread is by the use of a toaster, an electrical appliance made for that purpose. To use a modern toaster, sliced bread is placed into the narrow slots on the top of the toaster, the toaster is tuned to the correct setting (some may have more elaborate settings than others) and a lever on the front is pushed down. The toast is ready when the lever pops up along with the toast. If the bread is insufficiently toasted, the lever can be pressed down again.
Bread can also be toasted under a grill (or broiler), in an open oven, or lying on an oven rack. Toaster ovens are special small appliances made for toasting bread or for heating small amounts of other foods.
Bread can also be toasted by holding it near but not directly over an open flame, such as a campfire or fireplace; special toasting utensils (e.g. toasting forks) are made for this purpose. Before the invention of modern cooking appliances such as toasters and grills, this was the only available method of producing toast.
Toast is most commonly eaten with butter or margarine spread over it, and may be served with preserves, spreads, or other toppings in addition to or instead of butter. Toast with jam or marmalade is popular. A few other condiments that can be enjoyed with toast are chocolate spread, cream cheese, and peanut butter. Yeast extracts such as Marmite in the UK, New Zealand and South Africa, and Vegemite in Australia are national traditions. Some sandwiches call for toast to be used rather than bread. The BLT is a prime example of this.
In the United Kingdom, a dish popular with children is a soft-boiled egg eaten with toast soldiers at breakfast. Strips of toast (the soldiers) are dipped into the runny yolk of a boiled egg through a hole made in the top of the eggshell, and eaten.
In southern Sri Lanka it is common for toast to be paired with a curry soup and mint tea.
Streetband released the novelty song Toast in 1978. The band attempted to use toast as an instrument, with the sound of toast being scraped used later in the track. Buttered toast is commonly featured in humour in the context of its rumored tendency, when dropped, to land with the buttered side to the floor (the least desirable outcome). See, for example, the buttered cat paradox. The phenomenon is widely believed to be due to the combination of the size of the toast and the height of the typical dining table, which means that the toast will not rotate far enough to right itself before encountering the floor ; however this is largely dependent upon the scenario (e.g. "flipping" overhanging toast from the table Am. J. Phys. 69 p. 38, January 2001, or throwing toast into the air) .
- The Teletubbies eat Tubby Toast.
Other foods which are toasted
- French toast
- Fried bread
- Kaya toast
- Melba toast
- Milk toast
- Texas toast
- Toast rack
- Toast sandwich
- "Warburtons web page for "Toastie"". Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- "Egg with Toast Soldiers". Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- Streetband on the Official Charts Company website, retrieved 26 May 2012
- Freeman, Bobby "First Catch Your Peacock," Y Lolfa Cyf, 1996,page 154. ISBN 0 86243 315 0
- Brocket, Jane, "Turkish delight & treasure hunts: Delightful treats and games from classic children's books," Penguin Group, 2009, no page number, eISBN 978-1-101-44325-5.
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