Monday, January 01, 2007

Bittman's Bread Breeds Fine French Toast

Happy New Year!

I have had French Toast three times in the last 20 years and, not coincidentally, all three were in the last three weeks. Why? Mark Bittman's Bread, which I have already discussed, is the key to both savory and sweet breads that make Fine French Toast.

Savory: To the basic recipe (3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 2 (yes two) tsp salt), add 1/2 cup freeze dried chives (from Penzeys, if you need a source  and 1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes.

Sweet: To the basic recipe (3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 2 tsp salt), add 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 cup of the dried fruit of your choice. My choice was dried cherries, but had I been able to find raisins that appeared to have had a life in this decade, I'd have used raisins, also. One caveat: the cherries or raisins on the outside of the dough will burn into crispy critters on the sides of your cast iron casserole. Soak, scrub and make more bread!

French Toast: On the off chance that you have leftover bread, or if your plan is to make French Toast, leave the loaf out unwrapped overnight. Slice the bread as thick or thin as you like. Beat 1-2 eggs per person with salt, pepper, cream (for decadence, if available) or milk, and your choice of herbs and/or hot sauce for savory or sugar and cinnamon (or nutmeg or 5-spice...) for sweet. Soak the slices, turning once or twice, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Heat some butter in a pan (non-stick makes less mess), drop the slices into the butter, reduce the heat to low and cook about 5 minutes per side -- more if you like it crisp, less if you like your eggs and toast runny.

One more reason to bake bread every day. Thank you -- hats off again -- to Mark Bittman!

No comments: