Food

I’m a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family’s simple French-toast recipe.

  • I work as a professional chef, but my mom’s French-toast recipe is still one of my favorites.
  • The recipe calls for day-old sourdough bread, which gives the dish a unique and delicious flavor.

I’m a professional chef, but my favorite recipe for French toast is the one my mom made me as a kid.

She used to whip some up on busy mornings for a quick breakfast, sometimes wrapping an extra slice in a napkin for me to eat on the walk to the bus.

Here’s the recipe.

Day-old sourdough bread is the key ingredient

I'm a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family's simple French-toast recipe.

© Alissa FitzgeraldI’m a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family’s simple French-toast recipe.

When you hear French toast, you might picture pillowy challah or even fried pieces of diner-style white bread covered in butter and syrup.

As a kid, my mom was trooped to the Lower East Side of Manhattan by my grandpa, who craved the hearty bread his Ukrainian grandmother used to buy.

Because of this, French toast has always meant good sourdough bread to me. The tang perfectly offsets sweet maple syrup and a pat of salty butter.

French toast is also called “pain perdu” or lost bread. “Lost” refers to the fact that day-old (or two-, three-, or four-day-old) bread is best.

Old bread is dry, and when dipped in the egg mixture, it absorbs the flavors marrying the rich with the chewy.

Equally important to the bread is the quality of the egg mixture

I'm a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family's simple French-toast recipe.

© Alissa FitzgeraldI’m a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family’s simple French-toast recipe.

When making pain perdu, fresh eggs matter, as does a pinch of salt.

The salt helps break the yolk and white down. When it’s whipped gently with a bit of milk (or milk substitute), it combines into a frothy mixture that absorbs into the dry bread like a dream.

I'm a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family's simple French-toast recipe.

© Alissa FitzgeraldI’m a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family’s simple French-toast recipe.

Add a touch of cinnamon and you’ve got the makings of a truly memorable breakfast that won’t fall apart in the pan or under the weight of maple syrup.

Although the leftovers keep well (Monte Cristo sandwich anyone?), a single serving can be made with just one egg and two slices of toast.

I'm a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family's simple French-toast recipe.

© Alissa FitzgeraldI’m a chef. Everyone should know how to make my family’s simple French-toast recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 thick slices of (at least) day-old bread
  • Salted butter
  • Maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. For the egg mixture, grab a flat dish (like a pie pan) and crack the egg. Add a pinch of salt and the milk, and beat with a fork until combined and gently frothy.
  2. Add the bread to the egg mixture and let sit for at least five to 10 minutes on each side until the mixture is absorbed.
  3. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium to low heat until it starts to brown. Slide in the egg-soaked bread and let cook for about three minutes until brown on one side. Flip to the other side and cook through for another three to five minutes.
  4. Serve warm with real maple syrup and more butter.

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