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French toast

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Title: French toast  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Bing sutt, IHOP, Fast food, Cha chaan teng, Bread
Collection: Bread Dishes, Breads, Custard Desserts, Egg Dishes, Toast Dishes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

French toast

French toast
French toast served at a restaurant
Serving temperature Hot, with toppings
Main ingredients Bread, eggs, often milk or cream
Cookbook: French toast 

French toast, also known as eggy bread,[1] German toast,[2][3] gypsy toast,[4] or Spanish toast,[3] is a dish made of bread soaked in beaten eggs and then fried.


  • History and names 1
  • Preparation and serving 2
    • Variations 2.1
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

History and names

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".[5]

Under the names suppe dorate, soupys yn dorye, tostées dorées, and payn purdyeu, the dish was widely known in medieval Europe. For example, Martino da Como offers a recipe. French toast was often served with game birds and meats. The word "soup" in these names refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop.[6]

A fourteenth-century German recipe attributes the name Arme Ritter ("poor knights"),[7][3] a name also used in the Nordic languages. Also in the fourteenth century, Taillevent presented a recipe for "tostées dorées".[8]

There are fifteenth-century English recipes for pain perdu[9] (French for "lost [or wasted] bread", suggesting that the dish is a use for bread which has gone stale).[10][3]

An Austrian and Bavarian term is "pavese", perhaps related to pavise (a kind of wooden shield) or to zuppa pavese, both referring to Pavia, Italy.

Preparation and serving

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.[11]

The cooked slices can be covered with sweet toppings such as jam, honey, fruit[12] or maple syrup, or served as a savory dish with ketchup or another sauce.


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

In French speaking regions, French toast is referred to as pain perdu, meaning "lost bread", so called 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. 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. Pain perdu may be eaten as a dessert, a breakfast, or an afternoon tea snack ("goûter").[13]

Hong Kong–style French toast is listed at number 38 on the World's 50 most delicious foods compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[14] 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.[15]

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

See also


  1. ^ Beckett, Fiona (18 September 2010). "Student cookbook: French toast (aka eggy bread)".  
  2. ^ Farmer, Fannie Merritt (1918). The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown; republished at, 2000. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d  
  4. ^ Mille (24 February 2002). "Gypsy Toast". Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Joseph Dommers Vehling, trans., Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, Book VII, chapter 13, recipe 296 full text at Gutenberg
  6. ^ Odile Redon, et al., The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy, 2000, p. 207f
  7. ^ Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm.  
  8. ^ Pichon, Jérôme; Vicaire, Georges (1892). Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent. p. 262. 
  9. ^ Austin, T. Two 15th-century Cookery-books, 1888, quoting a 1450 recipe, quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary
  10. ^ Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 102.  
  11. ^ Alton, Brown. "French Toast-Food Network". 
  12. ^ "French Toast Toppings – Unique French Toast Recipes".  
  13. ^ (French) pain perduWorldHeritage article about the
  14. ^ CNN Go World's 50 most delicious foods 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11
  15. ^ "40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without", CNN Go, 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-09

Further reading

  • Claiborne, Craig (1985). Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Food Encyclopedia. New York: Times Books.  
  • Farmer, Fannie (1918). The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 
  • Mariani, John F. (1999). The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. New York: Lebhar-Friedman.  
  • Redon, Odilie (1998). The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.  

External links

  • From Lost Bread to French Toast
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