Wednesday, July 17, 2013

French Toast Face Off

I was now down to a little over a foot-and-a-half left of my once four foot baguette, and the bread was now sufficiently stale to make French toast. But which French toast?

Molly from Orangette swears by frying her French toast in oil whereas the popular consensus is to use butter.  I decided to compare the two for myself, taking the extra step of browning the butter first for some added flavor.  And since I had some leftover bacon fat from making the BLTs, I figured I'd try frying some French toast in that as well.  What we have now, my friends, is a French Toast Face Off.

As you can see, isn't a lot of difference in the three visually.  But once I started eating them, there was a world of a difference.  The browned butter-fried French toast was the most unremarkable of the three.  It didn't taste bad, it just didn't shine, and I couldn't even really taste the browned butter (although that might just be me because I can almost never taste browned butter).

The winner of the three in terms of flavor was definitely the bacon fat-fried French toast.  This may come as no surprise since I love bacon, and you could definitely taste the smoky, salty flavor come through in full force here.

But the overall winner for me was the oil-fried French toast.  This was the only French toast that developed a really nice crispy crust while retaining a soft, custardy interior.  For me, texture trumped flavor.  And if I really wanted bacon flavor with my French toast, I could just, you know, eat it with bacon.  =)

French Toast (adapted from Orangette)
Serves 1-2

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
6 to 8 day-old baguette slices, cut on the diagonal, about 3/4 inch thick
Canola or other flavorless oil
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Whisk together the first five ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl.

Place a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over low to medium heat, and add enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the skillet.

Two or three at a time, add the bread slices to the egg mixture in the bowl, allowing them to rest for a minute or two on each side. They should feel heavy and thoroughly saturated, but they should not be falling apart.

When the oil is hot, place the slices in the skillet. They should sizzle a bit, and the oil should bubble lightly around the edges of the bread; take care, however, that the oil is not too hot, lest the egg mixture burn.

Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the bread, and cook until the second side is golden, another 2 minutes or so.

Remove the bread from the skillet to a plate lined with a paper towel, allow to rest for 30 seconds or so, and serve immediately—with maple syrup, of course.

Next:  Vanilla Sugar Lemonade and Mint Lemonade Slushies
Previously:  Panzanella


  1. Mmm, I love French toast! And this was such a clever post, Joy!

  2. Stumbles across your blog and love it. When you go to San Fran next there is a place called the Country Inn in Fremont that has killer French toast that I cannot seem to figure out...