Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Hump-Day Quickie: Even the hardest stale bread can become French Toast!

These days, it's easy to forget that French toast is one of those recipes that started off as a way to make past-their-prime foods into something nice. Long before we started just randomly battering sandwich bread because it's delicious that way, French toast was a way to get the most tooth-breakingly hard stale bread to become edible again- that's why so many recipes will tell you to put soak the bread overnight. 

However, what does one do when you just found the petrified heels of a long-eaten bread loaf in the back of the refrigerator but most French toast recipes assume you have the rest of the loaf? Or when you just want to fix something nice for yourself but don't want to make enough to feed four people?

Easy French Toast
Sliced bread (if it has gone stale and very hard, it's still just fine for this)
Pancake mix (the kind where you only need to add water)

Make a batter of the pancake mix, using enough water to make it a little bit too runny for pancakes. Prepare just enough to soak the bread in. Pour it all over the bread, making sure each slice is well coated. If the bread is hard, soak it in the refrigerator overnight to soften.
Cook on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat until both sides are golden. Serve with your favorite syrup.
Because there's no eggs or tiny teaspoons of ingredients to subdivide, you can easily make French toast out of just one or two bread slices if you like.

These bread-stones came from one of those multi-grain, multi-seed loaves that use half the space on the wrapper saying how they're so nutritious that you'll lose 15 pounds and have better eyesight from the superfood onslaught. But by the time I found them, they were hard and brittle. But every time you eat food instead of waste it, you keep money from going into the trash. However, what sort of soaking batter could we make in a small enough quantity to avoid wasting a whole lot of excess? Pancake mix!

Those twist-ties were surprisingly well entangled.

I like the just-add-water pancake mixes a lot because you can make just one or two for yourself. Heck, if you wanted to make just one 2-inch pancake, you can easily reconstitute a tiny smidge of powder without trying to get out a pancake recipe and figure out what one sixteenth of an egg would look like. Or, for today's purposes, you can make just enough of it to immerse two slices of bread.

In the morning, the bread had miraculously reconstituted and seemed as fresh as when it was purchased (albeit a little soggy). It had absorbed so much water that our batter was now paste. 

And now, we get to the other reason I wanted to make French toast out of this bread that most people would have thrown away: a cast iron griddle turned up in one of the cabinets! Finding such lovely things makes me want to use them as soon as I can find a recipe that makes a good excuse.

One of the bread pieces tore apart after soaking all night.  That's an encouraging sign that the bread, which earlier was as hard as the plate we set it on, was now soft enough to accidentally tear.


Looks like chicken-fried steak, doesn't it?


And so, we are excited to let you know that if you have just-add-water pancake mix and inedibly stale bread, you can turn it into a lovely first thing to eat in the morning. You might be wondering why we didn't just chuck the bread and make pancakes, but that would mean not getting any French toast.

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