A Family Man’s Guide to Cooking & Grilling: French Toast

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It’s breakfast time on Saturday morning, and kids are bouncing off the walls.  Here’s a simple French toast recipe I learned from a cook who used to work for me, when I managed a food service operation. 

1.  Ingredients: 

-Bread:  Since we try to keep our family healthy, I use whole wheat bread, but you can use what you want.  I plan on about 2-3 slices per kid.

-Eggs:  I never use egg beaters, or any of that stuff.

-Milk:  You can use whole, skim, or 1-2%.  Our family uses 1%, and it’s been fine.

-Cinnamon:  You’ll need lots of it

-Nutmeg:  This too

-Vanilla extract:

-Powdered sugar

-Pam or other cooking spray

-Syrup or honey

2.  Heat your pan on medium.  I use a cast-iron pan, because once it’s nice & warm, I don’t need to keep spraying it with Pam.  No secret here, but you want to make sure that your cookware is waiting for you—not the other way around.  Also, make sure it’s not set too high or you’ll burn your food.

3.  Mixing ingredients.  Over the years, I’ve had to experiment, but have found that for every 5 slices of bread, I need one egg.  So, I’ll use the one-egg ratio below, which should be enough to amply coat 5 slices of bread.  You can multiply this ratio for how many slices of bread you need to cook.

            One egg

            ¼ cup milk

            1 tsp vanilla extract

            1 tsp cinnamon (estimate)

            1 tsp nutmeg (estimate)

            1 tsp powdered sugar

4.  Mix the ingredients in the bowl & beat the snot out of them.  In my opinion, you cannot beat the egg enough, to make it fluffy enough for your French toast.  Also, look at the mixture—my source taught me that the batter should be almost brown with the cinnamon & nutmeg.  If it’s still light yellow, add more to it, until it looks thick—don’t worry, by the time you put it on your plate, what color the batter was won’t matter to your kids. 

5.  Dipping.  Make sure you dip just enough to coat the bread on both sides, but not so much that it’s soaked.  If you dip too much, you’ll have raw egg on the inside, or it’ll have too much cooked egg on it.  The whole goal of the egg is to get as much sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg on your toast.  You also don’t want to sell yourself short, or else you’ll end up pan-frying a piece of bread.  You’ll want to dip only the bread that you’re going to be putting on the pan.  Don’t dip everything & have it waiting to cook. 

6.  Cooking.  By this time, (3-5 minutes), your pan should be nice and hot (not too hot).  To test, take a drop of water or two and splash it on the pan.  It should dance nicely, but not too much (this is a skill that you develop over time).  Lightly spray the pan with your cooking spray (you can take it off the stove top to do this).  Dip your first slice of bread (both sides), and put it on the pan.  I always use my first piece to gauge whether it’s too hot or cold.  Adjust your temperature accordingly, but it should not take more than 2-3 minutes for the first side, and another 1 minute for the other side.  Remember, you’re cooking a light layer of fluffy egg batter, so you don’t need to cook any more—if you find that you’re doing so, make sure you’re not over-dipping the batter.

7.  Once you’ve got it going, keep on truckin.  After my first slice, I usually find that it takes about 10 minutes (two slices at a time) for me to cook enough for the family.  I keep a platter in the oven, set on the lowest temp, to hold my outgoing slices.  That way, if I’ve under cooked a slice, it’ll be fine by the time I serve it.  If the slices are properly cooked, they’ll just stay nice and warm.  When ready, bring the plate out to your family, and serve with a lot of butter, syrup (or powdered sugar, fruit, or honey).  Master this one guys, and Mama will never cook on weekends again!

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