Today's recipe for Make-Ahead French Toast comes from About.com. (Link will take you directly to the recipe.)
This isn't our usual fare, but it is baked, and this was a slightly crazy week for Archi and myself, which threw Ruth and the others for a bit of a loop as well.
"French toast sounds interesting," Ruth remarked. "I don't think I've done that before. What is it? And why is it called 'French'?"
I blinked, a little surprised at the question. "Um, I'm not really sure. No one seems to know if it's actually a French recipe, and it's got several different names in various languages. The French themselves tend to call it 'pain perdu' which means something like 'lost bread'. It seems to have been invented originally to use up stale bread without it tasting stale."
"Reclaiming stale bread?" Ruth asked, sounding intrigued. "That sounds like a good recipe to know. May we try it?"
"Sure!" I agreed. "It works best with extra-thick cut bread, or dried out or stale bread. Probably work even better with thick-cut half-stale bread."
"All your bread is wrapped up in 'plastic', though," Ruth pointed out.
I smiled. "If I pull some bread out of its plastic and stick it in the oven, I can dry it out a little fairly quickly." Sticking it in the oven keeps anything from getting at it, but still lets it dry. If you really want to speed things up, put the oven on very low heat, about 200°F/95°C.
So, with our dried bread prepped, let's get started!
Ruth has the cinnamon and is standing on the brown sugar. Hi-chan has woven herself between the cream and vanilla to make sure Black has the eggs well in hand. One of the eggs rolled in front of the nutmeg and hit Red in the wing as he was wrangling the measuring spoons and measuring cup. "Hey!" Red objected. "Watch where you're rolling those!"
"It escaped, sorry!" Black apologized. "Why are you putting things in the baking dish anyway? Don't we need that to mix stuff in?"
"Oh yeah," Red answered sheepishly, picking the measuring spoons back up. "I forgot." Everyone started laughing.
"Well, it isn't like there's much counter space to put things on anyway," I reassure the small dragon.
It's probably a good thing the plastic wrap didn't get brought over--there's no space for it! Of course, we've also forgotten the whisk.
"Hi-chan!" Red objects, upset. "You were only supposed to add the nutmeg!"
"Sorry... I'll fish it out."
"No fish!" Red yelps. "Just nutmeg! And no spoon either!"
Hi-chan gives Red a confused look for a moment. "What fish? I'll get the spoon out. The nutmeg is in already at least, and there isn't anything else we need that measuring spoon for."
"Fortunately," I agree, grabbing the spoon before Hi-chan has a chance to. "And the spoon washes easily enough, Red, calm down." He continues pouting.
"Dry bread!" Black observes as she hops up on the end piece.
"So this is the kind of bread you use for 'French toast'?" Ruth asks, watching the others make a close inspection. "It looks like normal bread."
"That's sort of the point, Ruth," I explain. "Actually, you can make French toast with any kind of bread you want. This bread just caught my eye in the bakery section of the grocery store. Any slightly-dried bread will make decent French toast. I've heard of making it with cinnamon-raisin bread, which would give a really rich and very cinnamon flavor to it."
"Ooo, that sounds yummy," Hi-chan agrees. "Maybe we should try that sometime at home, Ruth!"
Ruth nods. "I'd have to scale the recipe up significantly, but it could be a good thing to add to the menu."
"It's made of dried-out bread," Red says, still trying to wrap his head around the idea. "This is definitely dry bread. Ruth usually throws away the dried-out bread. Mom saves it to feed to birds."
"You could probably feed half the birds in Draconaria City with the dried-out bread from Baked Treasure," Ruth remarks. "I'd rather let other people have a chance to feed the birds."
That's it for today! The next part will start in the morning...
You didn't really think I'd cut the post off there, did you? Of course not. From here on out, it's the
"No it doesn't," I tell him. "That's the point. Now we bake it."
Now they go back in the oven for 10 more minutes!