Category Archives: French Toast

Le pain perdu…

French Toast, Pain Perdu, or “Lost Bread.” I have posted many variations of this dish in the past but not in quite a while. This is a favorite breakfast of my son who is home from college for the holiday. And this is the variation that I made for him today…whole wheat French toast with blue-berry pineapple syrup. This is really easy and fun to make and people will likely be impressed that you made everything–even the syrup–from scratch. Anyhow, for recipes, lore, and “how-to” photos follow this link (scroll down).

Urban Simplicity.

Ezekiel French Toast with Pineapple Syrup and Caramelized Mango (recipe and pics)

Sometimes it pays off (for my son) to have a professional cook for a dad. French toast is his favorite breakfast and I make it for him every couple of weeks. I’ve posted many variations of this but this particular one is one of my favorites (to see other versions of this,  including more pics, directions, and brief histories of French toast, click here.). And like most of the recipes I post on this is just a guide…the bread, syrup, and  fruit are all interchangeable; only the method remains the same. Anyhow, here’s how to make it….
Begin by simmering a half-cup (or so) of your favorite juice with a tablespoon or two sugar (I use raw sugar, but it’s not necessary). When the juice takes on a syrup-like appearance it is done.
While the syrup is simmering mix together a couple eggs with a tablespoon or two of milk. Soak the bread for a few minutes and then cook it on both sides (in a tablespoon or two of butter and oil). Add the fruit to the pan as the taost cooks and caramelize that as well.
Transfer the toast and fruit to a plate and drizzle it with the syrup. Simple as that. The recipe, in fact, is really simple…but getting your teenage son to do the dishes; well…that’s another story. 

Egg Strata: Layers of Textures and Flavors

Strata < Latin strātum  literally, a cover, noun use of neuter of strātus,  past participle of sternere  to spread, strew, equivalent to strā-  variant stem + -tus  past participle suffix

Okay. Firstly, let me explain what this is. And by this I don’t mean classically (in the culinary world) but what it was to me; what it was for my dinner tonight. It was…well…a sort of look-in-the-fridge-and-make-make-something-out-of-it meal. Like much of the east coast we got hit with heavy snow today and I didn’t feel like going shopping after work. My son was out so I only had to cook for myself. So I checked my kitchen and I found some eggs, bread, onions, garlic, cheese, and a few broccoli stems (I ate the florets from them a few night ago). So this is what I made. A strata (culinarily speaking) is a cross between a frittata (or a quiche with the crust on the inside) and a sort of savory French toast. Interestingly, the French word for French toast is “pain perdu,” or lost bread, indicating the bread is stale and cooking it in that manner is a way of reclaiming it (or at least not wasting). And that’s exactly what this was tonight. This was really good and satisfying, and as far as the ingredients the sky really is the limit (but the contents of your fridge are the real limit). Anyhow, this couldn’t have been easier to make, and it hit the spot…thought I’d share the recipe.

Egg Strata with Caramelized Onion, Broccoli, and Whole Wheat Bread


Makes 1 serving


2 large eggs, mixed with a tablespoon of milk

1 slice whole wheat bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon crushed hot pepper

¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cooked broccoli

1 ounce cheddar cheese

Preheat an oven to 400F. Place the bread in a shallow bowl and pour the egg-milk mixture over it; turn the bread to coat both sides—allowing it to soak up the egg—and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook it until it just begins to caramelize. Add the garlic, hot pepper, and salt; cook another minute or two. Lift the soaked bread from the egg and lay it on the onions, then layer the broccoli on and around the bread. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the pan. Lay the cheese on top of the bread and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the strata for about 10 minutes, or until cooked throughout, slightly puffed, and golden brown.

Urban Simplicity.

Egg Strata: Layers of Textures and Flavors

Strata < Latin strātum  literally, a cover, noun use of neuter of strātus,  past participle of sternere  to spread, strew, equivalent to strā-  variant stem + -tus  past participle suffix

Okay. Firstly, let me explain what this is. And by this I don’t mean classically (in the culinary world) but what it was to me; what it was for my dinner tonight. It was…well…a sort of look-in-the-fridge-and-make-make-something-out-of-it meal. Like much of the east coast we got hit with heavy snow today and I didn’t feel like going shopping after work. My son was out so I only had to cook for myself. So I checked my kitchen and I found some eggs, bread, onions, garlic, cheese, and a few broccoli stems (I ate the florets from them a few night ago). So this is what I made. A strata (culinarily speaking) is a cross between a frittata (or a quiche with the crust on the inside) and a sort of savory French toast. Interestingly, the French word for French toast is “pain perdu,” or lost bread, indicating the bread is stale and cooking it in that manner is a way of reclaiming it (or at least not wasting). And that’s exactly what this was tonight. This was really good and satisfying, and as far as the ingredients the sky really is the limit (but the contents of your fridge are the real limit). Anyhow, this couldn’t have been easier to make, and it hit the spot…thought I’d share the recipe.

Egg Strata with Caramelized Onion, Broccoli, and Whole Wheat Bread 

Makes 1 serving
2 large eggs, mixed with a tablespoon of milk
1 slice whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed hot pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cooked broccoli
1 ounce cheddar cheese

Preheat an oven to 400F. Place the bread in a shallow bowl and pour the egg-milk mixture over it; turn the bread to coat both sides—allowing it to soak up the egg—and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook it until it just begins to caramelize. Add the garlic, hot pepper, and salt; cook another minute or two. Lift the soaked bread from the egg and lay it on the onions, then layer the broccoli on and around the bread. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the pan. Lay the cheese on top of the bread and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the strata for about 10 minutes, or until cooked throughout, slightly puffed, and golden brown.

Urban Simplicity.

Whole Grain Pancakes (a 3-in-1 recipe)

I’ve mentioned before that on Saturday mornings I often make my son French Toast for breakfast (click here for multiple recipes and photos) but today I made a variation…whole grain pancakes. And why I call this a 3-in-1 recipe is because of just that…I made three things out of one recipe. I often make and post recipes for bread on this blog where I use the same dough for a loaf of bread and pizza (click here for many recipes and photos) but today I also took a bit of the pre-ferment and autolyse (soaking flour) and made pancakes. Yum! Firstly, let me just say that pancakes are not my favorite food…not sure why, just don’t really care for them. But these were so delicious–if I do say so myself–that I ate half of them as they were coming out of the pan, sans syrup. I also topped them with fresh blueberries, caramelized banana, and pineapple syrup (click here for recipes one how to do this). This is an easy way to make pancakes using any of the whole wheat recipes you find on this blog…the next time I make Ezekiel Bread I’ll use some of it for these. Anyhow, the recipe for the bread dough and pancakes are below.
Whole Grain Pancakes
 Serves two
1/2 cup fully fermented whole-grain starter (see recipe below)
1/2 cup autolyse (hydrated flour…see recipe below)
1/4 cup milk (more if needed)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all of the ingredients together and cook in either butter or oil or a combination of both. Top with your favorite fruit and syrup (click here for syrup recipes).
Whole GrainBread
Makes 2 loaves
1 cup (6.6oz/187g) 7-grain mix
3 quarts (96floz/2.83L) water
____________
fully cooked grains
2/3 cup (5.3 oz/157ml) cookingliquid
2 cups (11oz/312g) whole wheatflour
2 teaspoons (.2oz/5.6g) instantyeast
____________
4 cups (21oz/595.3g) whole wheatflour
2 tablespoons (.5oz/14g) vitalwheat gluten
1 1/3 cups (10.5fl oz/315ml) cookingliquid
____________
1/4 cup (2fl oz/59.1ml) honey
1/4 cup (2fl oz/59.1ml) olive oil
3 teaspoons (.3oz/8.5g) instantyeast
3 teaspoons (.5oz/14.1g) koshersalt
Combine the grain and water in a mediumpot and bring to a boil; lower the heat to simmer and cook the ricefor about 45 minutes or until very soft. As the grain cooks add morewater to the pot as necessary because the cooking liquid, which isfull of nutrients, will become part of the recipe. After the grainsare cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to room temperature,refrigerating if necessary. Then drain it, squeezing it with yourhands or the back of a spoon, reserving the cooking liquid.
Place two bowlsside-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. Inone bowl combine the cooked and drained 7-grains with 2/3 cup (5.3oz/157ml) of the cooking liquid, 2 cups (11oz/312g) whole wheatflour, and 2 teaspoons (.2oz/5.6g) instant yeast. Stir just untilcombined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4cups (21oz/595.3g) whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons (.5oz/14g) vitalwheat gluten, and 1 1/3 cups (10.5fl oz/315ml) cooking liquid; stirjust until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not toget yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at roomtemperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment willbegin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and theautolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.
After an hour or so, combinethe ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixerfitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, olive oil, salt, and 3teaspoons (.3oz/8.5g) of yeast (add the yeast and salt on oppositesides of the bowl). Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover itloosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled inbulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30minutes. Turn the dough out onto afloured work surface and cut it into 2 pieces. Shape into loavesand place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves withplastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until doublein size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentationremains. Preheat an oven to 450f (232.2C). Bake the breads forabout 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (eitherwith ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every tenminutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and soundhollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allowthem to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Urban Simplicity.

Stuffed French Toast is Anything but "Lost"

Pictured on this post is a breakfast I made for my son (and a friend) and it’s his favorite…French Toast. I’ve posted numerous pictures and versions of this simple but delicious recipe in the past (click here), but what sets this one apart is that the toast is stuffed. As usual, I used homemade whole wheat bread (click here for a recipe) and made the syrup using a pineapple juice/sugar reduction into which I dropped a few blueberries just before serving (this adds not just flavor but also a bit of color to the syrup). I “stuffed” the bread with thin slices of ripe banana, and I use the word stuffed loosely because it it really more like an egg-dipped sandwich…slice the bread thinner than usual and dip it in an egg-mil mixture before making a sandwich with the fruit. And an important thing when cooking this is to do so over a very slow flame…you want the sandwich (toast) to heat through thoroughly not only to cook the raw egg but also this is what will hold it together. Lastly, what I meant by the title of this post–that this is anything but lost–is that it is really extravagant, and unlike it’s humble origins. The original French toast in New Orleans/Creole patois was called Pain Purdue, or “lost bread”…implying that it was made with old or stale bread (as not to waste it). Well, this bread was neither old or stale–nor were any of the other ingredients–hence, it was anything but lost. Urban Simplicity.

Whole Wheat French Toast with Pineapple Syrup and Caramelized Apple

This is a simple-to-make hearty and flavorful breakfast, and it also happens to be my son’s favorite (somewhat of a Saturday morning tradition). French toast can be made in any number of ways, but the key to a really good one is great bread and flavorful syrup…of course the syrup can be purchased but it is just as easy to make it at home in about 5 minutes. And to make homemade syrup is as simple as boiling fruit juice (I used pineapple juice toady, but any juice will do) until enough moisture evaporates and it becomes syrupy and the flavors are concentrated…this, after all, is how the maple syrup companies do it, but only on a large scale. Sometimes (often) I’ll “boost” the syrup’s sweetness with a tablespoon of sugar or honey; today I added sugar. While most of us recognize this recipe as French Toast (likely because of the custard the bread is soaked in), if you are a true Francophile you may know this as pain purdu, or “lost bread” because it is a great way to utilize stale–or lost–bread…but trust me, made with really good bread this is anything but lost. To see other versions of this with many more pictures f it being made, click here.

Urban Simplicity.