08 June 2023

Pain Perdu - French Toast - Eggy Bread

Pain Perdu - French Toast - Eggy Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com


My family called it French Toast. Though my English grandmother might have known it first as Eggy Bread, she would have quickly adopted French Toast since she was a fervid Francophile. Mr Delightful's family from Québec probably called it Pain Doré (golden bread).

Whatever you call it, it is at once simple and basic and rather elegant and special. It is best made with a sturdy bread that is not too fresh. Fresh bread does not stand up well to soaking. If your bread is fresh, lay the slices on a plate the night before and leave them uncovered in your cold oven overnight.

I make a couple of homemade breads that are especially good for Pain Perdu - French Toast: Fallue - The Traditional Norman Brioche and Classic White Sandwich Bread, and also a variation of it about which I will post next time. 

French Toast is all about the texture—and it's easy to get it wrong—dry with crispy edges on the outside and soft and creamy, but never soggy, on the inside. Time and temperature are the two keys to the proper texture. Doing it properly only takes about 15 minutes, so don't rush it.

And resist the temptation to overdo the sugar and flavorings. This is breakfast, not dessert. I just use the teaspoon of sugar to moosh up the spices so they blend in. If you just add them to the batter, they will float on top. 

What did your family call this popular brunch dish?

Update 07/13/23: Here is my favorite bread for French Toast, the bread used in these photos, Pullman Loaf - Pain de Mie.
 

Pain Perdu - French Toast - Eggy Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Pain Perdu - French Toast


(Makes 4 slices)

1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, mace, or cardamom
2 large eggs (medium in UK and some other places)
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) whole or 2% milk*
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 3/4-inch (2 cm) slices of brioche or challah or other good bread a few days old (I used a homemade white bread)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1 In a tiny bowl, combine well the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and spices (this helps prevent the spices floating on top of the batter). In dish large enough to hold the four slices of bread, thoroughly whisk together the eggs and sugar mixture; then whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. But don't soak the bread yet.

2 Lightly oil the griddle (I use about 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil on my All-Clad 11-inch nonstick griddle) and heat over medium heat. As with pancakes, preheating the griddle properly is a must; it takes about 5 minutes, not a minute less. Don't try to speed it up by turning the heat on high, especially if you're using a nonstick griddle. And I give it an extra minute when the bread I use takes 6 minutes to soak.

Note: Unlike with other pans, never preheat a nonstick pan empty or over high heat. Rub a little oil or butter (I use about 1/2 teaspoon) onto the cold pan—don’t use cooking spray—and heat over low to moderate heat. With proper care, a good nonstick pan can last for many years. My griddle is more than ten years old and gets used every week, but due to proper use and care is just like new.

3 During the 5- or 6-minute preheating, whisk the egg mixture again and add the bread slices to the dish. Soak the bread for 3 minutes* on each side. Nearly all of the liquid will be absorbed.

Note: As I said in the post, that time is for the specific bread I used. If you're using a different bread, you'll have to experiment and see what works best for that bread. 

4 Put the butter on the griddle and brush to cover the surface. Place the soaked bread slices on the griddle and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Use a pastry brush to redistribute the butter on the pan again as you turn each slice. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the second side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat even more if they are browning too quickly because you want to get the inside of the toast cooked well.

Note: Test a "corner" and see if the inside is properly cooked. If not, you can finish off over very low heat or in the oven; and you'll know for next time to adjust your soaking time and cooking time and temperature accordingly for that particular bread.

5 Serve with more butter (or not) and warmed real maple syrup or jam. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees at no cost to you by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 


Jean

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36 comments:

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I always call it pain perdu, partly because I'm pretentious and partly because eggy bread was unknown in my house when I was growing up. (It was considered a bit too exotic, so we just ate stale bread). Yours looks lovely. I particularly like plenty of vanilla and a good maple syrup to serve. Excellent use of fallue may I say.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

"Partly because I'm pretentious"—what a hoot! Thanks, Phil. Love that fallue. When I make it, I set aside a few slices for pain perdu.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

What did my family call it? I think they called it “The-Waffle-House-for-Breakfast.” Didn’t get a lot of play on our menu. But somewhere along the line, I discovered pecan waffles and conscripted it into my bachelorhood (also good with corn). Dry-soggy kind of lose their parameters in that rendering, as I slather on the butter and syrup (mea culpa) to saturation limits. Yes…dessert. Early in the day. I ain’t sorry. Of course, your touch has me admiring the other side of the street. Looks delish. I do think the French nomenclature needs broadening, however. Any item that begins with “pain” isn’t going to travel well in the anglicized world.

Prims By The Water said...

We love French Toast around here! Janice

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sully. Since French 'pain' is pronounced like 'pan,' I just think of bread pans, cake pans, pie pans, it's all good! And a few toasted pecans would not go amiss atop my pain perdu!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Janice, you could cook your French Toast in a 'primitive' manner, over a fire, in keeping with your interest in primitive crafts! Thanks for commenting.

ellen b. said...

Whatever you call it, it looks delicious. Hope all is well.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Ellen. Happy Summer!

Lorrie said...

We call it French Toast. I love the French name, Pain Perdu or Lost Bread, as it was traditionally made with stale bread.

By the way, I recently made your Browned Butter Rhubarb Cake - a yearly tradition around here!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Lorrie. I love knowing what things are called in different places. And thank you for telling me about your yearly tradition of making my cake!

David Scott Allen said...

I have thought of posting on pain perdu/French toast - and was going to call the post: Rechercher de Pain Perdu. I heard it would have been lost in translation! I love making it, especially with homemade pain de mie. It is so good! Thanks for your recipe with the extras -- I will definitely try it this summer.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, David. My next post will be my homemade pain de mie, pictured in this post. You gave me a giggle with your proposed title!

Betsy said...

We grew up calling it egg bread made with stale bread. We would sprinkle confectioner's sugar on it, had bacon on the side. Your post now has made me want to make some.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Betsy, thank you. I love learning all the different names people have for foods. A sprinkle of confectioner's sugar sounds good, as does bacon, of course!

Jeanie said...

Your recipe sounds much the same as mine -- and it is a winner! (Especially with wonderful challah!)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Jeanie!

Dee | GrammysGrid.com said...

Hubby and grandbabies would enjoy this recipe! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 116. Pinned.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Dee! Much appreciated.

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

I've seen a lot of mentions in literature of eggy bread so I've always been interested to know what it is. Thanks for sharing at #WowOnWednesday.

TONY said...

Bonjour mon cher Jean. J'aime ton aventure dans la cuisine Française. Je m'excuse de ne pas avoir commenté plus tôt. La vie s'en mêle parfois.

.........that took some effort!! ha! ha!

Have visited France, Jean? Food is life in France. Actually thinking about it, without food you are dead. Oh well, great recipe onec again.

Prends soin de toi. Tony

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Gail, thank you! So glad to know my post was "educational"!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oui, mon cher Tony. "La vie s'en mêle parfois." Indeed it does! That's why I only post once a month now! 😊

Madalaine said...

This Pain Perdu (French Toast/Eggy Bread) recipe from Delightful Repast sounds absolutely amazing! The combination of thick slices of bread soaked in a rich, eggy mixture and then cooked to golden perfection creates a breakfast delight. The presentation is mouthwatering, with the perfectly browned French toast served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of syrup. The preparation process seems simple yet indulgent, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a comforting morning treat. It's a recipe that captures the essence of classic French toast and promises to start your day off with a delicious and satisfying meal.

Madalaine said...

This Pain Perdu (French Toast/Eggy Bread) recipe from Delightful Repast sounds absolutely amazing! The combination of thick slices of bread soaked in a rich, eggy mixture and then cooked to golden perfection creates a breakfast delight. The presentation is mouthwatering, with the perfectly browned French toast served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of syrup. The preparation process seems simple yet indulgent, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a comforting morning treat. It's a recipe that captures the essence of classic French toast and promises to start your day off with a delicious and satisfying meal.

Madalaine said...

This Pain Perdu (French Toast Eggy Bread) recipe from Delightful Repast sounds absolutely amazing! The combination of rich, custardy bread soaked in a sweet cinnamon-vanilla batter creates a decadent and indulgent breakfast or brunch treat. The presentation is visually appealing, with the golden-brown slices of French toast beautifully arranged on a plate and dusted with powdered sugar. The preparation process appears to be a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, allowing the bread to absorb the flavors of the batter and develop a crispy exterior. It's a recipe that captures the essence of classic French toast and promises a comforting and satisfying start to the day. Perfect for those seeking a delicious and nostalgic breakfast that will be enjoyed by the whole family!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Madalaine. The preparation is simple but yields a big payoff.

Anonymous said...


We called it French Toast growing up and I still do. I definitely don't like a mushy inside. I enjoy it with syrup and powdered sugar. Karen (Back Road Journal)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Karen. And since you didn't link your name to your blog, I'm going to put it here. https://backroadjournal.wordpress.com/ I agree; don't like a mushy inside!

Sherry's Pickings said...

I can't remember what we called it as children but i do know we only ever ate it with tomato sauce! So when i left home and found that most people ate it as a sweet item, I was amazed!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sherry, that is so interesting! I've heard there are savory versions, but I have never tried it. Must try that one of these days!

chickenruby said...

We'd call it both eggy bread and French toast, but neither of us are a fan so wouldn't choose to make or eat it at home.Thanks for linking with #pocolo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Suzanne!

Nancy K said...

My mother, of English heritage, would make it for my father, of German heritage, for breakfast. It was referred to as egg bread or just fried bread. I never ate it. I was never much of a breakfast eater. Many years and a more refined palate later did I realize it was also known as French toast. Shocking.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks for sharing, Nancy. I don't ordinarily have "real" breakfast food for breakfast, so I occasionally have French toast (or pancakes or waffles) for lunch or dinner. My usual breakfast is just fresh fruit, nuts, and tea, and maybe oatmeal.

Nancy K said...

I agree. I sometimes have breakfast for dinner and call it a country supper. Holidays and special occasions are all out but it is more of a brunch so that doesn’t count.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

A "country supper"—I like that, Nancy!

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