The Alton brown French toast with additional tips

French toast is a very old dish predating even the founding of France. According to Apicius (a collection of recipes from early in the 5th century AD) the dish now commonly known as the French toast was in existence earlier in time as the age of the Roman Empire. In their version of the French toast which they referred to as “Pan Dulcis”, the romans used to soak the bread in a milk or even an egg mixture and afterwards fry it in butter or oil.
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  • The Alton brown French toast recipe

  • Ingredients 

- 1 cup half-and-half 
- 3 big eggs 
- 2 tablespoons of honey which have been warmed in a microwave for 20 seconds
    - 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt 
- 8 (1/2-inch) slices of day-old or stale country loaf, challah or brioche bread 

    The total time you need is 34 minutes whereby the preparation time is 10 minutes while the cooking time is 24 minutes. The yield will be enough to serve 4.
    In a mixing bowl of medium size, whisk the half-and-half, honey, eggs and salt together. This may be done the night before. When ready for cooking, pour the custard mixture onto a pie pan then set aside.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    Start dipping bread into the mixture allowing it to soak for a period of 30 seconds for every side then remove onto a cooling rack which is sitting in a sheet pan and allow it to sit for a period of 1-2 minutes. 
Melt one teaspoon of the butter in a non-stick saute pan. Start placing 2 bread slices at a time into the pan then cook till they are golden brown, for about 2-3 minutes each side. Repeat the same with all the 8 slices. Immediately serve with maple syrup, fruit or whipped cream.
  • Common mistakes and tips

  • A number of things need to be done to ensure that you come up with the kind of French toast that will get everyone in your household licking their lips. Starting from the kind of bread that you are using up to the way that you will season the French toast, you need to put in more than just the basics. You need to adhere correctly to each stage, if it’s soaking the bread, ensure that it soaks enough as recommended. Proportions are very important considerations, you need to know the number of eggs to put, the amount of milk and their ratios and etc. But most importantly you need to put your heat into the whole process as this will go a long way in ensuring that you come out with a product you will cherish, and not just you, everyone else will. Below are some common mistakes that are done combined with a number of tips which will help you make the best French toast every time that you do it.
  • The bread

  • You have not been using the right bread: You shouldn’t start off your French toast with a slice that is very thin, or you just will be asking for a disaster. The bread requires a heft so as to hold up the soaking in eggs and milk or else it will start disintegrating before even reaching the pan. So you should ditch the loaf that is pre-sliced and cut by yourself and ensure that every piece is ½ to 1 in thickness. Which is the best bread? A white Pullman densely crumbled is classical but a brioche or challah will also work wonderfully if you want an extra dose of richness. Remember that: The drier that the bread is, the better it soaks all the custard. A loaf that is a day old does the trick perfectly.
    Under-soaking the bread: A majority of home cooks dip either side of the bread quickly in the custard before they throw it in the pan. The bread needs soaking in the egg mixture if you want it to enter the bread for a center that is soft and custardy. This requires pressure that is firm and yet gentle- then let the bread to soak for a period of 15-20 minutes.
  • The custard

  • Adding few egg yolks or too much milk: Milk and eggs are vital constituents of the custard base which render the tender richness of the French toast. But if you get the ratio all wrong you will end up with slices that are undercooked with an unpleasant flavor of scrambled eggs. The basic rule of the thumb is that for each 2 slice serving should have 1 egg and ¼ cup of milk and if you want to avoid the taste of scrambled eggs, use the yolks of all of the eggs.
    Not mixing the custard thoroughly: Nobody wishes to see egg white pieces showing up on the slices which are perfectly browned. Be sure to whisk the custard till the eggs, dairy and spices become perfectly combined.
    Straining the custard: Straining the soaking liquid before you put in your bread can also be done. It doesn’t matter how well you get to whisk, at times egg white lumps may remain in the custard. This implies that a few of the slices will end up being coated in egg white instead of custard.
  • About the heat and cooking

  • Using too much heat or not enough: French toast isn’t like steak where you would want to scorch the surface. Since sugar is present in the custard (egg mixture), it caramelizes and burns very quickly. Also, the inside won’t entirely cook and you will thus be left with a piece of French toast that is burnt and yet soggy. Equally, if you cook the French toast on too low temperatures, the bread dries out and you won’t obtain the nice and soft center which makes it so decadent. Ensure to cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side over medium heat.
    Not preheating the pan: If the pan hasn’t heated well enough as you put in your first slice, the custard will spread out and form a ‘foot’ on the French toast’s bottom. The batter doesn’t have time to sleep when the pan is hot enough; the custard begins to cook as soon as it touched the pan.
    You're not cooking with oil: Traditionally, butter is the French toast’s cooking medium but due to the fact that it has a low burn point its easy ending up with a charred and smoking mess way before the bread cooks through. The solution is swapping out a half or all of the butter in the pan for vegetable oil that is neutral. The result will be a French toast which fries up a crisp exterior and a center that is tender.
    title: Seasoning and finalizing
  • You're aren’t seasoning aggressively: The only essentials needed for the custard base are eggs and milk- but how you season the mixture is what determines the distinct flavor of the French toast. A glug of vanilla extract and a cinnamon pinch are standard upgrades and some little sugar won’t hurt either. You should consider this when you choose a sweetener, powdered sugar dissolves well and it leaves you with custard that is smooth while brown sugar creates an awesome caramel flavor while it cooks.
    You aren’t choosing the right maple syrup: Earnestly, French toast can’t really be finished without a stream of maple syrup is on top. Grade A maple syrup has for long been billed as the gold standard, cooks who are savvy know that the Grade B maple syrup that is darker and more robust is what there is to reach for when you need a rich maple taste. But, it suddenly isn’t that simple anymore as the maple syrup labelling system was changed by the USDA. This implies that the Grade A and Grade B are way out of the fashion. But what is the correct wording that you should be looking for now? What was initially Grade B is nowadays billed as “Very Dark with a Strong Taste.” Much as it’s quite wordy, it sure adds to the deliciousness of your French toast.

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