Saint Patrick’s Day was a week ago and thousands of households across the country are now trying to figure out what to do with their leftover soda bread that is getting rather stale. Instead of throwing out your stale soda bread, make french toast! The original purpose of french toast was to give a second life to bread that had gone stale.
French toast didn’t get it’s name because the French never thought to apply dry heat to bread. In fact, french toast isn’t even French at all. The earliest known recipe dates back to the 4th century in a Roman cookbook called Apicius. There it was simply called “a sweet dish.” During the middle ages, the dish was known “poor knights bread.” The name “french toast” comes from the fact that a 15th century English cookbook contained a recipe for “pain perdu.” This is French for “lost bread” because stale bread would otherwise be considered a loss.
The French name could have been due to the fact that up until very recently, French had been the court language of England. Or it could have been a reference to “tostees dorees” or golden toast. Either way, as the recipe tricked down to the masses it became known as a “French” toast.
- 1 egg
- ¼ c. milk
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 slices Irish soda bread, cut into ½" slices
- cooking spray
- Spray skillet or griddle pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- In a shallow bowl, whip egg, milk, and cinnamon together.
- Soak bread slices in egg mixture for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.
- Place bread slices on hot pan for 2-3 minutes then flip. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until both sides golden brown
Using soda bread to make french toast creates a dense dish that will leave you satisfied with just a single slice. The sweeter flavor means that you won’t need to soak it in syrup.
While it is difficult to slice soda bread into half inch slices, they will work best for french toast. Thicker slices either won’t soak the egg mixture all the way into the center, or if it does, won’t cook through. Don’t worry if the slice breaks in half. After all, soda bread is a rather fragile bread. It it breaks, just make sure the edges are soaked in the egg batter and cook normally.