Celebrating National French Toast Day: History, Traditions and Tasty Recipes

Celebrating National French Toast Day: History, Traditions and Tasty Recipes

Two slices of cinnamon-dusted French toast topped with strawberries and maple syrup on a plate
National French Toast Day


French toast is a beloved breakfast dish with a rich history. Every year on November 28th, French toast fans across America celebrate National French Toast Day. This food holiday is the perfect opportunity to enjoy this tasty treat and learn more about its origins and traditions.

History of French Toast

French toast has been around for centuries, with some form of eggy bread existing since at least Ancient Roman times. The early origins are murky, but food historians believe French toast emerged as a creative way for cooks to use up stale bread. By soaking the bread in an egg mixture, called a “panada” or “custard”, it refreshed and revived the bread.

The name “French toast” first appeared in print in the Apicus Manuscripts in the 4th or 5th century. American cookbooks started including recipes in the 18th century. As more exotic ingredients like nutmeg, orange flower water and different types of bread and sweeteners became available, French toast recipes continued evolving.

While called French toast in America, this dish goes by many other names around the world. In France, it’s “pain perdu” meaning “lost bread”. Other global versions include Bombay toast, German toast, Spanish toast, eggy bread and gypsy toast.

Celebrating the Holiday

On National French Toast Day every year, restaurants often offer specials featuring different kinds of French toast. From savory to sweet, traditional to over-the-top recipe twists, it’s the perfect chance to indulge. Whip up French toast at home too and experiment with flavors in the breakfast favorite.

Get the whole family involved by letting kids help with mixing and dipping the batter. Make it a fun morning of breakfast for dinner, pajamas and movies. However you choose to celebrate, enjoy this tasty tradition and time with loved ones.

How It’s Made

French toast is made by soaking slices of bread in an egg-based mixture before frying. While recipes vary around the globe, the basic process remains the same.

Most batters contain beaten eggs, milk or cream and flavorings like vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg. For best results, seek out high-quality bread, ideally day-old with a firm texture. Thick slices of egg bread or brioche work wonderfully.

Once soaked, the batter-coated bread slices then get transferred directly into a hot buttered skillet or griddle to cook until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Toppings like powdered sugar, maple syrup or fruit sauces can be added before serving.

Popular Versions from Around the World

Beyond the classic American-style French toast, global versions reveal how this dish gets customized. Here are a few cultural twists from around the world:

Bombay Toast (India) - Uses thicker bread like sandwich bread, often with colorful food dyes added to the batter. Typically served with fruit, honey or chocolate syrup on top.

Pain Perdu (France) - Often made with thinner baguette slices soaked in an egg, milk and vanilla mixture. May incorporate brandy or orange flower water and gets topped with powdered sugar or maple syrup.

Rabano Toast (Philippines) - Made with a battered loaf of rabano bread that incorporates radishes. Tends to have a bright pink color and sweet, nutty flavor.

Mofletta (Cuba) - Features a rich batter mixing milk, eggs, sugar, rum and cinnamon. Bread choices include fluffy Cuban bread or split lengthwise Cuban rolls. Butter and syrup accompany the dish.

Arme Riddere (Denmark) - Translates to “poor knights” and uses just egg whites beaten stiff then folded together with bread cubes. Fried and served with jam or berries on top.

The versatility of basic French toast makes it the perfect canvas for cultural customization based on taste preferences and local ingredients. While recipes vary, the joy of biting into a crispy yet custardy slice of French toast remains universal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some top questions about National French Toast Day and enjoying French toast in general:

What are the key ingredients that make great French toast?

High quality bread, eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon are essential. Using day old bread with a firm, sturdy texture works really well. Thick sliced brioche, challah or apple bread are prime choices. Whisk together eggs thoroughly along with milk, vanilla and cinnamon for rich flavor in the custardy batter.

Does the type of bread matter for French toast recipes?

Yes, bread selection plays a crucial role. Look for good quality loaves that are slightly stale or dry with an interior that won’t get too soggy when soaked in the batter. Heartier egg breads, brioche and thick sandwich style loaves work wonderfully. Lighter breads like flimsy white sandwich bread tend to fall apart.

What sweet toppings go well with French toast?

The possibilities are endless! Traditional fruit topping choices include strawberries, bananas, blueberries and raspberries. Other sweet sauces like chocolate hazelnut spread, lemon curd, dulce de leche or pumpkin spice sauce also pair nicely. Whipped cream, powdered sugar, maple syrup and honey classics work nicely too.

What are some creative savory French toast ideas?

If you want to go more savory than sweet, consider recipes incorporating ingredients like ham, cheese, tomatoes, avocados, bacon, sausage, caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms. Just adjust any sweet ingredients in your base batter accordingly. French toast topped with avocado, eggs and hot sauce makes an amazing breakfast.

Does French toast need to soak before cooking?

Yes! Allowing the bread slices to thoroughly soak up the flavor of the egg batter helps achieve that wonderfully custardy interior texture. Most recipes call for soaking at least a few minutes per side, some longer for up to half an hour. The interior crispness vs. softness comes down to personal preference.

Whether enjoying National French Toast Day at home with fun twists or dining out for specials, French toast makes for good eats any time of day. With so many sweet and savory flavors to try, what better occasion to celebrate this beloved breakfast treat?

Conclusion

On November 28th, join French toast lovers nationwide in honoring National French Toast Day. Cook up this breakfast classic at home and customize it by trying cultural variations or adding your favorite flavors and toppings. However you choose to celebrate, may your French toast be crisp on the outside while fluffy and custardy within!

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