Today I will tell you a sad story of a Sunday past. It all started out so innocently - a plan for a little bit of lighthearted brinner as a happier finish for what had not been the best weekend. The recipe (which I of course then doctored) was simple enough; it came out of How It All Vegan, a tried and true little book, and went like so:
1 1/2 cups soy milk (I used almond)
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbst nutritional yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (I put in two)
(I also added a dash of nutmeg and other pertinent spices, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, because, I mean, come on, how can this not have vanilla extract?)
The batter/dip/wash/whatever came out looking pretty darn good. A solid start, I thought.
Well, I dipped in my first piece and tossed it in a heated up pan that had just a bit of oil in it. So far so good.
But when I went to flip it over...
It really just digressed from there.
Maybe I had soaked it in too much of the batter? It was in the bowl for a maximum of about two seconds, but I resolved to dip the second slice of bread much faster. After the first side fry and flip, eureka! Things were really looking up.
But then... structural failure.
Kind of hurts, doesn't it?
Slice number three broke as I was putting it into the pan! Ended before it had even begun.
The big one kind of looks like Australia. (Use your imagination.)
Alright. So what the hell happened here? I considered many possibilities.
1) I suck at making French toast.
2) The structural integrity of my bread was somehow compromised throughout the loaf; it kept breaking in the same spot, after all.
3) I suck at making French toast.
4) Too much oil in the pan.
5) Not enough oil in the pan.
6) I suck at making French toast.
7) Pan too hot.
8) Pan not hot enough.
9) I suck at making French toast.
Did I eat the mangled wrecks of bread that I produced? Yes, yes I did. And they tasted pretty good; they tasted like French toast. They even had the proper consistency. But my oh my, there is no question that something was terribly amiss.
Well, an hour or two after I had finished making battered trainwrecks in the kitchen, Jonathan came home. There was still some batter left, so while I was back here in my studio blogging away, he busied himself in the kitchen using it up. And not that surprisingly, in he walked 20 or so minutes later with three gorgeous slices of French toast (drizzled with homemade fig syrup, obvs.).
Now, Jon is not necessarily a much better cook than I am, but he is much better at certain things. This, clearly, is one of them. Apparently, though, there is a secret here that I did not know about.
He staled his bread.
I mean, I know about pain perdu and all, but the recipe just didn't indicate that I needed to do anything to my bread. In fact, all it says about the consistency of the bread is "Soak 1 slice of bread in batter until bread is gooey." Does this indicate a stale and/or toasted slice of bread to you? To me, it does not. Nevertheless, if you're going to essentially soak your bread in milk, firmer bread does indeed seem the way to go. You can throw it in an oven for a couple of minutes, or lightly toast it, or ideally just let it sit out for a while and actually get stale. Fresh bread straight from the package? Apparenly not where it's at.
Thus is my story. Learn from my mistakes, and move forward, and be happy... and use stale bread.