How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pan Frances

Who doesn't love French toast? This morning I decided it would be a good idea for a late breakfast (I suppose it could be called brunch), and then I realized we had half a loaf of some rustic white bread left over from the delicious spaghetti dinner Pam made last night.

Full disclosure: this was just a nice loaf from the nearest Trucchi's grocery -- nothing we did ourselves and nothing too fancy. Still, we did give it a little thought, as in spending a few seconds thinking about whether we should use this or use the wheat sandwich bread on hand. I don't know why we hesitated. Not only was half a loaf better than none, half a loaf was just right!

I made a simple batter of three eggs, beaten with an equivalent amount of one-percent milk. I added some pure vanilla and cardamom for flavor and a smidge of baking powder for fluffiness. I then sliced the bread into one-inch slabs and heated up the indispensable cast-iron griddle, melting just a small amount of butter on it. I was a bit concerned as it heated and I caught a whiff of the Old Bay from our most recent crab-cake meal, but in the end this was either not noticeable or blended with the inherent saltiness of the bread.

I noticed that the bread was both firm, so that it did not fall apart in soaking, but also large-pored, so that it did not hold a lot of batter. The crusts were rigid, though, so once the first side had browned, I drizzled just a bit of the batter over the bread, "trapping" some of it in the middle. Quite a bit ran onto the griddle, but nobody was harmed by that. Pam noticed a bit of a custardy center in the final product. We had considered a multi-grain bread last night, but the texture of this white bread was probably better.

And the final product was quite nice, indeed, I must admit. Served with some warmed, local maple syrup (you'll find no Aunt Jemima's in Casa Hayes-Boh), it was just perfect: mostly sweet but a little savory, mostly soft but a little crusty. Cold, organic applesauce and a fresh batch of Sumatran coffee rounded out the meal.

Sometime soon, though, I will prepare a rustic loaf of my own, just for this purpose!

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