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French toast quest

  • w

I made French toast this morning with leftover baguettes, and I either need to cozy up with the Joy of Cooking or find a good spot in San Francisco next time the craving hits.

Ideas? Bonus points for breakfast rather than brunch and pots of strong black tea (and lots of sunshine and big wooden tables to spread out the paper).

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  1. Are you implying that your quest is prompted by the fact that French toast made with leftover baguettes didn't turn out well? If so, I'm not surprised. Baguettes make lousy French toast: the ratio of crust to inside is too high, and the crust, especially when stale, doesn't absorb much of the egg mixture. For good French toast you need breadier bread -- challah, brioche, etc. make fabulous French toast. Sourdough bread can make wonderful French toast, but it has to be a thicker loaf than a baguette.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Hahaha "breadier bread" I love that! :) Good point Ruth, I particularly like using Challah. The crustier (hey that's a real word Ruth ;) breads really don't work so well, especially ones like Pugliese which is too airy to soak up the egg. The one Sourdough that I did have a lot of success with was using a stale loaf of Columbo that someone had brought over to a potluck. I have to say, I don't much care for the stuff when it's fresh, but the fact that it is pretty dense stuff made it work well for French Toast.

      a sante,

      1. re: Curtis

        Colombo is also perfect for breakfast casseroles like strata -- it really soaks up the custard and the slightly sour flavor works great for a savory dish. This is the only time I buy this bread, but it can't be beat for feeding a crowd.

        As for restaurants, I can't think of a place that does really good challah French toast, although that's my favorite when cooking at home. But I do really like the French toast at Fattoush (Church St in Noe Valley). It's not challah, but it's thick-cut bread and nicely eggy.

        1. re: beranlgirl

          my favorite french toast used to be the pannetone french toast at Zazie....alas it's no more.

          Chloe's on church in Noe Valley has a croissant french toast that I could eat daily. (I must say that I am a big lover of fat, though.)

          Dotties makes their own bread-stuffs when making french toast.

          sometimes baguettes can make cute little toasties but my experience is that they need to sit in the batter for a while.

          and my grandmother makes french toast with cinnamon raisin bread or challah, both I love.

          1. re: sailorbuoys
            Caitlin McGrath

            My favorite french toast ever is homemade with cinnamon swirl bread from the Bread Garden in Berkeley. When it's well-soaked and cooked, the thick cinnamon filling becomes lusciously oozy. Gild the lily with maple syrup.

    2. Howard's Cafe on Ninth Ave. near Irving has decent French Toast. Can't claim the bonus points for the sunshine or big round tables!
      At home, you can try making your fench toast with day-old croissants - also tasty in bread pudding.

      1. I have to wonder if stale pain levain (sourdough wholewheat) would work. It is relatively dense and comes in large rounds with a good interior to crust ratio.

        Has anyone tried this?

        1. My fave french toast was from Mama's on Washington Sq.
          Made using a cranberry orange walnut bread i think ??
          It was almost cake like. yum. DO they still do it? Definitely open for breakfast but you may have to get in a line as it is very touristy. Good served with berries and whipped cream.

          the english version of french toast is called "Eggy Bread" instead of French toast, it's savoury not sweet, lots of salt and pepper and mustard powder beaten with the eggs. ketchup, fried mushroom, chipolatas or bacon to serve.

          Does anyone in SF do a savory version for brunch?
          Bread used is preferably thick sliced white dense 'sandwich' loaf (not sour).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sixy Beast
            Frosty Melon (was Chowderhead)

            I second Mama's for French toast.

          2. m
            Melanie Wong

            Not what you're looking for, but I'll mention it while we're on the topic of french toast. Peter D's in the motel on the corner of Broadway and Van Ness has been recommended by Gene Burns on KGO as the best breakfast in the City. I've heard positive things about the french toast, specifically, and the waitress told me that "everything was good". So, one morning I tried the special french toast for myself. the menu described it as made with egg bread, which turned out to be yellowish balloon bread with little substance of its own or ability to absorb the egg. Cream cheese is sandwiched between thin slices of this stuff and then given the french toast treatment. I didn't like the result, although I liked the concept and think it might be worthwhile with bettter bread.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Jeni Bean (Formerly Richie Richmond)

              Q in the Inner Richmond (Clement and 4th ?) has a similar sounding dish. It is french toast with cream cheese filling, then covered with a seasonal fruit compote. It looked good when a dining companion got it, but have not had it myself.


              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Jeni Bean (Formerly Richie Richmond)

                Q in the Inner Richmond (Clement and 4th ?) has a similar sounding dish. It is french toast with cream cheese filling, then covered with a seasonal fruit compote. It looked good when a dining companion got it, but have not had it myself.


              2. My Mom's quince syrup (actually thin jelly) is wonderful on french toast. Blackberry syrup is good too.

                1. Great list, thanks for all the ideas. I'll report back.

                  I've made delicious bread pudding with both levain and baguettes; I'm sure the hard sauce didn't hurt.

                  1. I never eat out much for breakfast and most of the French toast is ghastly, barely ever seeing an egg batter. So I will offer up a couple of tips. I agree with the bread choice, Soughdough. The sliced is best, and I prefer Alfaro's to Columbo. For the egg mix, add vanilla, sugar, milk, cinnamon and for a special treat fresh grated orange peel. Now as for cooking, if you really feel like clogging up your arteries cook the French toast in Bacon fat (you do have bacon with your French toast?) The crispness given is unbelievable and the texture is creamy inside. Mmmmmm.