Ahhhhh. A lazy summer Sunday morning. The storms have passed, the Sunday Trib’ isn’t TOO damp, and Astrud Gilberto is breathing about flying us to the moon on the iPod. A perfect time for an easy breakfast.
French toast is traditionally called pain perdu, or lost bread in French, because it was a way to use up stale bread that would otherwise be ‘lost.’ I’m calling ours pain trouvé (found bread), because I had to find one of the loaves I stashed in the freezer when I made brioche earlier this month (those of you who’ve seen our freezers know that a search of those compartments is not something to be attempted by the faint of heart). Now, sitting here and recalling our breakfast; I would have to say that the search was more than worth it.
Brioche is the traditional bread for making French toast, and I need to say here that if you haven’t had it made this way, you should; and if you have and don’t think it is the best ever; well, you’re just plain wrong. If for no other reason than being prepared for the odd weekend breakfast, brioche will be a staple in our freezer from now on. I am including a brioche recipe I found at Taste of Home that I have not tried yet, but that looks like a slightly less involved version of the one I made (AND – this one has lemon zest in it – which is funny, because the recipe I used did not, but I still tasted a hint of lemon in the bread fresh out of the oven).
Making the brioche in muffin tins is traditional, but you could just as easily make loaves as I did here.
•3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•1/2 cup sugar
•2 pkg (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
•1 tsp grated lemon peel
•1/2 tsp salt
•2/3 cup butter, cubed
•1/2 cup 2% milk
In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt.
In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk to 120°-130°. Add to the dry ingredients and beat until moistened.
Add 4 eggs and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. Do not knead.
Spoon into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Stir dough down. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with a bowl; let rest for 15 minutes.
Cut one-sixth from the dough; set aside. Shape remaining dough into 12 balls (about 2-1/2 in); place in well-greased muffin cups.
Divide reserved dough into 12 small balls. Make an indentation in the top of each large ball; place a small ball in each indentation. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Beat remaining egg; brush over rolls. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.
I’d wait at least a day before using the brioche for French toast, or, even better, toss it into the freezer and bring out at a future date for my above-mentioned easy breakfast…
Rich is the French toast maker in our home; so I popped the maple roasted bacon into the oven, grabbed the Trib’ and a cup of coffee and got out of the way. Here’s his batter:
•1/3 cup half & half
•1 to 2 tsp cinnamon to taste – if you can, search out a local spice shop and try some cinnamons other than what you find in the spice aisle at the market. Our current favorite is Ceylon ‘True’ Cinnamon from The Spice House in Milwaukee.
•2 tsp vanilla
•1/2 tsp orange extract (or fresh grated orange zest)
•Dash each of ground clove and nutmeg
Bathe the brioche at least 1 minute per side (Rich swears by this – do not rush this step).
Cook two to three minutes per side over a medium flame until golden brown. Serve with butter, maple syrup and maple roasted bacon, which should be about ready to come out of the oven…
What can I say? YUM!