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A Toast to the Toast Craze

A Toast to the Toast Craze

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Get on this delicious bandwagon while it’s still toasty warm!

The Daily Meal Staff

Starting your day off with toast isn’t as simple as it used to be.

Can you imagine inviting someone over for dinner and feeding him or her toast? Not as a breakfast side, not as a joke, but legitimately serving a piece of toast as the focal point of the meal. That is, until you realize the potential that toast actually has.

Toast is on the rise as the next “foodie craze,” preceded by other seemingly mundane foods like cupcakes and kale. It now exists on the artisanal plane, thanks largely in part to the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club’s owner Giulietta Carrelli’s surprisingly touching entrepreneurial triumph in elevating toast to a new level.

Artisanal toast is slathered in butter, often pan-fried, dressed with enticing and unique accoutrements, and sold in cafés and coffee shops for nearly $3.50 a slice. To be a part of this craze, though, you don’t need to shell out that kind of money; you can simply make your own. Not sure how to make toast exceptional? That’s OK; there are now toast experts — like Jill Donenfeld, author of Better on Toast: Happiness on a Slice of Bread (available on Amazon) — who can teach you how to dress up those bland toast points into something spectacular.

Donenfeld talks about using fresh, zesty ingredients that complement each other to bring out the unique flavors in each component, employing toast as a worthy vessel. One failsafe way to start making your own artisanal toast is to incorporate buttery spreads.

If you need a little inspiration, try making Donenfeld’s simple avocado toast, toasted with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and topped with tasty toasted pumpkin seeds for a savory and salty crunch.

You’ll never toast the same again.

Whipped Ricotta Toasts

A friend of mine was recently in town from LA and mentioned the “fancy toast” trend. That is, restaurants loading thick toast slices with incredible toppings and charging $8. Everything from avocado toast to ricotta-kumquat-basil toast fit into the fancy toast craze. Though the fad has drawn some criticism, what’s wrong with fancy toast? To us, fancy toast is a no-stress method for making simple vegetarian meals and easy dinner recipes at home. The trick with fancy toast is that it can’t be Wonder Bread and peanut butter it’s got to be a nice thick slice of crusty bread loaded with seasonal goodness. And paired with creamy, rich whipped feta — well, it’s out of this world. Keep reading for the recipe!

The bread to use

This garlic toast recipe is more of an idea than a strict recipe. You can use this idea and then run with it! For the bread, we used a French-style baguette, but you could use any type of artisan loaf or bread you have on hand. (Please just not Wonder Bread!) The quality of your garlic toast will depend on the type of bread you use, so remember: the better the bread, the better the toast.

Disney Released The Recipe For Its Famous Tonga Toast And You'll Want To Make It Every Morning

It's stuffed with bananas and covered in cinnamon sugar.

Disney is going on a recipe sharing spree, and it&rsquos truly not holding back the good stuff. The latest recipe release&ndashjoining the likes of Mickey Mouse beignets, cheddar cheese soup, and Grey Stuff&ndashis for Disney&rsquos super-famous Tonga Toast.

The toast has been a classic at Kona Cafe and Capt. Cook&rsquos in Disney&rsquos Polynesian Village Resort for nearly 50 years. The Disney Parks Blog shared the recipe on its website along with a video that takes viewers through the steps and an easy-to-print version of the instructions.

There are three main parts to the recipe: banana-stuffed bread, batter, and cinnamon sugar. The recipe calls for a loaf of sourdough bread that you cut into four three-inch-thick slices. You then stuff the slices with banana before covering them in batter and putting them in hot oil, as you would with typical French toast. The cinnamon sugar is the easiest part, because all you have to do is mix granulated sugar and cinnamon. Once the toast is golden brown, remove it from the oil and toss it in the cinnamon sugar. Top it with syrup if you so desire, and enjoy. The recipe doesn&rsquot feature any toppings, but it would probably be phenomenal topped with Nutella or fruit.

This recipe came just in time for Mother&rsquos Day, so you don&rsquot have to think about what you&rsquore going to whip up to celebrate that morning. and every morning after that.

The Trend Is Toast

Rare is the food trend that doesn’t garner backlash and the designation “overrated” cf. cupcakes, cronuts, and kale, all mentioned in Sophie Brickman’s Talk of the Town story last week about the food-trend chronicler David Sax. Rarer still is the food trend that garners such immediate and absolute derision as “artisanal toast,” a category that seems to apply to any stand-alone restaurant or café menu item consisting of high-quality, crisped-up bread topped with something simple (like “small-batch” almond butter) and not called crostini or bruschetta.

Back in January, John Gravois, a writer for the California magazine Pacific Standard, set out to investigate the source of the craze in San Francisco, where he’d been watching it gather steam. What he discovered was an origin story that was fascinating and heartwarming enough to become a segment on This American Life I won’t spoil it for you. But Gravois’s skepticism of the trend itself went beyond finding it overrated—he was practically appalled by it. The first line of his article describes the toast-making process with scorn: “All the guy was doing was slicing inch-thick pieces of bread, putting them in a toaster, and spreading stuff on them.” Later, he writes, “I rolled my eyes. How silly how twee how perfectly San Francisco, this toast,” and quotes the manager of the café where he first noticed it: “Tip of the hipster spear.”

NPR’s food and drink blog, the Salt, published two recent posts about the trend, the first an April Fool’s gag, promoting a toast-cooking class (“From demystifying the ‘Wonder’ of sliced bread to exploring a variety of techniques ranging from light to dark to extra dark, you’ll learn how to transform your favorite loaf to a crispy golden state”), the second an Onion-style parody of the different methods one might use to “TIY,” or toast it yourself (fireplace, blowtorch, coffeemaker, clothes dryer).

In the Seattle newspaper the Stranger, a writer named Bethany Jean Clement expounded at length upon the reasons to disdain toast as a craft item. Noting that the cost of a slice or two of artisanal toast could buy a whole loaf of bread, she explained, “Part of the moral outrage here is economic: Toast is meant to be a thrifty food, meant to make homespun, happy use of otherwise less-than-optimally-fresh bread,” and she points out that French toast in French is pain perdu, meaning, literally, “lost bread” that would otherwise be fed to the birds. (In a recent Critic’s Notebook, Pete Wells lamented the growing tendency of restaurants to charge for a bread “course” the only thing worse, it might follow, is being charged for a stale-bread course.) And “the sense of perversity” goes even deeper, Clement argues: “Toast is home, toast is hearth.… Toast is…the first thing you learn to make.… Even a completely incompetent cook can make this one perfect thing.”

According to David Sax, the most successful food trends reflect what’s going on in society at a given time. Americans wanted cupcakes ten years ago, he told Brickman, because they sought childhood comforts after the trauma of 9/11 Americans wanted fondue in the sixties because they aspired to cosmopolitanism. Artisanal toast, one might posit, represents our intensifying obsession with and fetishization of food. Every meal is special and important, every dish should be elevated, revered, and broadcast—even something as pedestrian as toast.

We’re willing to spend more energy and money on food than ever before, and we are what we eat—not only literally, but in terms of identity, too. “Avocado toast”—which might be described as a sub- or tangent-trend—has grown particular legs because it overlaps with another potent trend: “clean living.” Popularized by the Nolita restaurant Café Gitane and by the life-style guru Gwyneth Paltrow, who included a recipe for it in her cookbook “It’s All Good” (in which she compares it to “a favorite pair of jeans”), it’s healthy yet indulgent: “good fat,” on the one hand, carbs on the other. It’s incredibly easy to make. Most important, it looks great on Instagram, thereby making whoever posts photos of it look great.

In the case of most food trends, the backlash begins when a food is deemed overhyped (cronuts), or when it simply overstays its welcome (cupcakes, kale). In the case of artisanal toast, the backlash seems directed more at the societal phenomenon it evinces than at the food itself. Who doesn’t like toast? The economic and moral objections to it could be used against many of the things we consume in restaurants—coffee, for instance—and Clement admits that the toast she sampled at Tallulah’s, a café in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, was excellent. Artisanal toast is hardly the first harbinger of our food obsession, or even necessarily the most egregious, but it’s become a scapegoat for a growing, broader cultural backlash the toast that broke the camel's back. The issue is not the toast so much as a rapidly changing San Francisco and a world in which food matters, maybe more than it should.


The key to slicing bread is, with a sharp serrated knife use gentle, rapid sawing movements and not to push down too hard on the loaf.

For toast, cut the bread into slices about 1cm thickness. The crusts can be on or off, depending on how you like them. Pre-heat the grill for at least 10 minutes before making the toast, turning it to its highest setting. Place the bread on the grill rack and position the tray 10cm from the heat source. Allow the bread to toast on both sides to your own preferred degree of pale or dark golden brown.

While that’s happening, keep and eye on it and don’t wander far away. When the toast is done, remove it immediately to a toast rack. Why a toast rack? Because they are a brilliant invention. Freshly made toast contains steam, and if you place it in a vertical position, in which the air is allowed to circulate, the steam escapes and the toast becomes crisp and crunchy. Putting it straight on to a plate means the steam is trapped underneath, making it damp and soggy. If you don’t posses a toast rack, you really ought to invest in a modest one. Failing that, stand your toast up against a jar or something similar for about 1 minute before serving.

Always eat toast as soon as possible after that, and never make it ahead of time. Never ever wrap it in a napkin or cover it (the cardinal sin of the catering trade), because the steam gets trapped and the toast goes soggy. Always use good bread, because the better the bread the better the toast. It is also preferable if the bread is a couple of days old.

How to Make the New York Times’ Cinnamon Toast

The beauty of cinnamon toast is that it’s quick, easy, and uses only four simple ingredients: butter, bread, cinnamon, and sugar. To start, you’ll need to make cinnamon sugar, which, in a shocking turn of events, is a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Next, you’ll need to melt butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. The recipe doesn’t specify an exact measurement of butter, which I appreciate — it should just be enough to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Then, lay down as many slices of white or brioche bread that you can fit and cook it until the pan side is lightly toasted. Flip the bread so that the other side is toasted, adding more butter to the pan as needed. With the first toasted side up, you’ll top it off with some cinnamon sugar. Once the second side is toasted, you’ll flip the bread once more so that the cinnamon sugar is making direct contact with the pan. Once the sugar has lightly caramelized, you’ll toss the toast onto a plate and finish it off with some more cinnamon sugar.

This recipe requires you to interact with what you’re cooking. Is the bread getting too dark or burning? Turn the heat down. Does the bread look dry? Add a bit more butter. Is the sugar caramelized yet? If not, let it cook until it’s a deep, golden-brown. Your cinnamon toast will tell you what it needs — all you need to do is listen.

Get the recipe: Cinnamon Toast from the New York Times

We Didn't Believe In 'Artisanal' Toast, Until We Made Our Own

Leave it to San Francisco to turn one of the simplest — and cheapest — dishes into the trendy snack du jour.

"Artisanal" toast is made from inch-thick, snow-white or grainy slices, lathered in butter and cinnamon or peanut butter and honey, then wrapped individually in wax paper.

And you think that latte is expensive. Each one of these slices will set you back at least $3.50.

The toast craze started at an unlikely location: a modest coffee shop, called Trouble, about four blocks from San Francisco's sleepy Ocean Beach.

There, Giulietta Carrelli started selling the thick slices seven years ago. Now the "$4 toast," as the critics label it, is a featured item in bakeries, cafes and restaurants in San Francisco and beyond. Some even have a toast menu that changes daily.

Aficionados say it's the truest comfort food. And made well, toast will bring out the ultimate crumbiness and caramel notes of bread.

All the talk of toast got us feeling creative.

And the more we thought about it, we realized there might actually be further potential in toast to unleash. Forget the ordinary toaster. We decided to combine two hot trends, artisanal toast and DIY. Call it TIY.

Post toast results Alastair Bland, Eliza Barclay and Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR hide caption

Alastair Bland, Eliza Barclay and Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR

We began with a bag of Trader Joe's white bread. Then we divided and conquered the art of toasting, the primitive way — with fire — all the way to the laptop. Yes, we tried to make toast with computer-generated heat and air. We also used a blowtorch, a pan of butter, a food dehydrator, a dryer and a coffee maker.

Our findings might surprise you.

Fire-roasted toast will satisfy the smoke fiends at the breakfast table. Eliza Barclay/NPR hide caption

Fire-roasted toast will satisfy the smoke fiends at the breakfast table.

Paleo toast:

Paleo is everywhere these days, so we had to give paleo toast a try. Glossing over the details of paleo bread-making, we went straight to the fire and a stick.

We drove a slender stick through our slice of bread, which made a long, jagged hole. Our first attempt at caveman toast failed after 30 seconds, when the toast fell straight into the fire. Unfortunately, it turns out that bread doesn't hold up quite as well to an open flame as denser foods with small surface areas, like marshmallows and hot dogs.

Our second attempt fared better. Gripping our stick carefully so as not to drop more bread in the fire, we tried to get the bread as close to the flame as possible without picking up any ash or soot from nearby logs. This was hard.

After a couple of minutes, we decided that our piece of unevenly charred bread would have to do. But it's the perfect piece for the eater who wants a little bit of everything: a gold patch, a burnt patch, a barely toasted patch.

Fire-roasted toast also boasts deep, smoky flavor. And with a little butter, it's quite a nice variation on a quotidian breakfast.

We recommend pan-frying to get as much butter as possible into a piece of toast. Eliza Barclay/NPR hide caption

We recommend pan-frying to get as much butter as possible into a piece of toast.

Pan-fried toast:

Our next aim was to create toast with the perfect ratio of butter to crumb. Why not practically saturate the bread in this most flavorful of fats and fry until crisp?

We cranked up the stove to high and dropped 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter into a saucepan. Once the butter started to froth and brown, we gently lowered in the slice. After letting it sizzle furiously for about 15 seconds, we flipped it, discovering that the other side had turned gorgeously golden.

Under the light, our toast glittered with tiny shards of butter clinging to the surface. Far from being wet and sticky, the toast was crisp, and almost dry to touch. The taste? Gloriously rich, with delicate crunch and depth. If you want the most calorific way to make toast, this is it. And this method guarantees a perfectly even distribution of butter.

Enjoy your toast pale and crispy? Then the dehydrator is the appliance for you. Alastair Bland for NPR hide caption

Enjoy your toast pale and crispy? Then the dehydrator is the appliance for you.

Dehydrated toast:

You could say that dehydrated bread is the Slow Food of toast. The plastic plug-in countertop dehydrator is commonly used for turning pieces of fruit into leathery slabs and fresh mushrooms into crispy-dried chips. But we thought it might produce an interesting version of toast, too.

Dehydrating bread into something toast-like takes two days, as a coil of heated metal warms the air, pulls out moisture and sends it upward and out through the ventilation slats at the top.

Like your toast pale and crispy? Good. Because a soft slice of white bread comes out brittle as a matzo cracker after two days in the food dehydrator. In fact, we found the dehydrated bread shattered easily when subjected to the force of a butter knife.

Our conclusion from this experiment: If you want Melba toast the slow way, by all means, plug in that dehydrator. But if you want the sugar in your bread to caramelize, seek out some heat.

Blowtorched toast:

We wondered how we could make the most evenly browned toast with the fluffiest center. How about a blowtorch, that star of the modernist chef's kitchen? We headed down to Dad's workroom. The plan was to coax every square inch of the bread to caramelized perfection with the intense propane flame of a blowtorch. Seemed like it could be a slam dunk.

Trouble is, the flame of a blowtorch can be too hot, charring the surface of the bread before the interior warms. The flame is so concentrated that the bread cannot be thoroughly heated — as one corner is torched, the opposite corner is cooling down. Check out our video at the top of the page.

In the end, blowtorched toast was evenly browned and looked quite nice, with the unburned imprint of the tongs embedded in the bread. But it wasn't warm enough to melt butter on the surface. The toast had a singed flavor, fortunately without any hints of propane.

Once again, the coffee maker proves it can do way more than brew a cup of Joe. Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR hide caption

Once again, the coffee maker proves it can do way more than brew a cup of Joe.

Now, there's no doubt that blowtorching your breakfast will impress guests. And we wouldn't be surprised if professional toast makers begin applying a touch of blowtorch flame to finish their product before their customers. It could be the gateway to $8 toast.

Coffee maker toast:

After our success with the blowtorch, we decided to test out other appliances that aren't exactly made for cooking. Since the dishwasher clearly doesn't create the dry heat needed for toast, our next thought was the tried-and-true coffee maker.

A few months ago, we made an entire lunch in Mr. Coffee. Surely, we could toast a slice of bread on the appliance's burner, right?

The answer is a resounding yes. Once again, the coffee maker proves it can do way more than brew a cup of Joe.

But you can't be in a rush when making coffee-maker toast. Creating a brown, crunchy layer on the bread's surface takes about 20 minutes.

And we had to put something heavy on top of the bread to press it against the coffee maker's burner. We used an apple, but a coffee mug works, as well. Just make sure whatever you choose doesn't crush your soft slice of bread.

No dryer sheets were used in this experiment, so at least the toast didn't have a floral flavor. Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR hide caption

No dryer sheets were used in this experiment, so at least the toast didn't have a floral flavor.

Alas, coffee maker toast isn't perfect. The top side gets a bit squashed. And when we tried to flip it over, it stuck to the burner. So not our top choice, but it'll make some passable toast.

Laptop and clothes dryer toast:

Next, we really started thinking outside the box. Why not try a few appliances that aren't even found in the kitchen?

The first item we turned to? A laptop.

We sat the bread next to the laptop's fan. And waited. Like a day or two. And the results were disappointing. Nothing happened. Literally.

The fans on modern-day laptops don't emit enough heat or air to dry out the toast.

The job required a bigger, hotter fan. Hair dryer? Too labor-intensive. How about the clothes dryer? We put the bread right next to the machine's vent and started a 50-minute cycle to dry Sunday night's laundry.

Alas, we were hindered by energy efficiency. The air coming out of the vent was too cool. It barely dried out the toast. And there was definitely no browning or crisping going on. (Note: We didn't use a dryer sheet. So at least the toast didn't pick up a floral flavor.)

The TIY Verdict

If you're looking for a delicious treat — and a few extra calories — try pan-fried toast. To impress your friends, pull out the blowtorch. And when you're stuck in a motel room and get a hankering for toast, the coffee maker should do the trick.

Is a Toast Sandwich Really a Sandwich?

The toast sandwich is so British and so austere that it seems like something straight out of a Monty Python sketch. The humble dish consists of a piece of buttered toast seasoned with salt and pepper, between two slices of bread. That’s it.

When I first learned of the toast sandwich’s existence during a late-night Wikipedia binge, I found it so perplexing that I simply had to learn more. It provoked more questions than it answered. Why would anyone subject themselves to this exercise in culinary surrealism? And, ontologically speaking, what makes a sandwich a sandwich?

The first question is relatively easy to answer. The toast sandwich made its print debut in Britain in 1861, in Mrs. Beeton&aposs Book of Household Management, a lengthy tome on home economics published by Isabella Beeton, a sort of mid-Victorian Martha Stewart. Isabella and her wealthy publisher husband, Sam, worked as a team. Isabella wrote articles on household management𠅌overing topics as disparate as hiring servants, caring for sick children, and cooking𠅏or her husband’s publications. In 1861, her articles were collected and published in book form. The Book of Household Management was a commercial success, selling nearly two million copies by 1868.

In the book, the toast sandwich is actually listed as a food for sick people. This makes sense, as its contents are in keeping with the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, toast and applesauce) prescribed for people recovering from digestive ailments.

“Place a very thin piece of cold toast between 2 slices of thin bread-and-butter in the form of a sandwich, adding a seasoning of pepper and salt,” the recipe reads. “This sandwich may be varied by adding a little pulled meat, or very fine slices of cold meat, to the toast, and in any of these forms will be found very tempting to the appetite of an invalid.”

While the sandwich was better than I expected, it was still punishingly dull

The toast sandwich experienced something of a renaissance in 2011, when the Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain promoted it as the cheapest meal in existence. Many British people were still pinching pennies in the wake of the Great Recession.

“The RSC decided to promote Mrs. Beeton&aposs toast sandwich because it might just be what we need to get us through the harsh economic times that are forecast,” the Royal Society of Chemistry said. “Of course, when we finally emerge from these dark days we will seek something more celebratory from Mrs. Beeton&aposs pantheon of rich recipes to welcome back the good times.”

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, the average toast sandwich contains 330 calories. Most of these calories come from carbohydrates. There is a bit of fat from the butter. But the sandwich lacks the vitamins and fiber found in fruits and vegetables, and the protein found in meat, tofu, peanut butter or other standard sandwich fillings. It’s a food one eats to survive, not a food to be savored.

Like collards, offal, and other so-called poverty foods, the toast sandwich has𠅊t least in one documented instance�n repackaged as a luxury experience. Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal created a version featuring black truffles, gastrique, and bone-marrow salad.

I decided to try the toast sandwich for myself—minus the bone marrow and black truffles of Blumenthal’s creation. I toasted a piece of sourdough bread, seasoning it with butter, salt, and red-pepper flakes. I then put it between two untoasted pieces of sourdough. While the sandwich was better than I expected, it was still punishingly dull𠅎ven given the texture variation between the toasted and untoasted bread. I ended up taking out the toast and eating it separately.

So, the question remains: What is a sandwich? Merriam-Webster defines it as “two pieces of bread with something (such as meat, peanut butter, etc.) between them.” The toast sandwich fulfills the first criterion: two pieces of bread with something between them. But can that something be another piece of bread? There’s nothing in the denotation that says it can’t be.

But connotatively, when I think of a sandwich, I think first of the filling: a mix of flavors and textures. I think of a Reuben from Katz’s Deli, piled high with corned beef and sauerkraut, smothered in melted Swiss cheese and creamy Russian dressing. I think of the peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches I used to make myself after school, and how the tart, viscous jam mixed with the salty, creamy peanut butter. I think of the dense sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit that revived me during an exhausting long-haul drive through West Virginia.

A sandwich, to me, is something pleasurable and nourishing hidden between two humble slices of bread. It is something to look forward to, not something to consign yourself to when there is no other choice.

The toast sandwich may be a sandwich according strictly to the dictionary definition. But when it comes to everything that a sandwich should be, it doesn’t make the club.

How to Make It

I make a lot of food every week and whether or not we eat something, give it away, or unfortunately throw it away, my rule has always been that it must taste good, and this avocado toast recipe delivers.

That means every step of the way things are seasoned with sea salt and pepper and what comes out of my oven is exactly what will come out of your oven if you follow my directions!! Ok, food rant over and avocado toast recipe time has begun.

As you can see from the pictures I created 8 different toast recipes including an Avocado Toast Recipe, but don’t tell anyone 2 of them are pretty much the same just different colors. Can you guess which ones those are?

For all of the recipes including this, though I used two different types of bread. You can 100% make fresh bread or buy and a loaf of bread that you like, it’s all about what you want to do for this portion of the recipe. The two types of bread I used in these toast recipes were ciabatta and 12-grain whole wheat, which honestly was fantastic!

Tortilla French Toast

If you can soak brioche bread to make classic French toast, what do you get when you soak flour tortillas? As I found out, something that looks and tastes like a crêpe with a little more of an al dente chew, which pairs super well with whipped cream, fresh fruit, and a little drizzle of melted chocolate or sweet honey. The longer you let the tortilla sit in the soak, the softer and more tender the chew will become. Surprisingly, these taste pretty good the day after, chilled in the refrigerator with all the fillings inside.

Find yourself hooked on this simple hack and need more tortilla dessert ideas? How about this Nutella "crêpe" cake? It's the perfect shortcut for when you can't get yourself to Lady M for their signature cake, or simply don't have time to make your own rainbow crêpe cake.

If you've made this recipe, drop us a line down below and let us know how you liked it and what you put on your "French toast"!

Watch the video: French Toast Omelette Sandwich. Egg Sandwich Hack. Egg Toast Recipe (November 2022).