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October 20, 2008


Toast is sliced bread which has been browned by exposure to dry heat ("toasted").

This browning reaction is a form of Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread, making it more pleasant to eat for some, and makes it crisp such that it holds toppings more securely. Toast is often served with butter, cheese, marmalade, or any number of other toppings, thereby making an open-faced sandwich.

Toasting is also a common method of making stale bread palatable. Toast is a typical breakfast food, and may be bought as is in supermarkets, or made at the home from regular bread.

There are many variations on toast, such as:

French toast (often known as eggy bread in most of the UK - the exception being Scotland and Northern Ireland, pain perdu in French, pain doré in French-speaking parts of Canada) is a popular breakfast food in North America and Europe. French toast is made with bread and eggs. Milk is commonly added. According to what is popular in local cuisine, many of the spices that are added to bread or egg dishes are included in cooking. This versatile dish is often topped with butter, fruit, syrup, or other items.

Melba toast is a very dry, crisp, thinly sliced toast often served with soups and salads or topped with either melted cheese or pâté. It is named after Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell. The term is thought to date back to 1897, a year when the singer was very ill and this kind of toast became a staple of her diet. The toast was created for her by chef Auguste Escoffier, a big fan of hers, who also created the Peach Melba dessert. The hotel proprietor César Ritz supposedly named it in a conversation with Escoffier.

Melba toast is usually made by lightly toasting bread in the normal way. Once the outsides of the bread are slightly firm, it is removed from the toaster and then each slice is cut in half "longitudinally" with a bread knife to make two slices each half the thickness. These two thin slices are then toasted again to make Melba Toast.

Milk toast is a breakfast food consisting of toasted bread and sugar dipped in or covered in hot milk into which a small amount of butter has been melted. Cinnamon and raisins may be added. Milk toast was a popular food throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, especially for young children and for the ailing, for whom the food was thought to be soothing and easy to digest. Although not as popular today, milk toast is still considered a comfort food.

Milk toast's soft blandness inspired the timid and ineffectual comic strip character Caspar Milquetoast, drawn by Harold Webster from 1924 to 1952. The term "milquetoast" is still used today to refer to a timid, shrinking, apologetic person.

Texas Toast is a type of pre-sliced packaged bread which is sliced at double the thickness of ordinary bread. The name is somewhat misleading as it is not yet toast when it is sold this way. While it can be used in the same manner as ordinary bread slices such as in sandwiches, it is especially useful for dishes involving liquids or where extra thickness can improve the product, such as French Toast and for bread used in Fondue. Producers of Texas Toast include the 'Wonder Bread' variety, Mrs. Bairds, and Safeway/Lucerne Foods. [1]. Popular in Texas and the states surrounding it, it is generally served toasted as a side with southern-style dishes such as chicken-fried steak, fried catfish[2], or BBQ [3][4]. Texas Toast can also be used when making toasted sandwiches[5].

Texas Toast-style bread, because of its thickness, is often used by restaurants and cafeterias for dipping into egg batter and grilling on a flat top grill to create French toast. The crust is much softer than French bread so it is easier to cut when eating. Its thickness allows it to hold together better than regular bread making a much more attractive presentation when plated.

I think my favorite is Burnt Toast.  Burnt toast is possibly carcinogenic, due to elevated levels of benzopyrene.

Yes, I like my toast with a little bit o' benzopyrene. I suppose that makes me dangerous.