French toast is a classic brunch dish, and even though it's simple, it can be hard to perfect.
I added a special ingredient to the breakfast dish to see if it's better than my usual recipe.
The extra ingredient resulted in a new taste and texture, but I liked both recipes.
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The simplest dishes - like French toast - are often some of the most difficult to perfect. With so few ingredients involved, it can spell disaster if you don't nail the technique down properly.
With this in mind, I went on a virtual quest for the perfect French-toast recipe and stumbled upon a cult-favorite on Allrecipes.com.
It has over 3,000 five-star ratings, but what truly sold me was the unusual addition of flour in the batter.
I decided to test this version against my go-to recipe to see if the hack is really worth all the hype.
Read on to see how it went.
For a fair experiment, I followed the exact same process for both recipes
For both versions, I followed the same instructions, but I cut vanilla and cinnamon from the recipes so I could stay more attuned to the basic textures and tastes.
For my "classic version," I grabbed eggs, milk, sugar, and salt to make the bread-soaking mixture.
The other batter called for all of the same ingredients, but with the added flour.
The basic recipe was a breeze to pull together, but the floured one required a bit of technique.
To avoid lumps in the mix, I had to add a few splashes of milk to the flour and use a whisk to form a paste. From there, I slowly added the remaining milk, followed by the eggs, sugar, and salt.
I could already feel that the flour mixture was more of a batter, whereas the traditional egg mix was still very liquidy.
I didn't notice any big differences when I soaked the bread in each mixture
The recipe called for an enriched and slightly sweet loaf such as challah (my top recommendation) or brioche.
I think you could also get away with thick, Texas-style bread. But leaner varieties, such as sourdough or rye loaves, won't absorb the mixture as well.
It's also best to avoid presliced bread because it can be too thin, which can lead to tearing.
For this experiment, I tried the recipes using both brioche and challah bread.
I cut both loaves into about 1-inch thick slices and divided everything up. Half of the slices went into the basic mixture, and the other half went into the floured batter.
I left the slices to soak for 20 or 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Aside from the difference in color and thickness, both versions seemed to be producing the same results, and the absorption rate was about the same.
It was easier to tell the recipes apart once everything was cooked
I used my trusty cast-iron skillet and set it to medium-low heat with about one tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan.
While cooking, I noticed a slight difference in appearance when I flipped the slices over.
The "classic" bread was a little uneven in color, namely the interior of the bread was lighter than the exterior edges. But the golden-brown color was more evenly distributed on the floured variety.
After two or three minutes on each side, it was time to plate my French toast.
The floured version had a great texture, but the egg flavor was missing
The floured French toast was very interesting. The texture of the bread was slightly firmer yet still soft, and it reminded me of sliced bread pudding. But the egg taste here was quite muted.
The original French toast was a bit dry and crusty around the edges with a gooey center, almost like custard or flan. The egg flavor in this one was very prominent.
The textural differences were super clear, especially in the challah bread
The floured version was perfect in terms of having a consistent texture throughout the bread. It was firm but not dense, and just ever so slightly creamy.
The leftovers also held up well the next day and were very freezer friendly.
On the other hand, the original version was exactly how a quintessential classic French toast should taste: eggy, custardy, and a bit melty.
It also offered a nice textural contrast to its firm and crusty edges.
It was even easier to see these textural differences in the cooked challah bread.
The hack definitely worked, but I'll probably stick to my original recipe
It was hard to declare a favorite because I enjoyed both styles. But I'm a lazy cook by nature, so I'll probably default to the flourless version because there's less prep work involved.
But if I'm serving someone who's convinced they don't like French toast, I'd make them the floured version because I think it's a little more impressive.
Ultimately, you can't go wrong making this with or without flour, the special ingredient.
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