One of America’s Favorites – Toast

May 4, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A slice of bread, untoasted (left) and toasted (right)

Toast is a form of bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning is the result of a Maillard reaction, altering the flavor of the bread and making it firmer so that it is easier to spread toppings on it. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable. Bread is often toasted using a toaster, but toaster ovens are also used. Though many types of bread can be toasted the most commonly used is “sliced bread”, referring to bread that is already sliced and bagged upon purchase and may be white, brown, multigrain, etc.

Toast is commonly eaten with butter or margarine, and sweetened toppings, such as jam or jelly. Regionally, savory spreads, such as peanut butter or yeast extracts, may also be popular. When buttered, toast may also be served as an accompaniment to savory dishes, especially soups or stews, or topped with heartier ingredients like eggs or baked beans as a light meal. Toast is a common breakfast food. While slices of bread are most common, bagels and English muffins are also toasted.

Scientific studies in the early 2000s found that toast may contain carcinogens (acrylamide) caused by the browning process.

In a modern home kitchen, the usual method of toasting bread is by the use of a toaster, an electrical appliance made for that purpose. To use a modern toaster, sliced bread is placed into the narrow slots on the top of the toaster, the toaster is tuned to the correct setting (some may have more elaborate settings than others) and a lever on the front or side is pushed down. The toast is ready when the lever pops up along with the toast. If the bread is insufficiently toasted, the lever can be pressed down again.

A classic two-slot toaster

Bread toasted in a conventional toaster can “sweat” when it is served (i.e. water collects on the surface of the cooled toast). This occurs because moisture in the bread becomes steam while being toasted due to heat and when cooled the steam condenses into water droplets on the surface of the bread.

It can also be toasted by a conveyor toaster, which device is often used in hotels, restaurants, and other food service locations. It works by having one heating element on the top and one on the bottom with a metal conveyor belt in the middle which carries the toast between the two heating elements. This allows toast to be made consistently as more slices can be added at any time without waiting for previous ones to pop up.

Bread can also be toasted under a grill (or broiler), in an open oven, or lying on an oven rack. This “oven toast” is usually buttered before toasting. Toaster ovens are special small appliances made for toasting bread or for heating small amounts of other foods.

Bread can also be toasted by holding it near but not directly over an open flame, such as a campfire or fireplace; special toasting utensils (e.g. toasting forks) are made for this purpose. Before the invention of modern cooking appliances such as toasters and grills, bread has been produced in ovens for millennia, toast can be made in the same oven.

Many brands of ready sliced bread are available, some of which specifically market their suitability for toasting.

Left Toast with butter and vegemite. Right With butter and strawberry jam.

In modern days, toast is most commonly eaten with butter or margarine spread over it, and may be served with preserves, spreads, or other toppings in addition to or instead of butter. Toast with jam or marmalade is popular. A few other condiments that can be enjoyed with toast are chocolate spread, cream cheese, and peanut butter. Yeast extracts such as Marmite in the UK, New Zealand and South Africa, and Vegemite in Australia are national traditions. Some sandwiches, such as the BLT, call for toast to be used rather than bread.

Toast is an important component of many breakfasts, and is also important in some traditional bland specialty diets for people with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.

In the United Kingdom, toast is part of a traditional breakfast: it’s often incorporated in a full breakfast or eaten with baked beans. A dish popular with children there is a soft-boiled egg eaten with toast soldiers at breakfast. Strips of toast (the soldiers) are dipped into the runny yolk of a boiled egg through a hole made in the top of the eggshell, and eaten.

In southern Sri Lanka, it is common for toast to be paired with a curry soup and mint tea. In Japan, people like to toast thick slices of bread. Toast became a staple dish in Japan after World War 2, especially after it was introduced in school lunches. Street vendors in South Korea serve toast with a variety of toppings, usually fried eggs, vegetables and slices of meat, topped with sauces. Korean toast is to be eaten as a sandwich.

By 2013, “artisanal toast” had become a significant food trend in upscale American cities like San Francisco, where some commentators decried the increasing number of restaurants and bakeries selling freshly made toast at what was perceived to be an unreasonably high price.

Avocado toast is seen as a symbol of millennial culture.

Cheese and marshmallows are also toasted by exposure to dry radiant heat. A toasted cheese sandwich features toasted cheese and toasted bread. Bagels, English muffins, Pop Tart pastries and crumpets are foods that can be toasted, too.

 

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 27, 2016 at 5:06 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Thank you to Denny for passing this hint along…….

 

After rice has been cooked, place a slice of dry bread on top of the rice and cover. The bread will absorb the moisture and the rice will be dry and fluffy.

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