Eggless French Toast?

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On a recent trip to New York City, I had a conversation with Regina Ragone, the Food Director of Family Circle Magazine. She said she’d had a note from a reader whose child had an egg allergy. The reader’s question was, “what can you do to make eggless French Toast?”. I got that glazed look I often do when I’m thinking about a new food invention, and said, “Let me go experiment. I’m like a dog with a bone on things like this.”

First thing to do? Find some bread. You’d think this would be simple at a place like King Arthur Flour, but some days its all about lemon pudding cakes and cookies, and there’s no loaf in the building. Today I was lucky and got my hands on a Maple Whole Wheat from one of our mixes from the tasting kitchen. Armed with 8 slices, I headed for the kitchen.

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The recipe?
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/2 cup half and half
1/8 teaspoon egg nog flavor
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

I put the tapioca starch in a measuring cup, and added 1 ounce of the half and half. I whisked it to make a slurry, to avoid getting any lumps. Then I added the rest of the ingredients to make a thin batter.

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Here goes the eggnog flavoring. Vanilla extract is on deck, as you can see.
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You could add some cinnamon sugar or a few extra grains of nutmeg if you like. I wanted to see if this base did what I wanted it to do before doing any gussying-up.

I soaked the bread.
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Heated the butter.
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And plopped the bread in the pan. Things looked promising: note the edge of the bread, where there’s a genuine French-toast-like ruffle of goo oozing just the right amount.

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Turn over, and Eureka!: golden, a little bit crusty, the texture was just right.
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But how did it taste?

As we ate it, we all agreed it wasn’t exactly “eggy” tasting (how could it be?), but the flavor and texture certainly said “French Toast”. As we cleaned our plates, we started thinking of other things we could do with the batter. I speculated that we could make a very nice Monte Christo, then Sue Gray supplied the master stroke: “You could put cheese powder in the batter.”

That sent me right back to the mixing bowl. I made up another batch of batter and added 2 tablespoons of our Vermont Cheese Powder. I can tell you, if you’ve never had the combination of salty-cheesey with real maple syrup, you have one of the great culinary combinations on earth ahead of you.

So if you know someone who’s allergic to eggs and is missing their French Toast, send them this way. You (and we) will be making new friends over food, which is what we’re all about.

Susan Reid
About

Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently enjoying her fourth career after stints in advertising, running restaurants, and teaching at the New England Culinary Institute. She joined King Arthur in 2002 to ...

comments

  1. Susan Reid , post author

    When I was teaching at the New England Culinary Institute, my rule of thumb with tasting was, “If you take a bite and you just want to eat more, you’ve done it right”. This recipe passed that test around here, and I hope it does the same in your kitchen. Susan Reid

    Reply
  2. Bobby

    Thanks very much. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do this as my wife doesn’t eat eggs. I can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
  3. Todd

    My child has allergies to milk and egg. I can try and substitute soy milk for the half and half, but is there milk in the egg nog flavor or the tapioca starch?

    The egg nog flavor that we carry is dairy free, it comes directly from the manufacturer. We repack our tapioca starch. We don’t have dedicated lines, so it carries the standard processing advisory. See the nutritional info link for details: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-tapioca-flour-16-oz Frank @ KAF

    Reply
  4. Dianne Smith

    This looks like a great recipe, I will be sure to try it. My son actually is sensitive to eggs, milk and gluten, any suggestions to substitute the bread? French toast is one of our favorite meals and I’d like to continue making it..
    HI Dianne,
    It looks like you’ve got some research to do. I’d check out some of the gluten free baking forums to see how others have approached the issue. Best of luck in your search! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. ciscokim

    My son has egg and milk allergies as well as allergies to many fruits and vegetables so I try to add to the nutritional value of foods whenever possible without it becoming apparent.

    I made this recipe and substituted soy milk for the half and half. I used no egg nog flavor but added a pinch of sea salt, the tapioca starch, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny pinch of cloves as well as 1 small, ripe banana and 10 drops of stevia to sweeten. I whipped it together with the vanilla in a small food processor and added enough extra soy milk to make a pourable, dippable batter which was on the thick side. Dipped our bread (I tried various types both plain and savory) halves and let them soak up the batter. Cooked in pan as directed and it came out lovely… just like the french toast all of our family remembers. It has a hint of the sweet, banana flavor but the people who didn’t know it was made with banana said they wouldn’t have known if they weren’t told.

    Served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and syrup or marmalade of choice. Yogurt and fresh fruit topping is great too. I prefer mine with a peppery fruit marmalade! Very good! Thank you for the base recipe. We are in french toast heaven!

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