Through thick and thin: our favorite toasting breads

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Good morning! Let’s raise a toast to toast today.

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To peanut butter toast on a cold and snowy winter morning.

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And when spring comes and the sap flows here in Vermont, to toast with maple sugar peanut butter. Yes, that’s right – maple sugar stirred into PB.

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In summer, our thoughts (and toasters) turn to toast with fresh, homemade strawberry preserves.

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And in fall? Something hearty and whole grain, to ward off the chill of those bright-blue-sky-football-Saturday mornings.

Q: What’s the best type of bread for toast?

A: Whatever you like. Seriously, I don’t think there’s any loaf that doesn’t respond well to being sliced, toasted, and buttered or jammed or preserved or cinnamon-sugared. Or peanut buttered, cheesed, or marmaladed.

Or artichoke tapenaded, jalapeño + Cabot cheddared, or red pepper hummused – as offered every day in our Norwich, VT King Arthur Flour Café.

Whether you’re a fan of old-fashioned, cream-colored “white” bread, 100% whole wheat, or something comfortably light yet interestingly whole-grainy in between, we’ve got you covered.

After all, we’ve got over 150 recipes for sandwich loaves alone on our King Arthur Flour recipe site. And that doesn’t include other eminently toastable breads like challah braids and sourdough boules, baguettes and panettone and crusty Italian loaves – all sing their own siren song when popped, warm and golden brown, from your toaster.

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Brioche French Toast, anyone?

But enough with the tempting talk. As they say, actions speak louder than words; so let’s get right down to it, and check out my #1 favorite white bread for toast –

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English Muffin Toasting Bread.

This loaf’s name is the perfect descriptor. Its rough, craggy interior and cornmeal-dusted crust mimic that of an English muffin, though in loaf form.

And you know what I really love about it, besides taste and texture? It’s an easy batter bread. Just beat everything together (no kneading), let it rise in the pan, bake, and pull out a loaf like the one pictured above.

This is the perfect loaf for all of you beginning yeast bakers out there. Once you taste this bread (and find out how ridiculously easy it is to make at home), you’ll never buy white bread at the store again.

I love to cut this loaf into thick slices for toast; the crunchy, golden outside perfectly complements the bread’s pillowy warm softness within.

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Tip: For perfectly even slices, look straight down on the bread as you cut; and hold the knife absolutely perpendicular to the cutting board, not canted one way or the other.

toast1Into the toaster. Push down; POP!

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Butter.

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Enjoy!

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Speaking of butter, a liberal application of melted butter and garlic oil, plus time on the griddle or grill, transforms thick slices of this toasting bread into Texas Toast.

Or, minus the garlic, it becomes “fried slice,” a British breakfast must-have.

Next, a loaf that’s white-but-not-quite:

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Honey-Oat Pain de Mie.

A cup of rolled oats in a traditional white bread recipe adds golden color, nubbly texture, whole-grain goodness, and nutty sweetness to this loaf, which is baked in a lidded pain de mie (pullman) loaf pan.

What’s up with that? As the rising bread bakes, it hits the lid of the pan, effectively compressing its crumb. The result?

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A close-grained loaf, easy to slice thin (left); thick; or thick and thin (right), to satisfy all the toast lovers in the house.

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I love making this bread into cinnamon toast. Butter toast, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Or with Cinnamon-Sugar Plus, which I spring for on a regular basis. Its potent Vietnamese cinnamon offers superior flavor; while its superfine sugar melts smoothly into the hot toast, leaving no gritty crunch, as regular granulated sugar would.

Next, for you whole-grain lovers (or even those of you who don’t yet know you’re a whole-grain lover, but will be after you make this bread) –

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Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread, our 2014 King Arthur Flour Recipe of the Year.

Since I’ve never been a fan of the rather strong flavor of traditional whole wheat, I love using our white whole wheat flour in this bread. A lighter-colored, milder-flavored 100% whole wheat flour, it offers all the nutrition, fiber, and protein of its red-wheat sibling, while soothing non-whole-wheat fans with its “closer to white bread” look and taste.

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So, what’s up here? Same recipe, different pans. On the left, bread baked in a standard 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. On the right, baked in the aforementioned 9″ pain de mie pan – minus the lid.

I actually prefer baking many of my loaves in the narrower, taller, longer pain de mie pan. Their shape is more regular, and there’s no mushroomy crown at the top to get stuck in the toaster.

Plus I get an extra slice or two from each loaf – and thus each slice has slightly fewer calories. (And if you track calories, you know every single one counts!)

toast4Here’s an easy, savory, protein-rich breakfast: cheese on toast. Toast your bread; butter it lightly; and grate cheese on top. I’m using Cabot extra-sharp; my Microplane grater delivers a shower of shreds in just a few seconds.

Place cheese-topped toast in your toaster oven (of course). Don’t let your attention wander, as I clearly did – it’ll be done (and then overdone) quickly!

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Another favorite: fresh strawberry jam. Hey, not for me the water bath, the canning jars, the tons of sugar; I make my own refrigerator jam, with a minimum of sweetener, in my microwave. Ten minutes, start to finish. Don’t believe me? Check out our Microwave Berry Jam.

So many breads, so little time…

toast5Here are a few of my other favorite toast-friendly loaves: Classic Baguettes, always a happy host for melted cheese; Irish Raisin Bread; Sourdough English Muffins; and 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread, another great example of, “Wow, this really doesn’t taste like whole wheat bread…”

Still, there’s one bread missing here, and it’s a very important one. In fact, it’s the #1 most searched-for bread recipe online, nationwide.

Give up?

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Banana Bread! Toast a couple of slices (or butter and grill), and fill with lightly sweetened cream cheese for a breakfast sandwich that’ll knock the socks off anything your local fast-food emporium has to offer.

What’s your favorite toasting bread? Share your thoughts below. Or show us: post a photo to Instagram, hashtag #myfavoritetoast. We look forward to hearing (and seeing) what graces your breakfast table!

For more enticing toast recipes and photos, check out our toast board on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Tiara aka Luvpyrpom

    I’ve only started bread baking in the last 10 months but it has taught so much! Both my mother and sister are huge bread eaters. Mom loves all sweet breads. Her absolute favorite is the Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough bread – she says she doesn’t even need to butter it to toast it. Sis loves the Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread as rolls and in loaf style for her sandwiches. I recently fell in love with the most basic one – your Classic White Sandwich Bread. And a classic favorite among all my family members is the Four Stranded Challah bread. All this bread baking has taught me to experiment with adaptation especially with soy/vegan products (as we’re a family of lactose intolerant people) and to really enjoy the taste of homemade bread without all the chemical leaveners/preservatives in our food. Thank you for all your blog posts and inspiration for all of us newbies to the baking world.

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    Glad to know the name of the English Muffin Bread toast, buttered and toasted on the grill is called “fried slice”. Ha! My husband usually just asks for “pan toast” which he prefers over any other toast. And making it with the English Muffin Bread is absolutely wonderful. One of my favorite breads to make too. It’s so easy.

    Reply
  3. Addie

    I love the English Muffin toasting bread – and you’re right – it’s one of the easiest breads ever, especially if you have a bread machine (tho I bake mine in the oven). WONDERFUL flavor. It’s just delicious – toasted or not (but toasted is better).

    Reply
  4. Jacque

    I also love the English Muffin bread for toast, but my all time favorite is French Toast made with leftover Challah bread. Challah is fast and easy to make and delicious by itself on the first day. But the french toast is out of this world. You can even cut it thick enough to make stuffed French toast like the restaurants do. Yum

    Reply
  5. cweyler

    I LOVE homemade bread! As we are empty nester’s, I would like to see more recipes converted to fit the 9″ pain de mie pan. Or can I use the percentage method to calculate my own conversions? If so would the conversion work for the yeast amount as well? I used the percentage to calculate the “Perfect for toast” recipe, but have not baked it as yet. Plan on doing so this week. I guess from reading this blog that any recipe for an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pan can be baked in the lid less 9″ pain de mie pan. Is this correct?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Absolutely correct – I just prefer the square (rather than flared) shape of the 9″ x 4, so use it for all my 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pan recipes. That makes things pretty simple, doesn’t it? :) PJH

  6. SarahD

    I think the Chocolate Loves Vanilla bread from the whole grain baking book makes absolutely the best toast. It doesn’t need any topping at all because toasting it makes the chocolate all melty. Yum!

    Reply
  7. vee

    I made a loaf of bread this weekend, along with homemade applesauce. My kids ( and husband) went crazy, it was as if they never ate bread before!

    It was a nice tight crumb and was wonderful toasted, slathered with butter, and applesauce. Toast is KING!

    Reply
  8. Dale

    I made a couple of loaves of the Portuguese Sweet bread from KA to go along with our traditional New Year’s Eve dinner of Country Captain’s Chicken. {Half of one loaf we sent home with our guest.} Since we had discussed French Toast at dinner, we decided to make some for New Year’s Day breakfast using the Sweet Bread. It was so very good as the base for French Toast. I think we started a ‘new’ tradition.

    Dale

    Reply

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