Monday, September 1, 2014

Vegan French toast


I think I was about 12 before I realised that French toast was the same as the 'eggy bread' I grew up with. Apparently other names for the dish include 'gypsy toast' and 'omelette bread'. I think we can probably agree that French toast sounds the most sophisticated!


Whatever you call it, this dish is traditionally made by dipping bread in a mix of egg and milk, and frying until cooked. As a child, it was an occasional special breakfast, perhaps for a birthday or during school holidays. On those occasions, my siblings and I always topped our eggy bread with a generous amount of golden syrup. In my very young years, eggy bread was even an occasional dinner (minus the golden syrup). It was one of the few ways I enjoyed eggs, and it was one of the earliest dishes I learnt how to make.

When I went vegan, eggs were not an item I missed. I did, however, get the occasional craving for eggy bread. I figured it wasn't possible to veganise this particular dish, and would have pancakes instead if the urge hit.

As it turns out, vegan eggy bread (here is where French toast becomes a more useful title...) is indeed possible. Over the years, I have seen quite a few vegan French toast recipes, and I have been wanting to try it for some time. My Vegan MoFo breakfast week seemed like the perfect opportunity.


Some vegan French toast recipes just fry bread in oil, but many involve chia seeds and non-dairy milk. American-based recipes tend to include sweetener and/or flavourings (like vanilla or cinnamon) within the batter, but I kept my recipe simple this time around: just chia seeds soaked in water, almond milk, and bread. I brought sweetness in with the topping, pulling out my childhood favourite of golden syrup. Blueberries added adult nutrition, and all of a sudden breakfast was looking very exciting.

I wasn't sure what to expect from egg-free eggy bread (an oxymoron if ever there was one), but the result was remarkably similar to my childhood memories. The chia seeds worked to replicate an egg-like batter, which crisped up when cooked. The bread itself is obviously central to this dish, and it too was just as I remembered it: a mix of crisp edges, slightly soft centre, and warm delightful doughiness. The golden syrup topping was lovely, and the whole dish was really delicious.

It may have taken a while to get to this, but I will certainly be making it again.


Vegan French toast
An egg-free version of the classic egg and bread dish.
Makes two slices of French toast.
Vegan; can be gluten free if using gluten free bread.

Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts


Ingredients
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water for at least 15 minutes
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, or non-dairy milk of choice
2 slices thick wholemeal bread, or bread of choice

Spray oil, for cooking

Golden syrup, to top
Fruit, to top

Method
Combine the chia seeds in water and almond milk in a shallow dish or bowl, big enough to dip the bread in. Whisk briefly to combine.

Heat a non-stick pan over high heat and spray with oil.

Dip one piece of bread in the chia-milk mixture, coating both sides (it should be wet but not soggy). Place in the hot pan and cook for several minutes on each side, until golden and crispy in places. Repeat for the remaining bread slice.

Serve topped with golden syrup and fruit of choice.


This post is part of my participation in the 2014 Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo). For this week, I am focusing on vegan breakfasts.

Are you a fan of French toast? And what do you call it?!

16 comments:

  1. i am a bit worried about chia seeds. they seem to be very gluggy. i had them in a banana drink i bought and it was so thick it just put me right off. we only ever had french toast as a savoury dish when i was a child so i had no idea that other people made it sweet!

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    1. Actually, I have had them in drinks too and really didn't like the result! I occasionally add a small amount to smoothies, but generally I use them in baking and then this is a new twist. I don't really like chia seed pudding for the glugginess either...so, you may find you enjoy the non-gluggy formats :)

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  2. Yum! I'm really interested to try this. My fave (so far) vegan French toast recipe is from Vegan with a vengeance and contains besan flour... But I am intrigued by using chia seeds. Gosh I love those little seeds :)

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    1. Ooh, besan flour would be a great option too - I hadn't seen that approach! I am super impressed with the chia seeds though, they really are a versatile food!

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  3. Ooo love the idea of using chia seeds in place of egg! So much better for you anyway. THink of all the omegas you're getting in every bite!

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    1. Exactly! It makes the maple syrup totally justified ;)

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  4. Brilliant! I don't know that I ever had french toast with egg but have tried a vegan version that was ok - I would love to try your version - I quite like the idea of adding chia seeds for a bit of texture as well as gloopiness.

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    1. I'm amazed you've never had traditional french toast, but I suppose since childhood I have hardly done either, so it must be a family by family thing! I think you may prefer the chia version over egg anyway, given your feelings on eggs.

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  5. Yum, yes please! I call it French Toast.

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    1. That's because you're sophisticated ;)

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  6. That's amazing, Kari. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to make an egg-free French toast. I'm glad the chia seeds worked well to produce a great French toast. In our family French toast was also reserved for special occasions only and we used to have it with maple syrup and icing sugar! xx

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    1. Maple syrup and icing sugar sounds wonderful - extra special :D

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  7. Yum! My favourite eggy bread veganised is based off a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance (I think!). I have edited it so much since, but in it's current imagining I use a mix of chickpea flour and almond milk with a little cornflour and some seasoning for the bread dip. It's delicious, but I think a chia version would also be amazing! Thanks for the idea variant.

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    1. Thanks for your idea in turn! It seems there are more possibilities than I knew of :)

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  8. I learn something new everyday!!!! I didn't know eggybread was the same as french toast!
    I make ours with blended banana and milk - though to be honest we rarely make it because we rarely have bread in our home at all!

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    1. I am so glad it isn't just me who didn't realise!!

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