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Lost and Found

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Growing up in Central Louisiana, I have great memories of my favorite breakfast and brunch items prepared by my mother. And of them, my favorite was Lost Bread. Known by the French as Pain Perdu. Lost Bread (a/k/a French Toast) is most commonly produced using day old breads, like a baguette or sourdough. My mother often made bread from scratch, but never a baguette or sourdough.

Here's my mother's recipe for a family of 9 (yep, I said 9):

20 slices of bread

8 eggs, beaten

a pinch of salt

1/4 cup of sugar

1 cup of whole milk

1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

butter for topping and syrup for topping

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with salt, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour into flat bottomed dish large enough to accommodate a few slices of the bread. Put bread slices into the dish to soak up some of the egg mixture, a few at a time. Turn with a spatula and let them soak on the other side, but not too long, or they will be too saturated and difficult to turn. Gently remove the soaked bread slices to the buttered baking sheet, and continue with the remaining bread slices. Spoon any remaining egg mixture over the slices.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet (large enough for 4 - 5 slices at one time) over medium heat. Add 4 - 5 coated bread slices to the skillet. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes on each side. Reserve in warm oven until all bread is done.

I've FOUND this method gets me to the table at the same time as guest, unlike my mother: Heat oven to 400°. Butter two baking sheets liberally and place the coated bread slices on the sheets. Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven; bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning after the first 10 minutes to brown on both sides. Serve immediately with melted butter and your favorite honey or syrup.

Serves 8 - 10.

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