National French Toast Day is November 28, and I can’t think of a better place to enjoy the golden-brown morning favorite than the Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company, a combination bakery, café, and gathering spot located on the square in downtown Troy.
Owner, founder, and artisan bread baker par excellence Margaret Begg offers scrumptious breakfast and lunch fare using locally sourced ingredients and her own oven-fresh breads.
The enticing aromas and extraordinary selection – including Asiago Onion, Portuguese Corn, and Cherry Oatmeal – of her beautiful breads alone are worth a stop at the Bakehouse, but it’s the French toast that keeps me coming back again and again. Quite simply, I think Margaret makes the best French toast in Ohio.
French toast is typically made by pan frying slices of day-old bread (the French call it pain perdu, meaning “lost bread”) that have been dipped in a mixture of eggs, milk and cinnamon. Margaret’s version, which the Bakehouse menu describes as “Fresh Bakehouse Raisin Walnut bread dipped in a creamy vanilla custard made with farm fresh eggs and toasted to perfection. Served with whipped cream cheese and orange marmalade,” elevates the dish to a deliciously different level. The very creative French toast that she developed begins with making bread pudding from leftover raisin walnut breadcrumbs.
“After soaking the bread crumbs in vanilla custard, I bake them in a loaf pan,” says Margaret. “Then I cut the loaf into slices and warm them up in melted butter.”
In my opinion, the Bakehouse’s thick and hearty French toast provides a wonderfully satisfying synergy of flavors and textures. The sweet, citrusy marmalade balances the pungent cinnamon, while the crunchy, golden crust complements the silken cream cheese. And although Margaret serves her French toast with fresh fruit and a container of maple syrup, I’m one of the many Bakehouse fans who prefers it without syrup. Her French toast recipe is inspired; the quality of her bread – every loaf is made with a natural yeast culture Margaret derived from organic grapes – is unsurpassed; the result – with or without added syrup – is sheer bliss on a dish.
Tip: Margaret’s Monday-to-Saturday bread baking schedule varies, so check the Bakehouse Website to find out when your favorite loaves are available.
If you’d like to try your hand a making French toast a la Margaret, she usually bakes raisin walnut bread on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Arrive around mid-morning, and you may snag some loaves that are still warm.
Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company, 317 Public Square SW, Troy, OH 45373. 937-339-8100
For more Ohio eats, Find It Here at Ohio.org.