Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's your recipe for perfect toast?

New York Magazine is reporting a restaurant toast trend, so if you thought that toast was just something you ate puffy-eyed in the morning and didn't talk about, well wrongo. We have to talk about it. And here's why we should: Over the years, through diligent practice, we've each silently developed the perfect toasting method for ourselves. This kind of practice and refinement directed at other skills is considered art. Shouldn't we share our hard-won techniques?

New York Magazine has Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen laying out the art of his toast. You can tell he's a professional because he doesn't even use a toaster.

1. Slice a rustic sourdough loaf...into one-half-to-three-quarter-inch slices.

2. Pour a generous splash (about two tablespoons) of olive oil in a nonstick pan, and heat over medium flame.

3. Put slices in pan, rub the bread around a few seconds to absorb the oil, and flip over.

4. Let cook, under a small weight if necessary, until golden brown. (“It shouldn’t be so crunchy that it’s dry and when you bite it, it hurts,” says Kluger.)

5. Flip to cook other side.

6. Top with restraint, and serve while warm. (Kluger cuts slices widthwise into four pieces for easier eating and—if you’re so inclined—sharing.)

That's like the advanced toast seminar you can only take if you're a senior (or if you're making your toast into bruschetta). Here's my perfect breakfast toast:

English muffin. Plain. Goes in the toaster oven. It should toast until the tips at the top are crispy but the bottom retains some softness. If there are any signs of charring, my boyfriend gets it, because he likes burned stuff. We recently moved in together and we decided to defy our families' traditions: We're keeping our butter on the counter, outside the fridge. (No, it doesn't go bad there.) We think this is a defining household feature. Think about the homes you know. More relaxed homes: butter out. More uptight: butter's in the fridge. (If the household is near the equator, philosophy does not apply.) We're not really doing it for our reputation, though. We're doing it for the toast. It means the butter is always soft enough to spread. Don't you hate when the cold edge of refrigerated butter roughs up the surface of your bread? This is exactly the kind of thing I'm glad we're finally talking about. To finish it off, salted butter is the only way to go.


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