Here's what you do. First, head over to the New York Times and make the now infamous no-knead bread, based on a recipe by Jim Lahey.
And if you're smitten (as I was), the next stop will be your local independent bookstore, where you'll pick up his book, My Bread.
Back to the bread though, for a minute. On day 1 and 2, you can dip a wedge in olive oil and balsamic vinegar or slather a slice in salted butter. On days 3 and 4, you're moving into toast territory. Toss a slice in the toaster for a PB&J breakfast. Sandwich shredded cheddar between two buttered pieces for a grilled cheese lunch. Drizzle some scraps with olive oil, garlic and thyme for a dinner side dish. But wait, that's a huge loaf of bread, and you've still got some left.
Two words: French. Toast.
That's where today's post comes into play. This isn't the pain perdu we chatted about a few years ago. This version is sturdier, heartier—a batter that not only soaks into the crumb, but coats it too.
A better match for bread like this and winter days like these.
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
10-12 slices of bread that's nearing the end of its useful life
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a small dab of butter if you're worried the French toast will stick (repeat between slices).
In a medium bowl (preferably deep and just wide enough to fit a slice of bread), whisk the eggs. Add the flour, sugar and baking powder and keep whisking, as you slowly add the milk. There will be a few lumps (hopefully not too many), but not to worry.
Dip each slice of bread into the batter, turning to coat both sides. Let the excess liquid drip back into the bowl before dropping the battered bread into the hot frying pan.
Cook until golden brown. Flip. Repeat. Sometimes I like to lid the pan after the first flip, while the second side is browning, to make sure the sides cook. You'll lose a bit of crispiness though. Trade-offs.
Yields: 10-12 slices
Source: Mom's recipe file.