This classic French recipe is a delicious (and chic) way to use up your stale, day-old bread. It’s also really easy to make and only needs 5 ingredients! It’s a step above the usual American French toast recipe and makes a wonderful café-style breakfast that’s always a hit with both kids and adults.
What is Pain Perdu?
Pain perdu is a sweet French dish that directly translates to “lost bread.” It’s called lost bread because it’s typically made with day-old bread that’s too stale to eat with anything else, a.k.a. bread that would normally be thrown away or “lost”. It’s a pretty cute name, right?
What’s the Difference Between Pain Perdu and French Toast?
The French toast we know today was heavily inspired by this French recipe, so when it comes to pain perdu vs. French toast, the differences are very slight.
The main difference is that American French toast is usually made with sandwich bread while pain perdu is made with crusty French bread. Like I mentioned earlier, pain perdu is usually made with stale bread so the dryness and hardness of day-old French bread makes a big difference in the final texture. You’ll see what I mean when you try the recipe!
Pain Perdu Ingredients
For my pain perdu recipe, I combined some elements from both the French and American versions of the recipe to make a lovely sweet breakfast treat that my daughter really enjoys.
You only need 5 ingredients – and a pinch of salt! – to make your own pain perdu:
- Stale Bread
- Vanilla Extract
The last two are optional, but they add a lot to the deliciousness of the final product!
For the bread, I like to use leftovers from my milk bread recipe. When fresh, the milk bread has a wonderfully pillowy soft texture. And when stale, it has the perfect slightly dry and crusty texture for pain perdu! I also love how the milky flavor in the bread echoes the milk in the pain perdu batter.
You can use other varieties of stale bread, but I highly recommend choosing homemade bread or bread from a bakery because many store-bought loaves have preservatives in them that keep them very soft and not ideal for your pain perdu.
As this isn’t the healthiest dish (it sure is delicious, though), I also like to stick to organic eggs, organic milk, and other wholesome products to ensure the quality of the final product. I also love to serve it with cut-up fruits, pure maple syrup or honey, and sometimes a little sprinkle of powdered sugar.
How to Make Pain Perdu
So to make your pain perdu, you’ll start off by making a kind of custard mixture. Beat your eggs, then combine with the milk, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract (if you’re using them).
Dunk in your stale bread slices, making sure to evenly coat both sides. This is where you’ll see the biggest difference between pain perdu and French toast. The stale bread doesn’t get as soggy and mushy as the soft sandwich bread used in French toast, which also makes it easier to cook!
Cook the soaked bread on a griddle or non-stick skillet on high heat until golden brown on both sides. Add your favorite toppings and serve. Bon Appetit!
Easy Pain Perdu Recipe| French Toast with Leftover Bread
- 6 Slices of Bread
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 2 Eggs
- Pinch of Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Beat eggs.
- Add Milk, salt and desiredspices.
- Dunk slices of bread into egg / milk mixture. Make sure both sides of the bread is being dunked into the mixture.
- Cook on griddle or skillet over medium high heat until nicely golden brown on both sides.
- I like to serve my French Toast with cut-up fruits, honey or maple syrup and a little sprinkle of powdered sugar if available.