Torrijas are, without a doubt, the sweet star of the Lenten season and Easter in Spanish gastronomy. They are prepared and eaten throughout the country, in restaurants, patisseries and homes. Far from what it may seem, making a good French toast is not easy. Therefore, for you to succeed with this humble dessert we are going to give you a series of tips and tricks to get them to look perfect.
The variety of French toast recipes is wide. Today we can find them in wine, milk or syrup, coated in sugar and cinnamon, fried, baked, stuffed and much more. Whatever recipe we are going to prepare, these tips and tricks will help us get the perfect French toast. Take good note of them and you will see how successful your next batch of French toast will be.
There are special breads for torrijas, but we do not consider that it is necessary to get them to get a good result. In fact, torrijas are the star (bread) use recipe of Spanish gastronomy and the bread with which they have always been made is the common bread of all life which is more than adequate.
Of course, the bread must be of good quality. The fact that this recipe is made with the bread that we have left at home does not mean that we can use any. The best is the pan de torrijas you must have a thin crust, dense crumb and be slightly alveolated, like candeal bread.
If you want make bread at home, here we tell you how to do it in a traditional way. Although if you are in a hurry, you can always try to do it with our recipe for express bread for torrijas.
An important fact to keep in mind is that dry bread absorbs milk better and retains more of it, resulting in a juicier toast inside. What are we pursuing, right? For this reason, it is advisable to use bread from the day before or even two days before and let it dry slightly without becoming hard as stone.
We already have the bread and now it’s time to get down to work with the preparation of the torrijas. The first question that arises is that of their thickness and there we enter into delicacies and subjectivities. We like chubby torrijas, being beautiful, that’s why we cut the bread about two centimeters thick. Perhaps it is that we are very good, but the fact is that they taste infinitely better to us and are juicier.
Before dipping the bread in the milk and soaking it well, give it a touch of flavor to it and infuse it with cinnamon sticks, the peel of a citrus fruit (without any white part, which is very bitter) and a little sugar. And we say infuse, eye. This means heating the milk with your chosen elements, removing from the heat before it comes to a boil, and allowing it to cool before removing the “bits” and using.
The proportions of the different ingredients for the infusion they are, as with the thickness of the slices of bread, something very personal. However, we recommend a cinnamon stick, 100 g of sugar and the peel of half an orange or lemon for a liter of milk. It is impossible to go wrong with this mix. Little word.
After soaking the torrijas in the milk, the we let rest on a tray or a wide baking dish with a little depth (so that it collects the possible liquid) for about ten minutes. This way we make sure that the bread acquires all the flavor of the infused milk.
Once the torrijas are well soaked, they are passed through beaten egg, turning so that both sides are covered, and fried in plenty of hot oil. Now, what type of oil is the most suitable? This, which is the million dollar question, does not have a valid answer. Vegetable oil is mild, while olive oil adds a hint of flavor. Matter of personal taste.
What is important to observe and respect is oil temperature, which must be very hot (as in all frying). In the case of sunflower oil, which is less stable than olive oil, more care must be taken because it withstands temperature worse. Its optimum temperature is 170ºC and that of olive oil is 180ºC.
In both cases, you have to discard the oil after frying a certain amount of French toast, approximately 16-18 units, and keep it clean of those egg burrs that remain in the pan after each toast. We can do this with a slotted spoon or a strainer, but if we strain the oil and transfer it to another pan, all the better.
To find out if the oil has reached the right temperature, the trick (if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer) is add an orange peel to the oil. It will be ready when it sizzles and we can start to introduce the torrijas in it, keeping the fire at medium power and turning them so that they are fried on both sides.
It takes two minutes to fry each torrija (one minute for each side), but it is important to add them at most two by two so that the oil does not get cold. On the other hand, we point out that the oil is new so that it is free of flavors and better withstands the frying of our torrijas.
The torrijas can be served as is, especially if we have used sugar when infusing the milk, but the usual is to sprinkle them with some type of syrup or coat them in sugar and cinnamon, trying not to pass us so that they are not cloying. The best time to do this is freshly fried because they absorb the added flavors better.
Honey is one of the most traditional ways to finish French toast. If we cook it with a little water, we will create a wonderful soft mead in which the sweetness point is lowered. We can also prepare a syrup based on water and sugar, 50%, flavored with citrus fruits, rose water, vanilla essence, orange blossom water, etc.
The ideal is to consume the torrijas freshly made, warm or at room temperature. It is a type of elaboration that does not withstand the passage of time well and that loses a lot from one day to the next. However, if we do not consume them during the day, we can keep them in a cool place other than the refrigerator, if the room temperature allows it. Although it is best to fine-tune the amount of torrijas that we make to avoid excess.
Images | Moritz Barcelona, Jesús Pérez Pachecho and Kattebelletje on Flickr and Eduardo on Wikimedia Commons
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