Cooking Classroom: Toast Pan Toast | Life
Welcome to Kitchen Classroom, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids shares a weekly set of kid-tested and trusted recipes, hands-on experiences, and activities paired with suggestions on how to bring learning in the kitchen to life.
In this week’s edition of Kitchen Classroom, Kids Cook Breakfast! With a little help from adults, even the youngest chefs can make breakfast for the whole family with this super easy pan French toast recipe from “My First Cookbook”. Kids will learn the science behind how bread absorbs custard during this week’s Learning Moment.
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This recipe is less difficult and less messy than your typical French toast, and does enough to serve four people on one plate! Make sure your sandwich bread slices are 4×6 inches and ¾ of an inch thick to make sure they soak up all the cream (supermarket pre-sliced white bread is the perfect size) . To use wholegrain, oatmeal or multigrain sandwich bread, you will need a little more custard: use 4 eggs and increase the milk to 1⅓ cup.
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
8 slices of hearty white sandwich bread
Set 1 oven rack to the lowest position and the second rack 5 to 6 inches from the broil element. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Thoroughly spray baking sheet with aerosolized vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined and sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds. Add the milk and melted butter and whisk until well blended.
Pour the egg mixture into a greased baking sheet.
Place bread slices in 2 rows on a baking sheet. Working quickly, turn each slice in the same order you placed them on a baking sheet. Let bread rest until the slices absorb the cream, about 1 minute.
Bake on the lower rack until the bottoms of the slices are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
Use oven mitts to transfer the baking sheet to the upper rack and heat the grill. Grill until tops of slices are golden, 1 to 4 minutes (watch carefully to avoid scorching!).
Moment of learning
Physical sciences (structure and properties of matter):
Before placing the bread slices on the cream in the baking sheet in step 4, ask the children to make a prediction: what do they think will happen when the bread hits the cream? Have them look closely at the baking sheet as they place the slices of bread. Children will see that the cream is completely absorbed by the bread within 1 minute. Did this result match the children’s predictions? Where do they think the cream went?
While the French toast is baking, explain to the children that to turn plain bread into French toast, the bread must absorb the liquid custard mixture. Ask the children: have you ever heard the word “absorb”? When and what does it mean? Explain that to absorb something is to absorb it or swallow it. To illustrate this idea, create a simple model for kids to see absorption in action:
Add water to a shallow bowl or pie plate until it is about ½ inch deep.
Place a dry or wrung out sponge in the center of the bowl.
Have the children watch how the liquid moves from the bowl into the sponge.
Have the children squeeze the sponge to release the liquid into the bowl.
Have the children observe the sponge closely; what do they notice about its texture? How could this explain how the sponge absorbs water?
Children will probably notice that the sponge is full of many small holes. Explain that inside these holes are many small air pockets. When the sponge is placed in the water, the holes act as channels and water is sucked through them, filling the air pockets. The pockets hold water until it comes out of the holes when the sponge is squeezed. Invite the children to watch an extra piece of bread. Can they see tiny holes in its surface? (Now is a good time to use a magnifying glass, if you have one.) Explain that in this recipe, the bread acts like a sponge; it’s also full of tiny air pockets, which absorb the custard, making the bread soft and spongy (and delicious after baking!).
English language arts (speaking and listening):
While your family sits at the table to enjoy their French toast breakfast, challenge them to a game of “I’m making breakfast” (modeled on “I’m going on a picnic”) . To play this game:
Have a person begin by secretly choosing a rule or category that all breakfast foods must follow, such as “foods that are yellow,” “foods that are sweet”, or “foods that begin with vowels. “. (Don’t share the rule out loud!)
This person starts the game by saying “I make breakfast and I cook …” filling in the blank with something that follows the rule. For example, if the category is “yellow foods” they might say “I cook breakfast and cook scrambled eggs”.
The next player tries to figure out the pattern by saying “I’m making breakfast and I’m making …”, followed by a new breakfast item.
Then the player who started says either “Yes, you can make it for breakfast” or “No, you cannot make it for breakfast”, depending on whether the new item meets the rule or not. For example, if the second player says “I’m making breakfast and making cranberry juice,” that wouldn’t follow the rule.
Players take turns continuing around the table until someone can guess what the rule is, or until everyone agrees they’re stumped and the first player reveals Rule.
Start a new round with another player choosing a new rule or category.