Buttered Toast

Toast

[tohst]

Toast is sliced bread which has been browned by exposure to dry heat ("toasted"). This browning reaction is a form of Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread, making it more pleasant to eat for some, and makes it crisp such that it holds toppings more securely. Toasting is also a common method of making stale bread palatable. Toast is often served with butter, cheese, marmalade, or any number of other toppings, thereby making an open-faced sandwich. Toast is a typical breakfast food, and may be bought as is in supermarkets, or made at the home from regular bread.

Toasting methods

Using a household toaster

The usual method of browning bread is by the use of a toaster, a small appliance made for that purpose, first used in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. For a modern toaster, sliced bread is placed into the narrow slots on the top of the device and the desired toast setting is selected (some toasters have more elaborate settings than others). Then, the lever on the side of the toaster is pushed down, simultaneously turning on the heating elements.

Using a toaster oven

A more modern method of toasting is the use of a toaster oven. This device can be used both as a conventional oven and for toasting. It is usually a scaled down version of a conventional oven. The use of a toaster oven is more similar to that of a conventional oven: settings such as temperature and cooking time are set with knobs or buttons on the toaster oven. The bread is then placed on the oven rack to cook. Unlike the traditional toaster, the toast does not pop out the top when it is ready. Instead, the toast is simply removed from the oven by hand using an oven mitt or potholder. Some prefer the toaster oven because it takes up little counter space and can be used to bake small food items without having to use the conventional oven, but it is still debated whether it gives toast the "crunch" that a traditional toaster does.

Using a grill

Toast can also be prepared under a grill (American English: broiler). This method requires turning the toast halfway through the cooking process, making it less convenient than using a toaster. This method also allows a range of toast based dishes to be created, for example cheese on toast where the bread is toasted on one side, turned and topped with cheese before finally grilling the second side.

Using an open fire

Traditionally toast can be prepared on a wood or coal burning open fire, using a toasting fork (a long slender fork made entirely for this purpose). As with the grill based method this requires turning the toast during the cooking process.

Reflector Toasters

Another way to make toast is to use a reflector toaster. They are usually made of a reflective material the directs sunlight towards the toast and are similar to reflector ovens. Some reflector toasters can be put near a campfire to reflect the heat at the toast.

Preparation and use

Care must be taken while toasting bread to avoid burning toast unless it is desired in that state. Burnt toast is possibly carcinogenic, due to elevated levels of benzopyrene.

Toast is commonly eaten with butter or margarine spread over it. Jams, jellies and other spreads are also commonly used as toppings. In some countries a more popular practice is to spread a yeast extract, such as Marmite or Vegemite on toast. "Beans on toast" and "Eggs on toast" are both very popular simple meals in the United Kingdom. Other methods of preparing toast include to sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on buttered toast, creating cinnamon toast. Toast spread with jam, jelly, apple butter or marmalade is commonly associated with breakfast. It is sometimes used instead of fresh bread for making sandwiches (such as a BLT sandwich).

Toast is a common component of many breakfasts, and is also used in some traditional bland specialty diets for people with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, or morning sickness during pregnancy, such as the BRAT diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Bread can also be cubed before being toasted, sometimes after being coated with seasonings. These toasted cubes are called croutons, and are often added to salads, soups, and other dishes.

See also

References

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