If you have ever heard of someone being described as a "milquetoast" it means that they are a timid, meek, or unassertive person who is afraid to stand up for themselves. The origin of this term goes all the way back to a comic strip in the 1930's where the character, Caspar Milquetoast, was bland and unassuming. This play on words sounds just like "milk toast" which is a sometimes bland, yet nutritious and easily digested food that has been mentioned in cookbooks as far back as the 1800's.
Milk toast has made a comeback recently, and while it is still an easy and nutritious breakfast, it doesn't have to be bland or boring. With simple recipes like this, with few ingredients, it is important to use the absolute best ingredients every step along the way.
For the bread, the star of the dish, this is a great opportunity to give day-old bread a new life. Flavorful and rich brioche slices are perfect. They are first toasted to firm up the bread a bit, and then slathered with soft butter to make the dish rich and delicious. Then milk - full fat cow milk or any milk alternative to suit your particular taste and nutritional needs - gently warmed on the stovetop.
Finally, milk toast can have a hint of sweetness and flavor by sprinkling cinnamon and sugar into the bowl just before that first bite. Instead of ground cinnamon, feel free to experiment with other warm spices. Ground nutmeg, ground ginger, or even pumpkin pie spice are all delicious options. You can enjoy a bowl of milk toast just as you would a morning breakfast cereal, but instead it is warm and comforting.
Maybe as we expand the definition of a milk toast recipe to include a wide variety of breads, milk options, and sweet or savory flavor mix-ins, the old-fashioned term can take on a whole new meaning in the future.
- 2 thick slices day-old brioche bread
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups whole milk
Gather the ingredients.
Toast the day-old brioche bread in the toaster. Softer bread can be toasted longer so it can hold up to the milk in the bowl. Firmer bread can be lightly toasted.
Generously butter each slice.
Using a serrated knife, cut the toasted bread into bite-sized cubes.
In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, warm the milk just to simmering.
Place the toasted bread cubes in a bowl and top with the warmed milk. Sprinkle with the desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Enjoy immediately as you would a bowl of cereal.