French toast is at the top of my favourite breakfasts list. My mum always gave it to me as a kid in a savoury manner; topped with salt. But I really favoured eating it sweet and topped with something creamy, especially with seasonal fruits; either raw or stewed. But rather than a white bread version topped with commercial ice cream, we’ve revolutionized this delectable sweet treat the whole foods way. Even sweetness can be an opportunity for nourishment.
Meri and I have both been experimenting with making our own sourdough starters and bread, but you can always choose to purchase some traditionally made sourdough from a local bakery. Many supermarkets now sell traditional sourdough breads as well. We really love spelt or rye varieties. Rye makes for a beautiful starter as it’s high in phytase which helps to break down the phytic acid in other grains, making them more digestible. The long slow fermentation in sourdough also helps to lower the gluten content. Fresh sourdough makes the best French toast.
Aside from topping with some seasonal fruits, I also love to add something creamy. You can always opt for yoghurt or coconut cream, but my absolute favourite topping is kefir cream. I got this idea from Jude Blereau’s book Wholefoods for Children and the Pinkfarm Facebook page.
To make this traditional fermented cream, you need some kefir grains (the milk variety. There’s also a water variety to make delicious probiotic filled fizzy drinks). You can purchase them on the internet, get them from a friend who has extra to spare, or contact the Pinkfarm cultured community to find someone local near you.
Each kefir ‘grain’ is actually a little colony of friendly bacteria and yeasts that looks like a mini cauliflower. These grains culture milk or cream by consuming much of the lactose and milk proteins. The longer it’s left, the more it consumes and makes the cream or milk more easily digestible. Kefir contains a broad spectrum of good bacteria, even more than yoghurt.
To make kefir cream, place one tablespoon milk kefir grains in a clean jar, pour over 300 ml pure cream (preferably grass fed and finished and organic), and cover the top of the jar with a piece of muslin cloth secured with an elastic band. Leave to culture in a warm spot. Stir with a plastic spoon a few times throughout the process to redistribute the grains.
In warmer weather kefir cream will culture in as little as five hours, and in cooler weather may need twenty four hours or more. I normally do it for twenty to twenty four hours as a general rule, as the longer fermentation increases the probiotics and I like the stronger taste. When it’s cultured it will have thickened significantly and will have a lovely sour flavour. Fish out all the grains with a plastic spoon (this is why it’s better to choose larger grains). Some people say to strain through a fine plastic sieve but all the stirring has turned my cream to butter! Once the grains are out, place in the fridge and it will keep for 3 days. Kefir grains can be kept alive between culturing by covering in a jar with fresh milk until next use.
I love to use kefir cream in place of whipped cream or soured cream. It’s delicious combined with a little raw honey or maple syrup in sweeter dishes, especially on top of a steamy bowl of porridge or in this recipe for French toast!
To serve one
2 slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
Butter for frying
Cinnamon Sugar Super Crumb
1/2 tbs rapadura or coconut sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs mixture of chia seeds, ground flax seeds and psyllium husk
A large dollop of kefir cream (or natural yoghurt)
Raspberries, stewed quince with syrup or other fresh or cooked fruits
Whisk the egg, coconut milk and vanilla in a long flat dish, soak the bread all over thoroughly. Heat butter in a fry pan over medium-high heat, when sizzling at the soaked slices of bread and cook for 3-5 minutes, and then carefully flip over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until very caramelised but be careful not to burn. Transfer the hot slices to a plate with the cinnamon sugar super crumb and coat both sides. To serve layer up the slices with cream and fruit and add honey or maple syrup if needed.