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And the Valley Cooks: Lost Bread

How about a little brunch for Mother’s Day?

Billy Gomila

So Mother’s Day is coming up. And that means breakfast, or brunch usually. Preferably in bed for Mom, be her yours, or your wife should the day apply.

When we’re kids, this usually means burnt pancakes and bacon, but we’re all growed up now. Or that’s the rumor anyway. So time to step the game up. French that toast up a bit with some New Orleans-style Lost Bread. AKA Pain Perdu. Note: the ghost of my late Maw Maw is currently imploring you to pronounce it pronounce it “PAN PEAR-D’YOO!”

Lost Bread is made with French bread, and gets it name from typically being a way of getting something out of the old, stale, unused portion of a loaf. You can still go with fresh bread if you want, but I do think you get a better texture starting with a piece that’s dryer and harder.


12 loaf french bread, preferably stale
3 cups milk
4 eggs
1 tbsp molasses or Steen’s Cane Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp ground nutmeg
14 tsp ground cinnamon

Consider this recipe something of a base that you can play with. Fresh fruit, and maybe a little juice could add some flavor here. Or perhaps a little bourbon or rum.


1. Cut your bread into serving pieces with a sharp knife. Be very careful, because stale bread is really hard and that can lead to bad things happening if you’re not smart with your knife.

2. In a large, wide mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix very well.

3. Soak the bread in the batter, turning and coating well. You really want the liquid to soak up into the bread, and that may take a while, depending on the hardness of the bread you’re working with. Some recipes even recommend soaking overnight, although I think that would make things too mushy.

4. Heat a griddle pan or large skillet, and lube it up with some butter. Once things are melted, cook your bread a few minutes on each side until perfectly golden brown. The goal here is a good crispy exterior but still soft in the middle. Garnish with a sprinkle of some powdered sugar and serve with the syrup of your choice.

This will feed four to six, depending on how much bread you have on hand.