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The background

This recipe has been passed down through my family for at least three generations. In my immediate family, it is known as French Cheese, stemming in a rather unimaginative fashion from "French toast" and "cheese." My uncle's family calls them SBDs (Stobbe Breakfast Delights). Either way, the recipe is the same, and has intimidated unwitting first-timers for a long time. I pass it on to you in hopes that you'll see past the initial bizzareness of the mating of cheese and French toast.


The setup

Ingredients:
Eggs
Milk
Cinnamon (optional)
2 slices of Texas toast per serving
Cheese (milder varieties work better)
Maple syrup or other toppings

Non-food essentials:
Frying pan
Spatula
Wire whisk
Shallow container (large enough to comfortably contain the bread you're using)

Last-minute advice:
Put the container (shallow because you're going to be subjecting the bread to a brief egg-bath in it) where you have easy access to it, but where it won't get in the way of your cooking. Closer to the frying pan tends to be better, to mitigate dripping.

Slice your cheese ahead of time, if it's not already. I recommend that you try to stay away from processed cheese like Kraft Singles, and where I come from, bricks of cheese don't slice themselves. If you're feeling adventurous, try something like a nice fontina.

I use Texas toast because it is thick and delicious, but you can use another type of bread if you want. Thinner slices tend to get soggy with the egg/milk mixture and the moisture from the melting cheese.


The execution

The creation of French Cheese is less of a science and more of an art, so feel free to use these as guidelines rather than strict instructions.

Crack about three eggs (assuming you're using Jumbo-sized) into the container. Watch for shrapnel. Nothing is worse than biting into a healthy slab of French Cheese and being stabbed in the mouth by a razor-sharp fragment of eggshell.

Add milk to the eggy goodness. Not in an equal amount to the eggs, but fairly close. A good rule of thumb is that, when mixed, the concoction should be more eggy than milky.

Beat with the whisk until the mixture is homogenous, adding a dash of cinnamon if it suits you.

Take your bread slices and dunk them in the egg/milk mixture, being sure to coat all surfaces evenly. The mixture should be fairly thick on the bread, as a thinner coating will burn before the cheese is fully melted.

Put a slice of cheese (two if they're thin slices) atop a slice of treated bread and crown that with another slice of bread.

Place on the frying pan on medium heat. It will cook for between three and five minutes, depending on several things, such as how thickly the bread is coated with the egg/milk mixture, the exact temperature of your stovetop burner, and how often you flip it.

Speaking of flipping, you should check the bottom after about forty-five seconds to a minute. If the egg/milk coating is starting to brown, flip it over to the other side using your handy spatula. You'll do this several times to allow even cooking, prevent burning, and to melt the cheese evenly.


The extraction

After both sides of the French Cheese are suitably cooked (the experts say that eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit or about 71 degrees Celsius to neutralize any nasties like salmonella living in them) and the cheese is melted, remove from the frying pan and place on plate.

Around here, we put either maple or blueberry syrup on them and eat with a fork, but you're welcome to experiment. Other things to try are confectioner's sugar, butter, or just eating them plain while they're hot and melty.

Enjoy!


Chiisuta says re French Cheese: This would be so boss with sausage! It would be the ultimate egg, sausage, and cheese!
jessicapierce says I will eat salad for a week so I can eat one of those. Wait, that first part is a lie.
hapax says re French Cheese: I'm having a religious experience imagining this with Brie. Which, as an added bonus, is a French cheese!

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