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Toast is browned bread that has been exposed to radiant heat. The browning is caused by the Maillard process, which changes the flavor of the bread and makes it stiffer so that toppings can be spread more easily. Toasting stale bread is a typical way to make it more edible. Toasting bread in a toaster is common, but toaster ovens are also utilized. The most frequent type of bread is pre-sliced bread.
Toast is typically served with butter or margarine, soup, or sweet toppings like jam or jelly. Savory spreads, such as peanut butter or yeast extract, may also be popular in some regions. Buttered toast can also be served as a light supper with savory foods, such as soups or stews, and can be topped with heartier components like eggs or baked beans. Breakfast toast is a popular option. Toasted bagels and English muffins are another option.
Because of the browning process, toast may contain carcinogens (acrylamide).
The word toast is derived from the Latin word torrere, which means ‘to burn.’ A recipe for Oyle Soppys (flavoured onions cooked in a gallon of old beer and a pint of oil) from 1430 has one of the first references to toast in text. Toast was thrown or eaten after being employed as a seasoning for beverages throughout the 1400s and 1500s. Toast was still thought of as something to add into beverages in the 1600s. “Go bring me a quart of sack; put a toast in’t,” Shakespeare tells Falstaff in his 1602 comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. Since at least the 1850s, toast has been a part of American haute cuisine.
Toast is commonly produced in a special-purpose electrical equipment called a toaster in a modern home kitchen. Sliced bread is inserted into the toaster’s slots, the appropriate amount of toastiness is selected, and a lever is pulled down. When the toast is ready, the toaster pops it up.
When bread is toasted in a traditional toaster, it might “sweat” when served (i.e. water collects on the surface of the cooled toast). This happens because moisture in the bread turns into steam when it is toasted owing to the heat, and the steam condenses as water droplets on the bread’s surface as it cools.
A conveyor toaster, which is commonly used in hotels, restaurants, and other food service establishments, can also toast it. One heating element is on top and one is on the bottom, with a metal conveyor belt in the middle that transports the toast between the two heating elements. This enables for uniform toasting because new slices may be added at any moment without having to wait for the previous ones to finish.
Bread can also be toasted on an oven rack, beneath a grill (or broiler), or in an open oven. Before toasting, this “oven toast” is generally buttered. Toaster ovens are tiny gadgets that are designed to toast bread or heat little amounts of other items.
Toast bread by holding it near but not directly over an open flame, such as a campfire or fireplace; special toasting utensils (e.g. toasting forks) are available for this purpose. Bread has been baked in ovens for millennia before the invention of modern cooking appliances such as toasters and grills, and toast can be baked in the same oven.
Many brands of pre sliced bread are available, some of which particularly emphasize their appropriateness for toasting.
In current days, toast is most usually eaten with butter or margarine spread over it, and may be served with jams, spreads, or other toppings in addition to or instead of butter. Toast with jam or marmalade is popular. A few more condiments that may be eaten with toast include chocolate spread, cream cheese, and peanut butter. Yeast extracts such as Marmite in the UK, New Zealand and South Africa, and Vegemite in Australia are considered national traditions. Some sandwiches, such as the BLT, demand for toast to be used rather than bread.