Breakfast in Bed – Milk Toast

Milk Toast 9

Post by Alison Hein.

Milk Toast is a dish that was popularized around the turn of the last century. In 1887, one of the first recipes appeared in print in Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cook Book: Containing Practical Receipts for Plain and Rich Cooking:

Put one quart of milk in a tin or basin, and set into a kettle of boiling water. When it comes to a boil stir in two spoonfuls of flour, mixed with half a cup of milk, one spoonful of butter, and salt to taste; let this boil ten minutes, and then put in the bread, which must be toasted brown. Cook five minutes longer and serve.

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Simply toasted bread, served in a warm, lightly sweetened milk bath, makes an easily digested meal. Some made it as a way to use up excess milk in the days before refrigeration. It soon became a popular breakfast for young children and the infirm.

In 1924, cartoonist H.T. Webster, inspired by the bland nature of milk toast, created the wimpy character Caspar Milquetoast. Mr. Milquetoast was featured in Webster’s comic strip The Timid Soul for nearly 30 years, until the early 1950s.

Caspar Milquetoast

But don’t let all this ancient history and spineless connotation prevent you from trying milk toast. It turns out that milk toast is delicious! If you have a way to steam the milk (like a cappuccino machine) mix the sugar and vanilla into the milk first and use this method. You can also try adding some fresh berries or dried fruit. Experiment with different types of bread, if you like, or chop the toast into easily edible cubes before serving.

Pretty soon all the little Milquetoasts in the house will be crying out for a Milk Toast breakfast in bed.

Milk Toast 2


2 slices thick bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon

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Place bread slices in toaster and toast to a golden brown. Spread each slice evenly with butter.

In the meantime, pour milk into a heavy saucepan. Stir in sugar and vanilla and heat over medium heat, without stirring, until milk begins to simmer around the edges, about 5 minutes.

Place toast on a serving plate. Pour steaming milk on top of toast, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve immediately.

Makes one serving.

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