How to Make Russian French Toast: Grenki

Updated on March 30, 2018
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Janisa loves eating and experimenting in the kitchen. She enjoys creating new recipes and homemade versions of popular store bought foods.

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I served it on a pretty large plate with icing sugar sprinkled on top to give the meal a restaurant-style look.
I served it on a pretty large plate with icing sugar sprinkled on top to give the meal a restaurant-style look.

"Grenki" - Russian French Toast

While french toast is a popular breakfast item in North America and is commonly served at restaurants, the Russian version, known as grenki, is a lot simpler and makes use of stale bread; definitely not something someone going to a restaurant would want to pay for! I've found that grenki are a lot moister than the American style of french toast and that it's nearly impossible to guess that old bread was used to prepare them.

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Cook Time

Prep time: 3 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 13 min
Yields: Serves 2 (2 slices of bread each)

Required Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk — you can use less if you don't want them to be too moist
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp sugar (use less or more depending on your preference)
  • cinnamon (if desired)
  • 4 slices of old bread — You could always use fresh bread, but this recipe is especially good for when you have stale bread you want to use up instead of discarding.

Toppings and Serving Suggestions

Syrup was completely unknown in Russia until very recently, and even nowadays it's not something you'd easily find at the supermarket. Grenki is traditionally served with homemade berry jam, or fresh berries, depending on the season. Sugar and butter are served on the side for those who want them.

Choose one or more of the following toppings to serve with your grenki.

  • (maple) syrup
  • homemade (berry) jam
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • berries
  • powdered sugar (to sprinkle on top)
  • butter (for those that like to spread it)
  • sugar for dipping
  • sour cream (very popular choice in Russia)
  • honey (especially liquid honey works really well)

Easy Instructions — Even Kids Can Help!

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Cut the bread slices in halves (or fourths, it's up to you). You can also toast the bread prior to this if you want a crispier meal.
  3. Soak the bread in the mixture for a few minutes. In the meantime, heat up a frying pan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil to it.
  4. Place the bread pieces onto the frying pan and cook for around 3 minutes per side.
  5. If using berries, you can place them cut up on top of the pieces after flipping them. (See image below on how to do this).
  6. Remove from heat once both sides are slightly browned.

Adding Berries

I used frozen strawberries and in order to defrost and heat them without burning them, I cut them up into somewhat small pieces, then laid them on the surface of the bread slices after I had flipped them. This way I got hot juicy berries on my grenki
I used frozen strawberries and in order to defrost and heat them without burning them, I cut them up into somewhat small pieces, then laid them on the surface of the bread slices after I had flipped them. This way I got hot juicy berries on my grenki

Serving

Prepare your desired toppings. If making breakfast just for yourself, there's no need to care about its appearance. However, if your objective is to impress someone, you might want to make it as beautiful as possible.

Preparing Your Plate

I used maple syrup and icing sugar to give these a more western look.
I used maple syrup and icing sugar to give these a more western look.

Serve Your Grenki Restaurant-Style:

  1. Get a large plate.
  2. Drizzle some syrup or jam or condensed milk or honey over the surface. Some jams may be too thick to drizzle, so in this case, you can get creative. Put small teaspoons of jams on the plate in a symmetrical pattern or use your imagination.
  3. Sprinkle some icing sugar all over the plate if you're choosing to use it. Do the same with berries, unless you've chosen to serve them hot.
  4. Arrange the Grenki in a nice way.
  5. Cover with some more of the toppings
  6. Add other toppings, such as butter, sour cream, more jam, more berries on the side
  7. Serve and await your praise!

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Janisa

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      • mariexotoni profile image

        mariexotoni 2 weeks ago

        This looks divine! I LOVE french toast, but I've always used fresh- have to see how stale bread does. And never thought about adding sour cream, but I mustttt try it.

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