Beneath Your Burnt Toast, There's A Secret Layer Of Perfection

If there's one thing that professional chefs, passionate home cooks, and people who claim they have no business in the kitchen have in common, it's that they've all burned toast at some point. Maybe the toaster setting was too high, or you walked away from your bread in the broiler for ten seconds (plenty of time for the toast to go from fine to fried), but the next step after this culinary tragedy is often to dump the blackened bread into the garbage can.

As it turns out, you may be tossing something that is actually totally salvageable. Just under the surface of your charcoal-colored slice could be the piece of toast of your dreams: golden brown, crispy, and still warm enough to melt your European butter. Yes, all that darkness is probably just on the surface, and with a little elbow grease, you could easily scrape it right off. We get it, you can just as easily start over with fresh pieces of bread and pay a little more attention to your timing, but if you don't have to let any food go to waste, it's at least worth a shot.

How to salvage the toast

So, you've burned your toast (yet again), and this time you've decided to see if you can save it. The method is nothing new, in fact, you've probably seen it done before or at the very least you've heard others talk about it. Prep yourself with a small sharp knife and either set your overcooked bread over a cloth or paper towel or hold it over the sink or garbage can. Gently scrape the burnt layer of the bread with the knife and watch all the blackness fall away, revealing what you imagined your toast would have looked like if you hadn't gotten lost on social media while your toaster started to smoke.

Alternatively, you can use a box grater to do the job, holding the burnt area of the toast against the coarse side of the grater and pushing it up and down gently so the surface is scraped off. Use the finer side of the grater, too, if necessary. Once enough of the char is gone where you think the toast is edible, spread on your preferred toppings and enjoy your quick breakfast...that admittedly didn't turn out so quick after all.

When you can't salvage the toast

Of course, there is such a thing as toast so burnt that it resembles the briquettes in your grill. At this point, it's okay to feed your garbage can. Even if it didn't get quite this severe, you may have scraped enough burn off your toast to only have a thin piece of bread left. It may not be worth eating as toast but you can still make good use of what you have.

You can leave the bread out overnight to dry out and then blitz it up into breadcrumbs. You can then use these crumbs in meatballs, meatloaf, or try browning them up (don't burn them again) in a skillet with some olive oil and herbs for a crunchy, delicious topping to spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. Dried bread also makes excellent croutons. Cube up the slices and either toast them in a skillet with oil or toss them with some olive oil and bake in the oven until they're golden brown. You can store homemade croutons in a sealed container in a cool, dry pantry to use on your salads or soups throughout the week.

To avoid burning your toast in the future, use a toaster because it pops up whether you're paying attention to it or not. Just be sure the setting isn't too high. If you use your oven, broiler, or toaster oven to make your toast, set an alarm if you must step away.