Pain de Mie and French toast custard from &grain

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Lauren Glassberg visits &Grain to learn how they make their amazing French toast. (WABC)

French toast may seem like a morning meal, but it can be a treat anytime.

There are plenty of indulgent items on the menu at &grain. &grain is open for breakfast, lunch and a late lunch. You can buy fresh bread baked right there. It's located at 700 North Avenue in Garwood, New Jersey.

"It's a nice local place to come for lunch or breakfast, too often my husband would say," a customer said.

A croissant for breakfast and sandwich for lunch, sure there are salads and soups but "&grain" isn't just a cafe, it's a bakery.

John Ropelski comes from a family of Polish bakers, but he went into banking before baking.

"I like the fact that I'm able to make something from simple ingredients and they're just floored by how great it is," Ropelski said.

There are baguettes, whole grain breads, chocolate rolls, and plenty of other decadent treats.

The pain de mie is used for sandwiches and the French toast has gone gourmet with custard.

"The custard along with the seasonings adds to the whole flavor profile of the dish," Ropelski said.

The bread is sliced thick and dipped in the custard; it's placed on a hot griddle and baked off in the oven.

"The Nutella banana sandwich, so sweet, some savory, beet and carrot salad, it's our favorite salad," a customer said.

While &grain is popular with the residents of Garwood, it's also becoming a destination.

"I drive here about 20 minutes for the atmosphere and coffee. It's a nice place to enjoy the food and relax," a customer said.

"The food is very good and the owner is super nice and I really like it," another customer said.

Pain De Mie
Yield 1 2.25 lb Pullman loaf (13 x 3 x 3 ) and a left over for a little loaf

Bread Flour 2 lbs. (7 cups)
Milk Powder 1.6 oz (5 T)
Sugar .8 oz (1 T)
Butter 1.6 oz (3 T)
Water (ice cold) 1 lb, 3.2 oz (2 cups)
Salt .6 oz (1 T)
Instant Yeast 2 tsp

Place all ingredients in a bowl of your mixer except for butter. Use a spiral attachment and mix on first speed for 3 minutes until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, then on second speed for 3 to 3 minutes more. Dough should have a shaggy consistency. Now on first speed slowly add butter a small piece at a time. The dough should start to come apart (don't panic). Continue mixing on first speed until the dough comes back together and gets a silky soft texture.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly floured bowl covered with a damp towel.

After 1 hour punch gas out of dough and turn upside down and place back in lightly floured bowl and cover with damp towel

Let rise 1 one more hour.

Remove dough gently to not disturb dough development and weigh out a 2 25 lb piece. Round dough and let rest on an unfloured work surface covered with a piece of plastic. In the meantime, oil a 13 x 3 x 3 Pullman pan and lid. After 10 to 15 minutes, shape the loaf into a long cylinder with no taper on the ends (about 13 inches long). Place the loaf in the pan.

Let proof until dough if about inch from the top of the pan. Place in a preheated 400 oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf halfway through the bake. Once done immediately remove from pan and place on cooling rack

French Toast Custard
Yields 4 servings

Heavy Cream
whole milk
3 eggs
tsp salt
1 T vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

8 thick slices of Pain De Mie (day old preferably)
In mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, eggs, milk, eggs, salt, vanilla & cinnamon (preferably with an immersion blender). After fully mixed pour custard into a pie pan and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture and allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices.

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