Sour Milk French Toast

Ever wonder what to do with a food once it’s past its prime? A hundred years ago that was often a problem. For example, the homemade bread would often go stale before it was all eaten, and the non-pasteurized milk that most people drank often soured.

The solution was to make a dish that was even tastier than the original foods. The century-old recipe that I found for Sour Milk French Toast calls for – well, you guessed it – sour milk and stale bread.

I had neither sour milk nor stale bread, but decided to give the recipe a try. I used vinegar to “sour” the milk. (Lemon juice would also work.). And, I used day-old homemade bread (though commercially made bread would also work well).

This recipe made a tasty French toast that I’ll definitely make again.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sour Milk French Toast

  • Servings: 2 - 3 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 -3 slices bread

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons flour


shortening or lard

Stir together milk, vinegar, egg, salt, baking soda, sugar, and flour to create a thin batter. Dip each slice of bread in the batter.

In the meantime, heavily grease griddle or skillet with a mixture of butter, and shortening, or lard. (The old recipe suggests that a mixture of butter and lard might add a nice flavor.)  Heat griddle or skillet, and put prepared slices of bread on it. Brown bottom side; flip and brown on other side. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

14 thoughts on “Sour Milk French Toast

  1. I’ll definitely have to try this. French toast is one of my favorites and this is a great use of ingredients that would have to be thrown out otherwise. Thanks for sharing!

  2. oh my goodness! Really? Y’all don’t use your sour milk? Soon as we get soured milk, my crew crows, “waffles on Sunday!” But I’ve never heard of it used in French toast. VERY interesting.

    1. Sour milk isn’t used much in the U.S. any more. It’s use was much more common back when people used raw milk which soured fairly quickly (and made a wonderful cooking ingredient). If your family likes waffles made with sour milk, they’d also like Sour Milk French Toast.

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