This Arme Ritter (German French Toast) recipe makes for a perfect breakfast or brunch! It is easy to make, delicious, and is bound to be loved by everyone!
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This is one of our favorite recipes to make, especially over the weekends when we have a bit of time on our hands. It is very easy to prepare, even my German husband, who is not so keen on cooking, makes it. It is one of those things you can be sure that kids will love, and is, if you ask me, one of the best ways to put leftover bread to good use.
what is Arme Ritter?
Arme Ritter, also known as Armer Ritter, Semmelschmarrn, or Blinder Fisch, refers to German French Toast. Literally translated, the name Arme Ritter stands for poor knights. This is because it was a recipe that was used to put old stale bread to good use by frying it until crispy, then serving it as a meal, mostly topped with some sugar.
French Toast, which can trace it's origins back to the Romans, has many interesting names around the world. In France, it is known as Pain perdu which translates to lost bread, to reflect the putting to good use of stale bread, so it does not get lost. It is known as Bundáskenyér in Hungary, to mean bread in fur. In Germany, the oldest recipe for Armer Ritter can be traced back to the 1350 book buoch von guoter spîse.
This is a summary of the ingredients you will need to make this Arme Ritter recipe, as well as possible substitutions. You will find the detailed measurements, step-by-step instructions as well as storage instructions in the recipe card below.
The ingredients are more or less similar to what I used to make my Air Fryer French toast (for that matter, what you would need to make regular French toast, minus the sugar)! Here is what you will need:-
- bread - use slightly stale or old bread slices, as these are able to absorb the egg mixture while still maintaining structure (not falling apart). Examples of bread you can use include Sandwich bread, baguette, brioche, sourdough, or even Zwieback (Rusk), but don't let this limit you as the whole idea is putting to good use what you already have.
- butter and cooking oil - to prevent the butter from burning or smoking too much, use a combination of butter and a neutral cooking oil such as sunflower oil. If necessary, wipe your pan after each batch.
- milk - we like to use plant-based milk sources such as almond or coconut milk whenever we are making this for friends and family who are on a dairy-free diet, so feel free to substitute accordingly, if you are vegetarian, vegan, or cannot have dairy.
- eggs and a pinch of salt.
- cinnamon sugar - see how to make your own cinnamon sugar here.
a few helpful tips
- Preheat your pan to make sure it is hot enough when you fry the first toast.
- Soak your bread just enough to enable it to soak up the egg and milk mixture (custard), but not too long as it will otherwise end up soggy or fall apart.
- To allow the bread to heat up properly inside, use low to medium heat. This will prevent it from browning up too quickly before it has cooked properly.
German French Toast serving suggestions
Friends I spoke to said that growing up, they had Arme Ritter served with either some sugar, honey, or cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Other ways to serve it include having it with some fruit compote, vanilla sauce, ice cream, berries, maple syrup, or honey, or with some powdered sugar on top.
more delicious world cuisine recipes to try
Try these other tasty International Cuisine Recipes!
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Arme Ritter- German French Toast
- 8 slices toast bread
- 2 eggs
- 250 ml milk
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoon melted butter and a neutral cooking oil (2 tablespoon of each - see notes)
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
- In a shallow bowl or a plate, whisk the eggs then add the milk and salt.
- Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, allow to slightly soak, and then flip in order to coat both sides.
- Heat oil in a pan or skillet. Lift each slice of bread to drain as much of the egg-mixture as possible into the bowl, then place the slices on the pan.
- Fry on both sides under medium to low heat until golden brown then transfer the bread to a plate. Repeat the process for the remaining bread slices.
- Once done, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top then serve.
- Make yourself a savory version of this recipe (''Herzhafte Ritter'') by making it with cheese and bacon.
- You may need to use a little bit more or less oil, depending on the type of pan you are using. A combination of butter and oil helps prevent the butter from burning too quickly. For the same reason, I recommend wiping your pan after each 1-2 batches.
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