Making Melba Toast

The operative logic behind melba toast seems to be: if you’re going to eat nothing you might as well make it interesting. There’s no question that Escoffier did as much as he could with what he had to work with here. This is as interesting as dry toast gets. Start by turning on your oven’s broiler and procuring some bread. If it’s already a little stale, so much the better. This is some leftover brioche because honestly plain white bread was too much nothing even for me.

You can cut it in whatever shape you like, though triangles are the classic and to my mind have the most visual appeal.

Lay the pieces out on a sheet pan.

Toast them one one side, then the other. Watch them under the broiler the whole time because the toasting will be fast, especially on the second side.

Now carefully split the toasted pieces. Use a serrated knife and start sawing gently, with long back-and-forth strokes, cutting downward from the peak of your toast pyramid. You’ll want to gently pinch the tip top when you start cutting to prevent it from breaking off. I couldn’t show you this because, well, I’m taking pictures.

Lay the split halves on the sheet, un-toasted side up and brown them again under the broiler.

The perfect piece of melba toast is gently curved with only slightly charred points.

Making melba toast reminds me of my grandfather who liked his toast dark and cold with a crunch like a cedar shake shingle. When that toast carrier hit the table at brunch time you knew what you were getting. No way butter was going to melt on that stuff, but it worked great with a soft boiled egg.

This will too, though it was created to be served with weak tea. Reader Ariana, enjoy.

12 thoughts on “Making Melba Toast”

  1. A couple of year back our old oven died (it refused to keep any particular temperature for any length of time). We were wandering through a home improvement store & they had a floor model of one of those spiffy dual oven, dual fuel super ovens on special. We got it as is for $1000 off plus a $500 gift card was thrown in. THe reason for that story is that one of the fancy do-dads on this thing is it has a “toast” setting. I thought that was pretty stupid until I was doing canapes and found that this thing makes the most even most perfect toast points ever. Bet it would be perfect for this stuff.

    1. I was wondering why those things were so darn expensive. Now I know! Thanks, Frankly!

      – Joe

  2. Fascinating Joe! I was thinking that Melba Toast started as a special Melba bread that was then toasted. So now I see it is just a procedure to make fancy crisp toast from any bread. The things I learn on Joe Pastry! Now I know how to make my own Melba toast and I don’t even have to get out my mixer. 😀


    1. Ain’t it the truth! And yes, it’s just a technique that can be used for any bread. Now go forward and make some toast! 😉

      – Joe

  3. Perfect to use up the rest of the Sally Lunn bread I made. Its the closest to brioche i’m going to get!

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