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From Wikipedia, the open-content textbooks collection

Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to dry heat. This browning reaction is called the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and also makes it firmer, so that it holds toppings more securely. Toasting is also a common method of making stale bread more palatable.

Toasting methods

The usual method of toasting bread is by the use of a toaster, a small appliance made for that purpose. To use a modern toaster, simply place sliced bread into the narrow slots on the top of the toaster, tune it to the correct setting (some toasters have more elaborate settings than others) and push the lever down. The toast is done when the lever pops up along with the toast. If the toast is not done to the user's liking, press the lever down again. Originally, toasting was not this easy; one of the first home toasting appliances that was available would only toast one side of the bread at a time, so the bread had to be flipped over half way through. Bread can also be toasted under a grill (US: broiler), in an open oven, or lying on an oven rack. Toaster ovens are special small appliances made for toasting bread or for heating small amounts of other foods. Bread can also be toasted by holding it near but not directly over an open flame, such as a campfire or fireplace; special toasting utensils (e.g. toasting forks) are made for this purpose. Toast is also common as a comfort food, or as a baby's first solid food.

Toast is made using slices of bread and hence many brands of ready-sliced bread have become available, some specifically marketing their suitability for toasting.

Preparation and use

Care must be taken while toasting bread to avoid burning it.

Toast is most commonly eaten with butter or margarine spread over it. People in some countries spread a yeast extract, such as marmite or vegemite on toast. It may also be eaten dry or with additional or alternative preserves, spreads or other toppings. Toast and jam or jelly or toast and marmalade are British breakfast favorites. Toast is sometimes used instead of fresh bread for making sandwiches.

Toast is an important component of many breakfasts, and is also important in some traditional bland specialty diets for people with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea (such as the BRAT diet consisting of bananas, rice, apples (or applesauce), and toast).

Bread can also be cubed before being toasted, sometimes after being coated with seasonings. These toasted cubes are called croutons, and are often added to salads, soups, and other dishes.

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