The Chemistry of French Toast


French Toast is a slice of bread soaked in beaten eggs and then fried to a soft fluffy middle with crispy edges topped with a golden syrup for an ideal slice of happiness served with a slab of butter and sweet powdered sugar. I didn’t choose French Toast, but French Toast sure did choose me. Ever since I’ve been young French Toast has tagged along to be my favorite food. The golden richness and sweetness of the bread captivated me after my very first bite. French Toast has caused much joy not only in my life, but around the whole world as a favorite breakfast food. Without French Toast, many lives would be left helpless and have to suffer through eating a “regular” breakfast every morning. Throw some French Toast in your schedule and everything else will fall right into place.

Composition of ...

    • Egg- phosphorus, water, protein, fat, mineral substance.
    • Bread- zinc, fiber, thiamin, niacin
    • Milk- Calcium and Phosphorus are the main elements found in milk
    • Butter-The main elements present in butter are hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur.
  • Syrup- sucrose, glucose and fructose and also potassium, calcium and magnesium

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


    • The main chemicals, components, and compounds found in french toast are Cinnamaldehyde, Eugenol, Cinnamyl acetate, Borneol, Cinnamic acid, and Coumarin.
    • Cinnamon also contains numerous proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins (A, C, K, B3), and also Minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Sodium, Zinc, Choline.The chemical formula for cinnamon is C11 H13 NO, 4-Dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde.


    • Sugar contains carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are many different types of sugars from numerous sources. Simple sugars are monosaccharides and glucose, fructose, and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most commonly used as a food is called sucrose, a disaccharide. Sucrose is the common sugar used in French Toast. Sucrose contains monosaccharides and fructose with the formula C12 H22 O11.
  • Chemical formula for Sugar being made: 12 CO2 + 11 H2O=C12 H22 O11 + 12O2 (carbon dioxide + water=sucrose+oxygen).This shows that oxygen is given off during the process of photosynthesis when making sucrose. Sugar cane and sugar beets produce refined sugar.

Chemistry's Role

    • Maillard Reaction occurs when cooking french toast. The maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned foods their desirable flavor. The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat. It is a form of non-enzymatic browning. The reactive carbonyl group of the sugar interacts with the nucleophilic amino group of the amino acid, and interesting but poorly characterized odor and flavor molecules result. This process accelerates in an alkaline environment because the amino groups do not neutralize. This reaction is the basis of the flavoring industry, since the type of amino acid determines the resulting flavor.Since the Maillard reaction produces water, having a high water activity environment inhibits the reaction.
    • The carbonyl group of the sugar reacts with the amino group of the amino acid, producing N-substituted glycosylamine and water.The unstable glycosylamine undergoes Amadori rearrangement, forming ketosamines. Refined sugar is made from raw sugar that has undergone a refining process to remove the molasses. Raw sugar is a sucrose which is synthesized from sugar cane or sugar beet and cannot immediately be consumed before going through the refining process to produce your refined sugar.
    • Cinnamon is farmed and naturally growing in some areas. Cinnamon is a spice extracted from the inner bark of many trees from the genus cinnamomum. Cinnamomum Verum is thought to be “true cinnamon”, while most cinnamon in international commerce is taken from related species, also referred to as “cassia”.

Background Research

One of the earliest versions of french toast has been traced back to the Roman Empire. The name “french toast” was first used in 17th-century England. The recipe and name were brought to America by early settlers. In France, the dish is called “pain perdu,” meaning “lost bread.” French Toast is great to make because you can fry it up right at your house, but if you want to step it up a level you can order it at a restaurant. French Toast is easy, simply beat egg, vanilla and cinnamon in shallow dish. Stir in milk. Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. Cook bread slices on lightly greased nonstick griddle or skillet on medium heat until browned on both sides.


Facts about maple syrup

Chemical structures and chemical formulas

The Process of the Maillard Reaction

Everything you need to know about French Toast

Information about eggs

Information about milk

Information on Sugar

Information about Cinnamon

About the Author

Sam Sparks is a student at Billings Senior High School. He is the halfback on the varsity football team, and also sprints and jumps in track and field. Sam plans to play college football in the near future and to major in business, psychology, and/or either law. His favorite food is a crispy, golden piece of French Toast cooked for a king, along with a cup of finest squeezed Orange Juice in all of the land.