Burning 101

April  1, 2011

In the video below, Amanda & Merrill demonstrate a surefire broiler technique for burning toast.

This week's video was shot and edited by our buddy Drew Lavyne, the founder/director of Six Minute Stories and the producer of the super helpful Teach Me Sushi iPhone app -- and the new Teach Me Sushi Expert app.  

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


chocbird09 June 14, 2012
Made my day thanks to randomly surfing through f52 :D
Rhonda35 April 8, 2012
You've gone from cooking to comedy with ease!
Rhonda35 April 8, 2012
You've switched from cooking to comedy with ease! Amanda, burned toast is a family tradition.
Amy S. April 4, 2011
That would be every newly weds act! We have a standing joke at our house that my husband knows its time to get up by the smell of the burned toast.... :") Love the comic relief, we are all human and that's a good thing.
zingyginger April 3, 2011
I always thought this was how the "blackened" anything recipe started out. Too bad I don't live in NYC anymore-seems I'm a natural at this and could have offered some samples of my "best work." ;)
jun'ichi_kobayakawa April 3, 2011
A carbonized bread. It's good for dinner on April 1. Haha! Be careful of your fire alarm.
Leaseachef April 3, 2011
I highly recommend watching the first ever episode of The French Chef. Julia starts chatting with the camera while the onion soup is under the broiler, and you're sitting there thinking "The soup! The soup! Pull it out!!" Pretty soon there's smoke coming out of the oven, and she just rolls with it (the entire episode is done in one shot, so if she stopped they'd have to start all over). "Oh look how delicious!" and takes it to the table and serves herself up a big spoonful.
zingyginger April 3, 2011
I totally missed this part (see above comment about being a natural at this, lol)-will have to borrow the library copy again.
nogaga April 3, 2011
Brilliant poker-faced April Fools! Lots of fun :)
GregoryBPortland April 2, 2011
I made the mistake of admiring a Krup's toaster oven, which is the Darth Vader of toasters and it arrived under my Christmas tree one year and instead of quietly returning this counter-sucking appliance, I kept it. It makes terrible toast. I couldn't burn it if I tried. But now that I have your excellent oven technique down pat, I don't see how I can fail. Amanda and Merrill, you are geniuses! Will give it a try tomorrrow morning. Thanks. I needed a good chuckle. Do share with us you other recipes using this excellent technique!

dymnyno April 2, 2011
Lucky me! I have a toaster that doesn't stop toasting. It continues until it acheives a perfect char on both sides and then sends a plume of black smoke to let me know it's toast!
betteirene April 2, 2011
Ohnoyoudidn't! I did not just see you actually chew on that, did I? Ewwwwwww! But I have to add that your burned toast looks better than my burned toast. My char never looks that good..
lapadia April 1, 2011
Oh, yum, burnt toast and butter! LOL :)
contrarycomet April 1, 2011
*So* glad that I found this. My attempt at burning a pan sauce failed miserably. After roasting a chicken in a Pyrex glass pan, I put it over a direct flame, hoping to achieve that charcoal taste. I thought I was off to a good start, but before the sauce even started to reduce, the pan exploded! Thanks to the food52 community for all the tips -- carbonized remains, here I come!
boulangere April 1, 2011
I thought I was the only one who had done this! It was a lovely lamb roast whose drippings had failed to achieve an adequate degree of charring, so I exploded it all over the kitchen in revenge.
Abs April 1, 2011
My husband has a flare for reducing mulled apple cider to a tasty, although difficult to pour, black char. It is absolutely worth the three--yes, that is the running tally--pots we have had to replace since November. This is particularly gratifying for those concerned about All-Clad possibly going out of business.
Burnt O. April 1, 2011
You might want to hop on foodpickle and commiserate with Peter regarding his applesauce tragedy and the imminent loss of his favorite Le Creuset pot for similar reasons... I think he's on a last ditch effort to reclaim it this weekend. That is, when he isn't poaching ostrich eggs for brunch!
namesmatter April 1, 2011
SO personally gratifying to see that Amanda's gorgeous hair requires blow-drying to achieve. An excellent video, though, for all the other reasons people have pointed out.
Sasha (. April 1, 2011
I'm glad you made a video demo - really makes this recipe foolproof. :)
dymnyno April 1, 2011
Just as delicious is Burnt Granola...until you have tried it you can't appreciate the sweet smell of brown sugar and walnuts that only complete incineration produces!
AntoniaJames April 1, 2011
This is what I love about food52 . . . so many interesting and exciting variations on a basic but important recipe, and a community eager to share those brilliant ideas! Love it. The addition of pure sugar is a stroke of genius! Have put this on my "must-try-this-weekend" list!! ;o)
SKK April 1, 2011
Thank you for reminding us of the power of sugar in incernation recipes! The joy of watching it go from carmel to black and the heat and the smoke - not to mention the honor of clean up. Antonia James is absolutely correct - this is a community sharing brilliant ideas.
boulangere April 1, 2011
Among the already fascinating uses for burned sugar, burned caramel will do an excellent job of removing the bottom from a triple-ply stainless steel pan.
boulangere April 1, 2011
In fact, it will even separate all 3 of the layers in a nice little anatomy of a pan lesson.
SKK April 1, 2011
An advanced technique that includes being a public nuisance is to put a pot of beans on the stove, turn the temp on high for that 3 minute boil before you let them soak and then chase your dog who is chasing the UPS truck and apologize profusely to the UPS driver and the neighbors who couldn't get into their driveway and then hear the fire trucks coming to your house because your burned beans set off the fire alarm which had the alarm company call the fire station and had all the neighbors once again on high alert and then be lectured by said neighbors and firemen and have to throw the pan out and take 10 days to have the smell clear out.
Burnt O. April 1, 2011
I declare a winner!
AntoniaJames April 1, 2011
I agree, this is impressive indeed! Our fire department charges a hefty fee after the first false alarm during any twelve-month period, so I haven't had the opportunity to perfect this technique. I've tried in vain to convince the alarm/security company not to call the fire department unless I tell them it's okay, first. Unfortunately, their lawyers won't let them agree to that. I've been told that there might be insurance issues there, as well. I have, however, completely destroyed three LeCrueset French ovens using this bean burning technique. I really envy the public nuisance variation, though. ;o)
boulangere April 1, 2011
I second the motion!
Soozll April 1, 2011
I've applied most of these same techniques to burning vegetables dry in a pan on the stove! Who'd have ever thought that baking and cooking could work the same?
Burnt O. April 1, 2011
Once, on a romantic weekend getaway, in a rustic cottage, I thought it would be great to roast some potatoes wrapped in foil in the fireplace ashes to go with our grilled steaks and salad. Yeah, you can guess how well that worked - hence my name.