French toast is a simple breakfast. Crusty bread soaked in egg for a bit, laid to crisp in a hot buttery pan, then topped with fresh fruit. It’s French but easy. So what is the medieval recipe for french toast?

Medieval French Toast is a luxurious spin on sourdough french toast with rosewater and saffron. You beat the egg with rosewater, and then drizzle saffron-steeped rosewater over the top of the cooked toast.

The rosewater gives the french toast a floral note, and the saffron an yellow-orange hue. I’ve paired it with sliced oranges and I think all three flavors really meld together.

History Note: In The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy, this french toast is described as Medieval Italian. In those times, french toast was served with game meats such as venison and also peacock.

The saffron is mainly to color the rosewater and only adds a slight flavor dimension. As saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices, this medieval recipe would have been only for the upper classes.

After drizzling with the saffron-infused rosewater, dust the French toast with a nice coating of powdered sugar. I’ve topped mine with oranges because I think it balances the flowery scent of the rosewater well. And looks pretty with the yellow-hued toast!


With all these exotic ingredients, you can pass on the syrup!

For more rosewater recipes, my Marzipan Mug Cake will transport you to Europe in just 2 minutes. Saffron, of course, is perfect in this easy paella and in any kind of rice.

Medieval recipes are rich but taste delicious! I’ve also come across a recipe for cinnamon toast that calls for mixing cinnamon, sugar and wine into a paste and spreading it on bread. As you can see, breakfast is better when it’s a grand affair.



Medieval French Toast

Sourdough French Toast with Saffron and Rosewater

A Medieval recipe for a breakfast favorite.

Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Serves: 2-3


  • 6 slices sourdough bread, day-old if possible
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. rosewater, divided (See Notes)
  • 6 threads saffron (See Notes)
  • Butter, for cooking and/or serving
  • Powdered sugar, for serving
  • Oranges, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Instructions

    1. In a small bowl, microwave 2 tbsp. of rosewater for 10-20 seconds or until hot. Crush saffron threads with your fingers and let steep in rosewater for about 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile whisk eggs, remaining 1 tbsp. rosewater and sugar in a shallow bowl. Slice oranges for garnish.
    3. Heat a skillet on medium-high. Add a small pat of butter to the pan. Dip each slice of bread, one by one, in egg/rosewater mixture, covering both sides and letting excess drip off. Cook for a few minutes until coating is starting to brown and egg no longer looks wet. Flip and cook for a few minutes more.
    4. Place french toast on plates. Drizzle with saffron-infused rosewater or place the liquid in small bowls for serving at the table. Garnish with powdered sugar (I like to use fine mesh strainers like this 3-pack to sprinkle powdered sugar). Top with sliced oranges and butter if desired.


    Recipe adapted from The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy by Odile Redon.
    You can find rosewater and saffron in some well-stocked grocery stores or Middle Eastern/European markets, as well as in Amazon’s grocery section (Cortas rosewater here and Spanish saffron here).
    recipe image
    Recipe Name
    Medieval French Toast
    Published On
    Average Rating
    21star1stargraygraygray Based on 20 Review(s)