Trenary Toast - Gastro Obscura

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Trenary Toast

Finnish immigrants brought these crunchy, cinnamon-coated slices to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Mornings in Trenary, a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, often begin the same way. As the sun rises over the feed mill, the gas station, and the crowing rooster on the local tavern’s “Good Morning, Trenary,” mural, residents tuck into breakfasts of coffee and crunchy cinnamon-sugar toast.

The latter, known as Trenary toast, has been a local favorite for almost a century. With the bread’s distinctively loud and satisfying crunch, most Yoopers (slang for Upper Peninsula dwellers) say that the best way to enjoy the toast is by dunking it in coffee or crumbling it inside a bowl of milk. Andy Reichart, who owns the Trenary Home Bakery, says the majority of his customers are dunkers, but he also sees “crunchers,” who eat the toast on its own, and “spreaders,” who coat it in butter or jam.

We can thank Finnish immigrants for the crisp snack. Trenary toast is a kind of twice-baked bread known as rusk. When Finns began migrating to the Midwest in the early 20th century, they brought their dry, cinnamon-coated rusk (known as korppu). It became so popular that one Finnish family opened a toast-centric bakery in 1928. Though it’s no longer under the same ownership, the Trenary Home Bakery still sells paper bags of the iconic brown slices, among photos and memorabilia devoted to local history.

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