Unless you eat them cold from the can. Your fork prongs must be just so: Who would serve the beans in a separate bowl, with a side-plate of toast? People frying off garlic and onion and adding tomato puree, white wine and thyme to their baked beans are, again, creating a bean stew, and a really half-arsed one. It is more important than bread quality. Expensive bread is better used where it will not get covered in bean juice. You may think a little milk or grated cheese will enrich the beans as they cook, but the former creates too much sauce — your plate becomes waterlogged — and cooked-in cheese brings an oddly gluey texture to the beans. They are comforting not because they are the best version possible, but because they are utterly consistent and utterly familiar. Nutty, seeded granary-style breads or, even worse, overtly sour sourdough or rye breads wonderful in other contexts will bring all sorts of potentially clanging textures and flavours into play, in a dish whose very essence lies in its simplicity. But surely there is a third way, a compromise solution that all right-thinking people use? Assembly There is a false dichotomy associated with beans on toast. There is something about the rusty, tannic nature, the metallic edge of a strong brew, which, uniquely, both rinses the palate effectively between mouthfuls and, at the same time, smoothly lies under the flavours of beans on toast in a way that, like a deep bass note or loft insulation, enhances and rounds-out its warm, comforting qualities. But beans on toast is not one of them. That is not beans on toast.