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Bread Reslicer

What was one is now two
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I've been contemplating the grilled cheese sandwich quite a bit of late. This simple concoction made of nothing more than bread, cheese (extra sharp white cheddar, please), and butter provides a joy much greater than the sum of its parts. (I must confess that my recent idea entitled “Combat Spatula” was conceived while standing over a hot skillet with said implement—of the non-militarized sort—in hand.) Heated just long enough to brown both sides of the bread and thoroughly melt the cheese, then sliced (diagonally, of course) and served with your choice of cold beverage, this simple foodstuff truly constitutes one of the much renowned simple pleasures of life.

And yet, there is room for improvement. I once heard it stated that “cheese is the best part of anything with cheese in it”, and since first encountering that axiom I've been given no cause to doubt it. And while it is indeed the cheese that makes the sandwich, the bread's only purpose is, in fact, to make it a sandwich—a subtle, but important distinction. It thus occurs to me that the weak point in the sandwich, if not the cheese, must be the bread (for surely it can't be the butter, either!)

A close examination of the cross section of a prepared sandwich bears this out. The side of the bread facing the pan is neatly browned, whereas the opposite side (the one facing the cheese) is indistinguishable from bread freshly removed from the package (apart from being covered with molten cheese). The thermal transfer characteristics of bread are therefore such that the heat required to brown the slice completely is rapidly dissipated across the thickness of the bread, meaning a thinner slice would likely brown more evenly. Also, given my chosen method of applying the butter, which is to melt it into the pan and allow the bread to soak it up, it is apparent that the butter is only drawn up about halfway through the bread. The conclusion, therefore, is that the ideal slice of bread for making a grilled cheese sandwich would be about half as thick as the average store-bought slice.

I suppose one could seek out and purchase bread that's pre-sliced into thinner pieces, but unfortunately not all breads are created equal. Having carefully selected my brand and variety of bread for its flavor, texture, color, aroma, and mouthfeel, I'm loathe to go to that extreme to alleviate the problem. This brings us to the idea, which is quite simple, really: A device that folds up to hold a single slice of bread in place. Once the adjustable sides are positioned correctly, a sharp knife is drawn through a slit to neatly cleave your slice in twain. In addition to the culinary advantages a half-thickness slice would provide, it would effectively double your loaf's sandwich potential, which always seems to expire long before the last of the cheese is consumed. As a side benefit, it would also nearly double the ratio of protein and fat to carbohydrates, making the sandwich more suitable for diabetics and people on certain diets.

ytk, Aug 06 2012

Melba Toast http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melba_toast
Semi-baked [csea, Aug 06 2012]

[link]






       In this particular context, of a grilled sandwich, I believe that half-gauge slices would suffer from structural integrity issues.   

       I'm not against the idea pre-se, but I question its usefulness in the context described.   

       However, in the open-faced slice with avocado it may prove very useful. In that case, of course, the bread is there merely to hold up the avocado, as it were. We strive for a great thickness of spread to the thinnest slice, in order to maximize flavour.
Carmi, Aug 06 2012
  

       you could squash the bread with the skillet before starting.... then it would be thinner and structurally sound.
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012
  

       That's a brilliant resolution. I think I'll try it.
blissmiss, Aug 06 2012
  

       Why don't you just lightly pre-toast the bread before adding the cheese to it?
pertinax, Aug 06 2012
  

       I have often used Melba toast for this very purpose. Note that it is half-thickness and pre-toasted [link].
csea, Aug 06 2012
  

       You could also do it the British way: take bread put under grill (broiler) until one side nicely brown, flip, add lots of cheese, big dollop of Worcestershire sauce and butter, grill (broil) again for a few minutes, eat.
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012
  

       you forgot the tiny bit of minced french onion and garlic that goes between the huge honkin slices of cheddar and the small slice of swiss.
FlyingToaster, Aug 06 2012
  

       I like to save the onion for the other form of bread and cheese delight: The Cheese, onion and English mustard sandwich. Take two slices of bread (extra thick Warburton's toastie is a good example), butter liberally, add an aggressive amount of Coleman's. Then, thick slabs of the finest super-strong cheddar. Add roughly chopped strong onion and a small palm- full of ground black pepper. Give to the nearest Italian, then, ask them to honestly say that British food is tasteless.
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012
  

       watching the signs of general distress, while enjoying an identical sandwich is one of life's true pleasures... along with watching a Frenchman slathering half a jar of Coleman's on a ham sandwich, after all, mustard's mustard right?
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012
  

       I have found the fundamental flaw in this entire scenario:   

       //purchase bread that's pre-sliced//
pocmloc, Aug 06 2012
  

       // Why don't you just lightly pre-toast the bread before adding the cheese to it? //   

       When my wife makes a grilled-cheese sandwich, she grills each slice of bread on one side, in butter, just like most folks do when making an entire sandwich---but without getting the cheese involved yet. Then she flips the bread over and puts the sliced cheese onto the already-grilled side, tops that with the grilled side of the other slice, and proceeds to grill both sides of the sandwich like a normal person does.   

       There's grilled and buttery goodness inside the sandwich!   

       The bread slices are grilled on each side!   

       The bread's crunchy all the way through!   

       Seriously, I had never heard of anyone doing that, and hadn't noticed what she did, so when she asked me if I preferred sandwiches "cooked on one side" I didn't know what the heck she was talking about. But now I know and now I want the bread slices grilled on both sides. Yes, please.
baconbrain, Aug 06 2012
  

       Don't add salt, just crushed atorvastatin tablets.
UnaBubba, Aug 07 2012
  

       [Carmi], while your concerns are legitimate, having just prepared and consumed such a grilled cheese sandwich (by carefully slicing a single slice of bread into two, freehand) I can assure you that no such structural issues were encountered. However, we should not discount the fact that this may in part be thanks to some additional reinforcement provided by the simultaneous application of [baconbrain]'s suggested preparation technique. I daresay that the resultant sandwich was perhaps the finest I had ever consumed. The bread was both neatly crisp and richly buttery throughout, which altogether provided a splendid complement to the pungency of the cheese.   

       [baconbrain], please send your wife both my compliments and sincere gratitude, and let her know that, were it not for the fact that it seems a bit ungentlemanly to have you assassinated at this point, I would marry her in a heartbeat.
ytk, Aug 07 2012
  

       See what can be accomplished when we all pull together ?
FlyingToaster, Aug 07 2012
  
      
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