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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
conceived while standing over a hot skillet with said
implementof the non-militarized sortin 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
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
sandwicha 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,
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.
Semi-baked [csea, Aug 06 2012]
||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.
||you could squash the bread with the skillet before
starting.... then it would be thinner and structurally
||That's a brilliant resolution. I think I'll try it.
||Why don't you just lightly pre-toast the bread before adding the cheese to it?
||I have often used Melba toast for this very purpose. Note that it is half-thickness and pre-toasted [link].
||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,
||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.
||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.
||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?
||I have found the fundamental flaw in this entire scenario:
||//purchase bread that's pre-sliced//
||// 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.
||Don't add salt, just crushed atorvastatin tablets.
||[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
||See what can be accomplished when we all pull together ?