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A perfect piece of toast has the right amount of crunchiness and sweetness that melts in your mouth the moment you chew on it. There are a bunch of ways to toast the perfect sandwich, and in this article, I will be discussing some of my go-to methods that yield consistent results. Let’s begin.
How to choose and prepare sandwich bread for toasting?
Bread size, quality, fillings, and even the toaster/sandwich maker you’re using affect the quality of your sandwich. Here are a few things you need to consider when preparing the sandwich:
1. Buy the right sandwich maker – The right sandwich maker can make or break your sandwich. The first thing to consider is power. A high-powered sandwich toaster/maker heats up faster and lets you enjoy a sandwich while you’re getting ready for work.
The second thing you should consider is the heat setting. The feature enables you to prepare sandwiches with different levels of crispiness. I personally recommend the Ovente Electric Indoor Panini Press Grill. It’s easy to clean, comes with a non-toxic cooking surface, and lets you fit up to four sandwiches in it.
2. Thick bread – Using thicker bread helps seal in the flavor of the condiments used during cooking. They take longer to cook, but the end result speaks for itself. Texas bread is usually the go-to option for sandwiches.
3. Packing the sandwich – Fully pack the sandwiches with condiments right up to the brim. This ensures the heat dissipates equally throughout the sandwich and prevents undercooking/overcooking.
Now that you’ve prepared your sandwich, it’s time to dive into the actual toasting process.
6 Best Ways to Toast a Sandwich
There is no right way to toast a sandwich. While some prefer a panini press, others do it in an oven or over a skillet. I will be discussing all of those toasting methods in detail and explaining the advantages of each of them.
1. Panini press – Get a panini press if you want to make a quick sandwich. They are small, compact, and travel-friendly. All you have to do is place it inside the press and switch it on to begin toasting. It’s like a toaster for sandwiches.
One of the biggest problems while cooking a sandwich is spillage. Some of the best panini makers have a ceramic, non-toxic coating, which makes it easier to clean the thing in-between cooking sessions.
2. Oven – Although using an oven seems a bit unconventional, it’s perfect for bringing out the golden brown crust from within the bread and adding a bunch of new flavors. I usually apply a thick layer of mayonnaise or butter all over the outer side of the bread, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place it inside the oven. Toast the bread for only 30-60 seconds.
After the initial toasting, place all the vegetables and meat inside the bread and place it inside the panini maker. Grill for about 10-15 seconds (or more, depending on the level of crunchiness you’re looking for) and serve hot.
3. Microwave – I once visited a restaurant that toasted its bread before cooking the actual sandwich. They placed the whole sandwich (with fillings) in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or on a flattop and stamped it with a bacon press. It’s just enough to melt the cheese and slightly toast the bread.
After the initial press, they used a panini maker to further grill the sandwich. The process makes it much easier to achieve that signature golden crust and makes your sandwiches taste delicious.
4. Stove and skillet – Using a skillet is the oldest form of cooking bread. Although it’s much harder to get that golden crust and takes more time to cook, there is a lot you can experiment with.
For instance, when I make bacon in the morning, I use the leftover bacon fat to fry the bread before adding the fillings. Mostly I use butter because eating bacon-juice-soaked toast every day isn’t good for my health. But when I do use it, the flavors come together like a carefully orchestrated symphony.
5. Regular toast using a toaster – Regular toast serves as the foundation for all toast-related recipes. It gives you just the right amount of crispness when it comes to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a simple butter toast.
Toasters are the least expensive appliances in the kitchen but are invaluable when it comes to making sandwiches. I prefer the Cuisinart CPT-122BK toaster as it comes with preloaded settings for toasting.
6. French toast using vegetable oil and butter – French toast is like the older brother of regular toast. Here is the recipe.
Break 2-3 eggs in a bowl and add a quarter cup of milk. Then add one teaspoon of granulated sugar and a quarter of a teaspoon each of cinnamon and salt. Add a drop of vanilla and whisk it all together.
Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and a small piece of butter. The butter smells good but burns easily. Adding the oil raises the burning point of the butter and helps cook the bread for a prolonged period.
As for bread, I prefer quarter-inch thick sandwich bread. You can use any bread you want, but know that thicker bread holds in a lot more flavor.
Keep heating the butter until it turns brown in the skillet. Now quickly dunk both sides of the toast in the egg-milk mixture and slide it into the skillet. Do not move the bread around; wait until the bubbles at the base of the bread get a bit smaller and flip. A golden brown texture means it’s well-cooked.
Note: If you prefer a heavier coat of milk and egg, then soak the bread a little longer before releasing it into the pan.
Building the perfect sandwich
Toasting is only the first half of the sandwich-making process. To make a remarkable sandwich, you must have a perfect understanding of all the ingredients and know what they are bringing to the table.
Anyone can throw a bunch of ingredients together and call it a sandwich. However, figuring out the perfect combination is what brings it all together. Now that we have the basics covered, let’s discuss the steps to creating the perfect sandwich.
1. Pick the right bread – When in doubt, always go for Texas bread. However, any whole grain or multiseed bread will also do the job.
2. Pre-toast your sandwiches – Sandwiches pre-toasted with butter have a golden glaze and tons of flavors. It even makes the simplest of sandwiches taste like a royal delicacy.
3. Mustard up – Unless you dislike it, always add some mustard to your sandwiches. The sweet and spicy punch it brings to a sandwich is well-liked by most sandwich lovers.
4. Important sauces and spreads – Every sandwich needs the right combination of sauces to bring out the flavors. Here are a few you can try and experiment with until you land on the perfect combination: Hummus, pepper jelly, pesto, barbecue sauce, chipotle mayonnaise, dijon mustard, tzatziki, and fruit jam.
5. Don’t forget your vegetables – Ham and cheese are all well and good, but you also need some vegetables to balance out the sandwich. Anything from caramelized onions to pickles is a viable option. Here are a few veggies you can put in your sandwich to make it tasty and healthy at the same time: Spinach, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, avocado, onion, olives, sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, and coleslaw.
6. Pick your cheese carefully – Not all cheeses go together. For instance, if you’re making a cheese sandwich, one slice each of gouda, Havarti, and medium cheddar seems to work best. Here are a few options you can try out as well: Goat cheese, provolone, swiss, muenster, and pepper jack.
7. Choosing the protein – Meat is an important part of a sandwich. I usually prefer leftover roasted beef or turkey. Packaged deli sliced pieces of meat don’t taste half as good as the ones prepared at home.
8. Properly layering a sandwich – How you layer your sandwich determines the degree to which you actually get to experience the flavors. I usually start out by applying a thick layer of condiments (sauce and mustard) to the bottom layer.
Following the condiments are lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and vegetables. They were all stacked on top of one another. After that, I apply 1-2 slices of my preferred cheese, followed by the meat (ham, lamb, turkey, or chicken).
Finally, I finish the sandwich by applying another layer of the condiments on top before putting the whole thing on the grill. Toasted sandwiches are the best, but you can also eat the combo as it is.
9. Picking your flavors – Picking the right sandwich toppings is important. Otherwise, they wouldn’t taste good. For example, spicy pepper jelly, creamy brie cheese, and cured salami go well together. Similarly, sharp cheddar cheese, sliced honey ham, and spicy whole-grain mustard over wheat bread make a delicacy that’ll blow your mind. Some other recipes include egg salad sandwiches, Wimbledon, Tortas de Carnitas, etc.
That’s all you need to know to prepare the perfect sandwich. Now simply go out there and start experimenting. Good luck!
Some people take sandwiches for granted and underestimate the effort and thought that goes into making a truly remarkable sandwich. I’ve cooked enough to know that it takes practice and experience to make delicious snacks that keep people coming back for more. I hope you found this article useful. Stay tuned for more food topics in the future.