I’m a sucker for a good sandwich. In my opinion, texture, flavor and color are key. And even though grilled cheese sandwiches can be as basic as you want them to be (think Kraft Singles and Wonder Bread), I think they deserve the same love that every other sandwich receives.
So let’s first discuss the bread. It should be thick enough to securely hold all of your toppings, but it shouldn’t taste like you’re just eating a mouthful of bread.
My favorite bread to use for grilled cheese is sourdough. It’s just the right thickness and it doesn’t have a very strong taste, which is great because we want the flavor of the cheese to stand out.
Butter or Mayonnaise?
In the past week I’ve learned that some people prefer to spread mayonnaise instead of butter on the outside of the bread before cooking it in the pan. Apparently, it’s supposed to make the outside of the bread crispier.
I tried it, and I don’t like it. I say butter all the way! I always use Challenge butter in the pan beforehand in addition to spreading it on the bread. Challenge butter is 100% real cream butter without any hormones, additives, or fillers, and I think it makes a big difference in the taste.
Cheese is obviously the most important part of the grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t recommend using more than two types of cheese at once because you don’t want the flavors to overpower one another. If you do use more than one type of cheese, make sure they complement each other and pair well before you stick them on a sandwich.
If you’re stuck in a rut and you’re looking to try something new, Kareen Stephens, Brand Manager at Schuman Cheese, shared some advice on her favorite cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches.
She says soft cheeses work really well and offer a fabulous melt.
“Our Cello Fontal has a smooth, creamy texture with a mild flavor that offers an amazingly gooey melt. Asiago is also great for melting and has a nice sweet and balanced flavor. One cheese that is sure to upgrade any grilled cheese recipe is Tallegio, which has a strong pungent exterior that reveals a delicious buttery soft cheese inside,” Stephens said.
Since a lot of the soft cheeses have a mild flavor, she recommends pairing them with cheese that has a sharper flavor like Copper Kettle Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I don’t think you should go “over-the-top” with toppings because like I said earlier, you want the cheese to be the main focus.
Bacon and prosciutto are always good choices. I also love adding fried egg with a nice runny yolk to dip it in. And I love the texture of avocado on a sandwich.
Deluxe Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Yield: 1 sandwich
- 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter, divided
- 1 egg
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 slices bacon
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 slices gouda cheese
- Add 1 Tablespoon butter to a skillet on medium heat. Once melted, add an egg and cook for two minutes on one side before flipping it to cook on the other side. Cook one minute longer, and remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another Tablespoon of butter to skillet and let melt. Use 1 Tablespoon to butter one side of a single slice of bread and stick butter side down in skillet.
- Add 2 slices of cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, fried egg, and 2 slices of gouda cheese.
- Spread 1 Tablespoon of butter on second slice of bread and add it to top of sandwich, butter side up.
- Cook sandwich for about 4 minutes on medium heat and then use a spatula to flip it to the other side. Cook an additional 3 minutes on the other side and serve immediately.