The Origin Story
Grilled cheese began in the 1920s with the creation of sliced bread and processed cheese. It became a popular, affordable meal during the Great Depression and further gained popularity after World War II.
Cheese Varieties Matter
While cheddar is classic, consider mozzarella, Gruyère, or Havarti for different melting characteristics and flavors. Mix cheeses for complexity. A good melt is crucial for texture and taste in the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Bread Choices Abound
The bread defines the sandwich's exterior. Sourdough offers a tangy contrast, while rye introduces complexity. White bread remains the nostalgic choice, but artisanal loaves can elevate your sandwich to gourmet status.
Butter Vs. Mayo Debate
Some swear by butter for its flavor, others advocate for mayonnaise for its higher smoke point and even browning. Either option should be spread edge-to-edge for a crispy, golden crust.
Cooking Techniques Vary
Aside from the stovetop skillet method, grilled cheese can be made in a toaster oven, under a broiler, or even with an iron in a pinch. Each technique offers a distinct texture and flavor profile.
Global Variations Exist
Around the world, variations abound. France's Croque Monsieur, Italy's Mozzarella in Carrozza, and South Africa's Braaibroodjie show the universal appeal of the cheese sandwich concept.
Beyond cheese, ingredients like pickles, tomatoes, bacon, or even fruit jams can add a surprising twist. These add-ins can complement the cheese's flavor and create a unique sandwich experience.