Tag Archives: National Grilled Cheese Month

Make the Perfect Grilled Cheese

Ever since I was a kid, I would dream about the per­fect grilled cheese sand­wich. I still remem­ber to this day — it was Dairy Days, a dairy cow show that hap­pens about the mid­dle of June in my county, our local radio host fol­lowed me around as I took my calf for a walk. He asked ‘what’s your favorite kind of cheese?’, I said — Muen­ster — it makes the best grilled cheese sand­wich! The guy had never heard of Muen­ster cheese at the time and I was around 12 years old, so he was com­pletely intrigued.

I still love Muen­ster cheese (both the Amer­i­can style and French Mun­ster. In fact, I make my own now!), but I’ve branched out to other cheeses. Another cru­cial note, I’ve also branched out to other breads.

What does it take to make the best grilled cheese sand­wich? It’s all based on pref­er­ence, but I have some point­ers that might guide you to that next ‘mhmm!’ moment.

Cheese Please!

A good melt­ing cheese is key here. Gouda and a nat­u­rally aged Ched­dar are not the best melt­ing cheeses. If you insist on hav­ing either vari­ety in your sand­wich, give them a good run through the cheese grater. Grated cheese melts faster.

Vari­ety is also impor­tant. Why go with just one cheese when more is obvi­ously bet­ter? Grate some good Parme­san or Asi­ago into that cheese mix­ture. You won’t regret it (if you do, try some­thing new next time)!

What are good melt­ing cheeses?

Mon­terey Jack
Muenster/Munster
Moz­zarella (fresh and part-skim)
Semi-soft cheeses such as Bent River camem­bert or Lit­tle Lucy brie
Gar­lic Ched­dar by Red­head Cream­ery (*ahem…)

Bread

White sand­wich bread is a thing of the past. Sorry. Pick up some focac­cia bread or a French loaf from your bak­ery. Brioche is another great option. If you’re want­ing to cre­ate a sweet grilled cheese, use a cin­na­mon or apple strudel bread. You can use as thick of slices as you want, but be care­ful — the thicker the slice, the longer it will take for your cheese to melt. Sweet breads will give a ‘burned’ look much faster than any other bread, so be sure to grill at a lower heat.

Extras

This is where it starts to get fun. My ulti­mate favorite is a stinky, semi-soft cheese with some fig jam on a cin­na­mon raisin bread. *wip­ing off drool*

Bacon is always a good extra for grilled cheese. Sweeten it up by mak­ing can­died bacon (baked bacon that’s smoth­ered in brown sugar and a lit­tle cayenne pep­per). Throw in some sliced or shred­ded apple or pear and top it off with some sort of jam or chutney.

Mix it up. You’ll be sur­prised at what tastes good together and your friends or fam­ily will be more than happy to taste test!

The but­ter.

I no longer spread the but­ter on the bread slices before I grill my sand­wich. Why? Well, it’s sloppy. I end up for­get­ting that I’ve but­tered one side and set it on the counter top. I now have a greasy mess to clean up. I hate messes.

I spread some but­ter right on my grid­dle or cast iron fry pan and set my sand­wich right on top of that melted but­ter. As soon as one side is done, I drop in some addi­tional but­ter and flip the sand­wich around. You’ll use less but­ter (I know, I’m sup­posed to be encour­ag­ing more dairy con­sump­tion here — mod­er­a­tion), but you’ll also get a more even brown­ing on your sandwich.

That melt.

Ever grill up a grilled cheese, get it on your plate, take a bite and find out it’s still cold inside? It’s the worst! There’s a few tricks to fix this dilemma. One option is to turn your oven on to 200 degrees before mak­ing your sandwich(es). Once the grilled cheese is done grilling, toss it on a pan in the oven for a few min­utes and that cheese will melt right up for you.

Another option is to grill your sand­wich at a lower heat and use the pan lid. If using a lid, remem­ber to check on your sand­wich every now and then. It would be depress­ing to find out that it’s burned. As I men­tioned ear­lier, you can also grate your cheese in order to decrease melt time.

What­ever you end up doing, don’t give up and don’t be intim­i­dated. I never make the same grilled cheese sand­wich, unless I’m prac­tic­ing for a blog post or recipe con­test. It’s the per­fect quick lunch or sup­per that has end­less opportunities.

Happy Grilled Cheese Month!