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Grilled cheese v. toasted cheese


Fat Guy
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Which do you prefer: grilled cheese or toasted cheese?

Grilled cheese = bread, buttered on the outside, with cheese on the inside, cooked on a griddle or in a pan.

Toasted cheese = bread, cheese on top, cooked open-face in a toaster oven or under a broiler.

Although, you should feel free to dispute or expand upon the definitions.

Until today I'd have said grilled cheese is definitely superior. How could it not be? It has butter.

But this afternoon I had toasted cheese for the first time in forever and it was excellent. The bread maintains more of its toast character and you really taste the cheese.

So I don't know.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I often bake cheese sandwiches in the oven. Same preparation as a grilled cheese. It's how they did them in school for us, too, while I was growing up. Best way to make up a mess of them at one time. Served with tomato soup almost always, and sliced apples or pears in the fall.

I, er, buy Kraft slices just for this purpose. Sometimes you just want the old stand-by from your youth. Lately, though, I like unsalted butter and a salty, sharp Cabot cheddar. Very tasty on homemade potato bread. In fact, I could make that tomorrow for lunch...

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The only way I know to make satisfactory toasted cheese is to toast the bread first in the toaster, then put the cheese on and slip it under the broiler til melted. The cheese melts very fast, so the bread remains crispy. A little film of butter on the toasted bread before melting the cheese can't hurt. I have no experience with toaster ovens, but unless you toasted the bread as a first step, wouldn't you just have warm bread with melted cheese?

For a perfect marriage to tomato soup I'd have to go with grilled cheese done in a cast iron skillet.

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For toasted I put the bread directly on the rack in a 350 oven and when just getting toasty I pull it out and add the cheese, return till melted. I put it on foil for the cheese melt so as not to create a cheese drip mess. The broiler always seems like a good idea but I have a tendency to leave for a sec and create smoke city

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Could someone explain (maybe with pics?) for someone who doesn't fully get what a grilled cheese sandwhich is?

To me, a cheese on toast is bread toasted under the grill (I think it's called a broiler in America?) with a bit of butter. Then you add cheese, along with anything else you like. I tuck spring onions and seasoning peppers - a Trinidadian non-hot chilli - under the cheese. Many people swear by worcester sauce. Grill (broil) until the cheese is melty and delicious.

I can't fathom this grilled cheese thing of which you speak - I hear grilled, and it just makes me think of cheese on toast as made above. Is it fried in a pan? Where does the "grilled" bit come from?

The only other thing I can think of is a cheese toastie. Back in the day a toastie maker was a metal contraption and you had to use your cooker to heat it up. Nowadays I believe you can get electric toastie maker. See here for details, but basically you make a sandwhich and put it in the toastie maker. The toastie maker toasts up the bread and melts the cheese. It also kinda squidges the toastie together so it is somewhat "sealed". 'Tis lush. Is this anything like the grilled cheese thing?

Edited by Jenni (log)
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A toastie is very similar to a standard American grilled-cheese sandwich, the main difference being that the toastie (which some people call a "toast tight") is more thoroughly compressed. Ditto for panini. There is often some compression applied to grilled-cheese sandwiches, but it's typically just a little pressing with a spatula and not a formal mechanical process.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The Scottish thing is toasted cheese, not grilled cheese. I did try the grilled cheese thing recently for a salad recipe that called for a grilled cheese sandwich cut into pieces. I researched it quite carefully on blogs and so on, was happy that I got a representative recipe, and made it without hitch. It was entirely unmemorable, so I think I'm sticking with toasted cheese, thanks. On the "toasted" element, my understanding of how to proceed is that you toast one side of the bread under your grill/broiler, turn it over, stick the cheese on, and return under the grill/broiler.

Catherine

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I think part of it has to do with whether or not you want transformation. Toasted cheese comes out most like a piece of toast with melted cheese on top. With grilled cheese, the bread, butter and cheese integrate into something new.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, reading eGullet before breakfast, I decided to try to clear my preconceptions and try to give this toasted cheese concept a fair shot.

Meh. Too dry, but I think it comes down to this equation...

(?) + BUTTER = More betterer

On the other end of the spectrum is the Nuked Cheese Sandwich. Kraft Singles between slices of bread and microwaved to 10 seconds or so. The gummy/gooey texture is hilarious if you're, like, 9 years old (or are in some sort of mind altered state approximating that age).

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For me, it depends on the cheese.

One of the most edible items back in college was grilled cheese made with (I believe) velveeta or something like that. They got an incredible crust on that bread. Served with tomato soup, it was eagerly looked forward to in the dining hall. When I was a little kid, it was Kraft singles...so my grilled cheese sandwich benchmark is gooey cheese.

Toasted cheese, I prefer a cheese that maintains some structure, like swiss or provolone. Bread is toasted first, then cheese on top and back in to the toaster oven to melt. And I agree with Kerry Beal, that tends to be a breakfast thing for me.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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We actually had this discussion at work last week (morphing from how someones dad got hot Arepas with fried cheese and the kids got it all cold for breakfast)

My version of toasted cheese is all about the poof of browned cheese, I put 4 or 5 Kraft slices on the bread and wait, and wait until the moment of Puff and Browning. That puff is removed to a plate...repeat 2 times removing browned crust to plate then eat all componants

I now know that you can just take shreaded cheese and fry it up in a pan when I want brown crusty cheese

Mostly pan fried grilled cheese sandwiches now, best with bacon in them

tracey

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Didn't we have this discussion a couple of years ago. I remember posting about making grilled cheese sandwiches with my vintage sandwich press or sandwich grill, which sparked a discussion about the reappearance of these appliances after a lapse of several decades, now called by other names such as panini press, etc.

I like them both ways. Using the press, I lightly toast the bread, butter it on both sides, add the cheese and whatever else I want to add flavor and grill it in the sandwich press.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Grilled cheese toast.

Toss bread in toaster. Toast a little less than usual.

Slice the cheese paper thin, but many slices.

Combine.

Heat a pan on high. No oil, no butter. Nada.

Nuke till melted: ~20 seconds.

Grill the cheese toast till dry on both sides. Cut in half and serve gooey.

Ideal for bread with character. If it's just Wonderlessbread, whateveh. If I'm lazy, I just skip the last step.

Butter is messy and gets in the way.

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I love them both - just differently!

I like how a toasted cheese gets all brown and bubbly on top. I prefer making this with nicer bread.

I like the buttery crispness of a grilled cheese and how the cheese inside is all gooey and melty. I'll happily use pre-sliced packaged bread for this, because butter makes even mediocre bread taste better, right?

Right now I'm thinking on how to get the best of both worlds - making a toasted cheese under the broiler till lightly brown, slapping another slice of bread on top, buttering both sides, then putting it on the pan to crisp up the bread. Anyone tried this?

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Interesting how many people toast before adding cheese. It never occurred to me to do this. I'll need to conduct some experiments.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I like how a toasted cheese gets all brown and bubbly on top. I prefer making this with nicer bread.

I like the buttery crispness of a grilled cheese and how the cheese inside is all gooey and melty. I'll happily use pre-sliced packaged bread for this, because butter makes even mediocre bread taste better, right?

Right now I'm thinking on how to get the best of both worlds - making a toasted cheese under the broiler till lightly brown, slapping another slice of bread on top, buttering both sides, then putting it on the pan to crisp up the bread. Anyone tried this?

Although I haven't tried that, I do make a hybrid when I'm using thicker, chewier bread or if I want to add other elements.

What I do is butter one side of the bread and cook it (butter side down) in a skillet until golden brown on the one side. Place on a pan with a rack, griddled side down, and top with cheese (and anything else I'm adding), then run under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Kind of an open faced grilled cheese sandwich.

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We had grilled (pan done) cheese sandwiches for lunch and I gave the subject more thought.

The bread is not of greatest importance as long as I like it. However, the cheese - Cheddar - must be medium Canadian variety or newly old. No three-year old cheese and especially not 5-year old Supreme...which I love, but not in a sandwich.

As it was, we had American medium Cheddar, Tillamook, nice but as nippy as Canadian mild (sorry guys :raz: ). Just too mild for me.

My friend Tobe (Ontario) comes over for lunch sometimes for grilled cheese. She wants crispy bacon and tomato in hers. Nope. I want just plain cheese. No new-fangled additions.

And at home we have an old metal (remember when stuff was made out of metal?) waffle maker/ griller which we bought in Moab two years ago for $5 at a second hand store. I love it.

Best of all, Ed makes the sandwiches, not yours truly. Who could ask for anything more?

Darienne

 

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