|Grilled Cheese on home-made wheat bread, with white american and salami|
Grilled Cheese is one of those things that just resonates with some deep dark part of your brain- even a poorly made grilled cheese still triggers something that says "this is good"
So, in my quest for a perfect grilled cheese, I've found that the quality of the bread has a huge effect on the quality of the sandwich. A good quality home-made bread, or a store bought artisanal bread adds a new dimension of crunch and texture that you just can't get with standard bread-in-a-bag.
Today's wheat bread came about as an accident- I started making a more typical french bread in the bread machine when I realized that I didn't have enough all-purpose white flour to finish the job. Luckily, I had plenty of whole wheat flour, so I ended up with a 50/50 mix.
French-Style Whole Wheat (Bread Machine)
1 3/8 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour (or bread flour)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil)
Put all ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, use the machine's french bread setting (not the whole wheat setting!) And select medium or dark crust if your machine lets you choose. This dough seemed to have difficulty coming together- so I needed to add 2-3 tablespoons of additional water to get the dough to come together and form a nice, mostly smooth ball during the first few minutes of the bread cycle. Once you get the dough ball to form up with enough moisture, let the bread machine run its course. When finished, allow to cool and slice as needed.
To revert this recipe back to the bread I used in my previous grilled cheese post, simply use 4 cups of all-purpose flour instead of the "2 and 2" mix. You will find that using all white flour means that you won't need to add as much water to get the dough to come together- and may not have to add any at all.
Take two nice hearty slices of your finished bread, spread a liberal amount of softened butter on one side of each slice. Set the bread, butter side down, into a hot pan or flat-top grill. If you immediately hear a little sizzle- the pan is hot enough. Lay 2-3 slices of white american cheese on top of each slice of bread.
When the cheese looks like it is beginning to melt, take about 4 thin slices of your favorite salami, and give them a quick sear on the grill or pan on each side- just enough so the slice get a little color- this should barely take a minute, so keep an eye on it. When done lay half the salami on one slice of bread, half on the other, and continue to cook until the cheese is nicely melted.
Check the underside of the bread, it should have a nice dark brown crust on it- let it sit on the grill another minute or so if it's not browned enough. Once done, assemble your sandwich and enjoy!
You'll get a decent crunch out of this bread. The inner bread has a more grainy quality than the all white flour version, which is nice, but doesn't offer as much textural contrast as the white bread does. Honestly, I think the white bread actually forms a better crust. This wheat bread does have a nice flavor to it, and the grainy quality is grainy in a good way. You get the creamy feel of the cheese, and a little of that salty and slightly acidic bite from the salami that comes out when you grill it and let the cured fats render out. Tis made a good sandwich, with a moderately good crunch, and a nice balance of flavors.