Can I have a grilled cheese?
Growing up as a kid this was always a response to when asked the question, “What do you want to eat?” It really didn’t’ matter what time of day either. I think it was the simplistic way it was prepared for me: white bread, American cheese, butter, and a glass of milk. I mean, how much more American is that? LOL!
There were two moments that changed the grilled cheese game for me. First, food trucks got my attention. Food trucks really changed my perspective of food altogether, and the fact that you don’t really need some fancy restaurant, or commercial kitchen, to make good food that people can enjoy. We use to refer food trucks as “roach coaches.” Remember that? But trucks like Kogi and the Grilled Cheese truck changed that way of thinking for me.
The second influence that really inspired me to reconsider how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich, the movie “Chef.” Don’t get me wrong. The grilled cheese sandwiches I had as a kid were great, but that’s not to say that there aren’t different ways to melt cheese in order to bring out more flavor. I have to give a head nod to Chef Roy Choi for instantly showing me the proper way to achieve perfection when making a Grilled Cheese sandwich. Now, I see that even though there’s a lot of ways people make these sandwiches, there’s a particular way to make the most of it. So here it is…
First and foremost, you need to have right bread. It’s the vessel that’s going to hold your sandwich together, and you want to make sure it contains all of the flavor you’re trying to build in a complimentary way. The bread needs to be able to hold up to heat that you use to melt your cheese. The bread should be crispy, lightly browned and not burnt, giving you that nice crunch sound when you bite into the sandwich. That’s part of the fun, right? I personally prefer using Sourdough bread. If you want to be more traditional you can use a Pullman bread, which is an upgrade to a basic white bread, and will give you a nice soft and airy sandwich, with a crunch also, making sure it can hold up to your tomato soup when you dip it!
Cheese is critical. To keep this simple, you want to look for cheese that will be able to melt in a timely manner. When I say timely, I mean quickly. The cheese has to melt faster than your bread will burn. This will give your sandwich the nice gooey pull that brings that child-like joy. The longer the pull, the better the sandwich, right? Some really good melting cheeses are cheddar, fontina, muenster, brie, gruyere, and of course, American cheese. I like a three-cheese combination of white and yellow cheddar with gruyere. How much cheese should you use? That’s a personal choice, but I think, the more the better, so long as you’re not loading up to where the cheese won’t melt. I use at least 2 pieces of each cheese, per sandwich, which ends up being about 6 total slices.
So, this is a little kitchen hack that most people don’t know about. I mentioned butter being a part of how I grew up eating grilled cheese. But, using just butter can definitely leave you with burnt bread, and cheese that is not fully melted. Here’s how to control this: Simply create a spread, mixing butter and mayo. If you really want to spice it up, add some herbs to the mix, or season it with some garlic powder. The ratio I use when putting together this great spread is one to one. Feel free to get creative here!
A nice and hot pan is critical to use to achieve a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. The best pans to use ideally would be a non-stick skillet, a cast iron skillet, or a griddle pan. All these pans will allow you to control the heat and ensure your bread will brown to perfection. Personally, I use a griddle pan because I like the flat surface. It’s easy to work with when flipping the sandwich. But again, any pan will work as long as it’s super-hot before you start. Now it’s time to cook.
The biggest mistake I typically see when people make grilled cheese sandwiches, is that they put the sandwich on the pan with high heat, and walk away to do something else. So, if this is you, don’t do this anymore! LOL. Again, it’s the process of allowing the bread to toast, the cheese to melt, and the only way to achieve this is by paying attention to the sandwich while you have on the pan or griddle. Look at what’s happening to your bread and cheese. You have to be able to control the heat, and adjust when necessary. Let the cheese melt outside of the sandwich, so you have that nice crusty cheese, but when the color changes too much, take it off, and then enjoy. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to eat that crunchy cheese that melts over the edge!
The Biblical Application
So why are we giving you these tips as a Bible teaching ministry? Here’s the deal, the same principles of making a grilled cheese apply to the principles of our faith. Notice that the key to a perfect grilled cheese is the selection of certain ingredients, that combine well with other ingredients, put together in simple form, heated properly until they meld as one, under careful observation and focus. This is how the LORD works with us. He carefully selects His people, and assembles them together in particular ways. He puts His people over the heat of trials and persecution, so that we’re forged together in the flame; but that’s where the flavor is amplified! He’s carefully watching the heat to make sure we’re refined, and solidified, not burnt and ruined. When His work is done, the results are classic. If we can accept the basic principles of making a simple sandwich, how much more so should we accept these principles concerning our faith, knowing that the LORD God Almighty is the One controlling all things, and producing ONLY good results.