The INSIDER Summary:
- Use Alpine Swiss, cheddar, or mozzarella cheese for your sandwich, suggests cheese expert Julia Birnbaum, of Murray’s cheese.
- Apply more butter or mayo than you think you need.
- Try using slightly stale bread so it grills more easily.
We spoke with artisanal cheese retailer Murray’s
resident expert, cheese monger Julia Birnbaum, about how she makes her grilled cheese, from the type of cheese and bread she chooses to the amount of butter or mayo she spreads on her sandwich before grilling it.
Get your cup of tomato soup ready for dipping because we have some delicious tips for you.
What type of cheese should I use?
Birnbaum suggested three types of cheese for an ideal grilled cheese sandwich. Unsurprisingly, they’re all classics.
Alpine-style cheese — “Think Gruyere, Comte, Emmental (also known simply as “Swiss Cheese”). These babies are made to melt like a dream while still contributing rich flavours and a touch of funk to your sandwich.”
Mozzarella — “This Italian youngster will bring gooey, perfectly melty texture that any good grilled cheese sandwich needs.”
Cheddar — “When crafting a grilled cheese, it’s best to go for a younger cheddar. Aged cheddars are drier, which doesn’t make way for maximum meltability. Also, look for sharper cheddars since a more intense flavour is going to maintain all that character after being heated.”
What kind of bread is ideal?
Birnbaum suggested going for “whatever you’re into,” from focaccia, pumpernickel, or sourdough, to the classic white bread. Anything is fair game. It’s more about when you buy the bread that matters.
“Let your slices sit for a day or two and get a little bit stale, that way they won’t fall apart when it comes time to grill them up,” she said.
Should I stick with one type of cheese?
You probably thought multiple types of cheese was sacrilege, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches, and mixing it up is encouraged.
“I often tell customers that if they are making an ooey gooey dish like grilled cheese and they are using only one kind of cheese, then they have already made a mistake. Mix that gooey, mild mozz with a funky alpine. Take that nutty Gruyere to the next level with a tangy, fluffy chèvre.”
How much butter do I need?
When it comes to your grilled cheese spread, the more the merrier, whether you’re using classic butter or mayonnaise, which some people swear by.
“Don’t be shy when applying that butter (or mayonnaise) to the bread for your grilled cheese,” Birnbaum said. “At Murray’s we recommend generously coating both sides of your bread and cooking the sandwich over medium heat to get maximum golden-brown crispiness on the edges.”
Should I add anything besides cheese and butter?
Although grilled cheese purists would cry foul at adding vegetables or meat to your grilled cheese (that’s when it becomes a melt instead of a grilled cheese), Birnbaum encourages it to add personality and depth.
“The cheese shouldn’t have to stand alone! Set your sandwich apart by adding a spread or meat. You can’t ever go wrong with bacon, grilled onions, or roasted tomatoes. Try sweetening the deal with fig jam or honey!”
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