- Insider spoke to two culinary experts to find out how to build a better sandwich and avoid some of the most common mistakes.
- Not properly slicing your bread or forgetting to season your veggies can make a huge difference in how your sandwich tastes.
- To avoid a soggy sandwich, put condiments on your cheese, not on your bread.
- Visit Insider homepage for more stories.
Making a sandwich seems incredibly simple – just stuff some ingredients in between two slices of bread and you’re good to go. But there are a lot of tiny mistakes you could be making when preparing this simple dish that could be holding you back from crafting a perfect sandwich.
Insider spoke to two culinary experts to find out what most people are doing wrong when preparing this popular food.
Here are a few common sandwich-making mistakes to avoid.
Using bread that’s stale or incorrectly sliced will give your sandwich a not-so-great base.
If you’re using stale bread, your sandwich is already off to a bad start, Ryan Zaritsky, owner of MGM Roast Beef, a sandwich-based catering company in Washington DC, told Insider.
He said using fresh bread will improve your sandwich.
In addition, you also want to make sure your bread is sliced properly, according to Billy Strynkowski, director of culinary wellness at Restaurant Associates and former executive chef for Cooking Light.
“The worst sandwiches out there are the ones where the top is three times the size of the bottom,” Strynkowski said. “Place your knife in the centre of the roll and then slice accordingly. The right amount of bread on the top and bottom is key to a perfect sandwich.”
Putting your spreads and condiments directly onto your bread will create a soggy mess.
To avoid crafting a soggy mess, put your lettuce or cheese down first, then apply your spreads and condiments, said Strynkowski.
He said this is especially important if you’re making a sandwich to enjoy a few hours later.
“It ensures the spread adheres to the other ingredients and not to the bread, sparing you a soggy mess when you finally sit down to eat,” Strynkowski told Insider.
If you don’t dry your greens after you rinse them, they can add unwanted moisture to your sandwich.
Rinsing off your fresh greens is a wise idea, but if you’re going to do this, you’ll also want to pat them dry.
“Spinach, arugula, whatever green you are using – dry them after you rinse them,” Strynkowski told Insider. This keeps the greens crisp and helps prevent your sandwich from getting soggy, he explained.
Overstuffing your sandwich could make it more difficult to enjoy.
The size of your sandwich is up to you, but Zaritsky said avoiding overstuffing your bread with ingredients is the key to creating a well-portioned dish.
“If you’re making a meatball sub with five huge meatballs that you can’t take a bite of unless you unhinge your jaw, you’re probably making a mistake,” Zaritsky told Insider.
For maximum convenience, you typically want to be able to bite into a sandwich without having to use a fork and knife to chow down, especially if you’re on the go.
Not seasoning your vegetables is a missed opportunity to add more flavour to your sandwich.
“Whether it’s avocado, lettuce, cucumbers, or onions, hit them with salt and cracked black pepper before placing them on the sandwich,” Strynkowski said.
You could be throwing off your sandwich’s balance by using too much meat and cheese.
For an enjoyable, balanced sandwich it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of meat and cheese you’re using, Strynkowski told Insider.
Although it all comes down to personal preference, Strynkowski said he suggests using no more than 4 ounces or 5 ounces each of meat and cheese.
If you’re not evenly distributing the vegetables on your sandwich, it won’t be balanced.
“Have you ever bitten into a sandwich and gotten a mouth full of only one ingredient? That peril can be avoided by covering your sandwich with evenly distributed veggies,” Strynkowski said.
For the best-tasting sandwich, arrange your ingredients on the bread so that when you chow down on your dish, you get a bit of everything in each bite.
If you’re not adding texture to your sandwich, you could be missing out.
Texture is important with all dishes, especially sandwiches, said Strynkowski.
“Try potato chips with roast beef for the perfect meat-and-potatoes combo or add crispy wontons to a veggie sandwich to take the crunch factor up a notch,” Strynkowski said.
Roasted soy nuts or any of your favourite seeds or nuts are also tasty ways to add crunchiness to a sandwich, he added.
Only using standard, common condiments could also be holding your sandwich back from greatness.
Condiments can make or break a sandwich and if you’re sticking to the basics, you could be missing out on some great flavours. To step up your sandwich game, try out some alternative spreads, said Strynkowski.
“Some of my favourites include lemon aioli, lentil hummus, maple mustard dill (perfect for smoked fish), and Korean mayonnaise made with gochujang,” Strynkowski told Insider.
By not taking time to carefully layer your ingredients, you could be creating a messy sandwich that’s tough to bite into.
On the surface, sandwiches may seem like a simple thing to prepare for lunch, but to make one properly, you should shoot for a slow-but-steady process, according to Zaritsky.
“Carving, building, topping, and wrapping should be done with care,” he told Insider.
Ultimately, it’s easier to eat a well-made sandwich than a sloppy one. Plus, taking a bit of extra time to prepare your sandwich could lead to a particularly well-balanced creation.
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