The Greatest Cheese Toastie in the World

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cotedupy

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Following the fanfare, brouhaha, and universal acclaim that met my post yesterday regarding the greatest sharpening stone in the world, here is another in a similar vein, on a matter of equal import. As ever; the opinions expressed below are infallible, uncontradictable, and any attempt at argument will be met with stern rebuke...

The Greatest Cheese Toastie in the World is made by a cheesemaker called Kappacasein, available from a small van in London's Borough Market. It is the stuff of legend; spoken about in hushed and reverent tones by those who know, and this is a twist on it. Because a cheese toastie must be twistable, there is no place for undue proscription or didacticism in the world of grilled sandwiches. Yet we'll also see that certain guidelines may not be bent, and must be observed, otherwise chaos and pandemonium would ensue.

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Ingredients:

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Cheese - To a certain extent this a blank canvas, and you may choose whatever favourite cheeses you have to hand, just don't go too wild and put Ricotta in it or anything. The only rules are these; there must be at least two, and they need to play off each other. One should be milder, the other stronger, and they should melt differently. This will give your sandwich added complexity, both in taste and in texture. Here I have chosen Gruyere and Provolone Dolce.

Bread - The Kappacasein toastie is made only with the famous bread of the Poilane bakery in the 6eme arrondissement, though any good quality sourdough will work. HOWEVER... it is also the most important part of the entire ensemble, and the success or failure of the sandwich rests overwhelmingly on this matter: It must be stale. At least a day old, preferably two or three. Fresh bread will not do.

Pancetta - This is today's twist. It is not traditional, and may be omitted. Other things may be added according to your level of experience and/or kookiness. Remembering of course that tomato does not belong in a toastie.

Alliums - Garlic is non-negotiable, minced. In addition to that; leeks and onions, scallions are acceptable too. Today I only had red onion, finely diced.

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Method:

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that in the picture above there is not enough cheese. I realised this as soon as I began to assemble it, so added more. This is enough cheese (just):

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Naturally we want to cook this in animal fat; butter ideally, but I had just fried some Pancetta, so this was cooked in pork fat. With added butter. If you are cooking your toastie with one of those fancy grilled-cheese-sandwich gizmos, then obviously you need to butter the outside of your bread.

And if you are cooking it in a pan - you need pressure:

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The temperature must be neither too hot, nor too cold. Think about what cheeses you have used, and how you will best fulfil their potential. We can see here the importance of a melting cheese like Provolone, and it's proper treatment:

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At the end of course... your cheese toastie will look just like any other - unremarkable to the layperson or casual observer. But *you* will know that it is the Greatest Cheese Toastie in the World.

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MarcelNL

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I too take my cheese toasties serious! and this makes me remember that I'm actually hungry after we just celebrated the end of social distancing and other Covid measures with some delicate pastry of master patissier....

I happen to have some seriously good sourdough (the master patissier is also a master baker) some spicy smelly swiss Alpkäse, some medium aged Remeker, and some organic smoked pork belly. On my way, will add a picture any time soon.

So the old bread was cheated together by toasting the INSIDE as well, and yes I should have added MORE cheese :) (the smoked pork belly was replaced by some Serrano I happend to bump into in the fridge)


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KingShapton

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@cotedupy : Great toast, but even better advertised and presented! You should seriously consider a job in marketing...

Correction, you should seriously consider starting your own marketing company..

Preferably for marketing synthetic and natural sharpening stones and outrageously good sounding food!
 

cotedupy

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I too take my cheese toasties serious! and this makes me remember that I'm actually hungry after we just celebrated the end of social distancing and other Covid measures with some delicate pastry of master patissier....

I happen to have some seriously good sourdough (the master patissier is also a master baker) some spicy smelly swiss Alpkäse, some medium aged Remeker, and some organic smoked pork belly. On my way, will add a picture any time soon.

So the old bread was cheated together by toasting the INSIDE as well, and yes I should have added MORE cheese :) (the smoked pork belly was replaced by some Serrano I happend to bump into in the fridge)


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Well this is clearly the work of a great master. Merely from the cheeses and cured pork products you had immediately to hand I could tell this was going to be a sandwich of some considerable distinction.

Both that, and and the attention-to-detail in toasting the inside of the bread to simulate staleness sets you apart from the weekender, or hobbyist toastie maker.
 
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cotedupy

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I don’t have a recipe to share, but I will certainly be calling these cheese toasties from now on, instead of grilled cheese. Way more fun 🙃

I did think of including a postscript concerning proper use of the English language. But decided it was probably fairly self-explanatory, and might come across as a little patronising ;).
 

cotedupy

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@cotedupy : Great toast, but even better advertised and presented! You should seriously consider a job in marketing...

Correction, you should seriously consider starting your own marketing company..

Preferably for marketing synthetic and natural sharpening stones and outrageously good sounding food!

Haha, cheers! I used to work in journalism and occasional copywriting a long time ago. Maybe I should get back into it...
 

cotedupy

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Looks delicious. But in order to make the worlds greatest cheese toastie (aka grilled cheese), instead of butter on the outside, use mayonnaise. Mayo on the outside of the bread grills up to the most sumptuous and even golden brown deliciousness.

Ah... The Great Mayonnaise Schism.

Opinion is divided in the toastie world concerning the merits and demerits of mayonnaise. It does certainly produce the results you describe, though its detractors would point to the higher boiling/burning point of olive oil in comparison to animal fats. And assert that this results in an sandwich that while crisp, is also overly greasy.

Though I think even the staunchest traditionalist factions must now recognise it as a valid alternative, and matter of personal preference.
 

cotedupy

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Kappacasein 😍

Ate at Borough Market 3 times a week when I was studying at LSE. Miss that place and London so much.

Excellent!

I must confess that I wasn't expecting the first person here to have encountered the Kappacasein toastie, to be in Texas. And given that I'm in rural South Australia - it's repute clearly extends to all corners of the globe.
 
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Ah... The Great Mayonnaise Schism.

Opinion is divided in the toastie world concerning the merits and demerits of mayonnaise. It does certainly produce the results you describe, though its detractors would point to the higher boiling/burning point of olive oil in comparison to animal fats. And assert that this results in an sandwich that while crisp, is also overly greasy.

Though I think even the staunchest traditionalist factions must now recognise it as a valid alternative, and matter of personal preference.

Seems a side by side comparison may be in order.
 
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Inspired and made my own cheese toastie for lunch today. A far cry from the simple, yet utterly delicious, American grilled cheese - here defined as made with a white pullman style loaf and at least some portion of processed cheese food (aka Kraft singles) with nothing else other than a smear of mayo on the outside of the bread and maybe some butter for griddling - the cheese toastie in my mind is a more baroque affair. Neither is superior to the other, just different.

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Take some good French bread, I prefer something with a regular crumb structure to better support the melty cheese, and cut into 1/2" slices. Toast one side of each slice over low heat in a lightly oiled cast iron skillet. Take a whole clove of garlic and rubbed it into the toasted side, don't go too crazy here, just a hint will do. A light smear of mayonnaise fortified with whole grain mustard, mace, white pepper, and a dash of brine from a jar of cornichons goes onto the toasted side next. Add a slightly ridiculous amount of cheese based on your preferences - I used racelette, gruyere, and a dusting of microplaned parmigiano. The cheese layer should be at least equal to the thickness of the bread layer. Assemble with the toasted sides of the bread facing the cheese. generously brush on salted butter to the exterior of the sandwich. Place back onto the skillet with no additional oil or butter. Brush the other side of the sandwich with salted butter as well. I cook over low to med-low heat for an even brown. Importantly, I use a loose fitting lid over the skillet to partially steam the toastie as well. Keeps the artisan loaf from getting too chewy or crunchy, improves cheese melting, and still allows for a nice crisp crust to form. Take your time and wait for things to get nicely browned on both sides - resist the temptation to turn up the heat. Let rest on a wire rack for 90 seconds then serve.
 
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