How to nail the most perfect cheese toastie ever
Might sound simple, but to nail your best-ever cheese toastie you need the perfect bread, the right butter, and select cheese. Not to mention grill skill.
There’s possibly no better snack than the humble cheese toastie.
Not only is it delicious, it comes to the rescue in so many scenarios.
Hungover? Cheese toastie.
No time for dinner before you head out? Cheese toastie.
In need of comfort food? Cheese toastie.
It just hits the spot every time.
But could it be time to up your game so it’s even more delicious? Here’s how.
The right bread and butter for a perfect cheese toastie
To give your toastie the best chance of being as delicious as possible, you have to choose the right bread.
The best toastie bread is a denser, dry loaf, according to Barry Iddles, the head chef of 360Q restaurant in Queenscliff, Victoria.
“Most people opt for milk loaf (soft, fluffy white bread) like Tip Top white, and that’s fine for a quick snack on the go, but it’s not the best you can do,” Barry says.
“I like to use piadina romagnola, which is an Italian flat bread, or pane di pasta dura.
“Butter the outside of the bread slices as well as the inside, and use a quality butter such as Lurpak salted or Western Star.”
Hakim Halim, from all-Australian artisanal cheese shop Ripe, at Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, agrees that the bread needs to be dense and, importantly, dry.
“Sourdough works best as it gives an extra layer of flavour,” Hakim says.
“It also goes stale and dry faster, which is important for a toastie.
“A generous spread of cultured butter on both sides of the bread will give flavour and crisp the toastie.”
The best cheese for the ultimate toastie
With so many varieties of cheese, how do you know which one is best?
“Use cheese with great melting capabilities, like mozzarella, tome fraiche, Gruyere – grated or sliced thin to ensure even melting,” Hakim says.
“Almost every other cheese is great for flavour.
“Try cheddar, washed rinds, goat cheese or even blue to give that umami (savoury) funk that makes a toastie more memorable.”
Barry’s pick is comté, a French cheese made from unpasteurised cow’s milk.
Hakim says to avoid cheeses that have aged too long.
“When melted, these cheeses split, so it’ll make your toastie super oily,” he notes.
Should you pimp your toastie with ingredients other than cheese?
Our mates across the ditch think the perfect cheese toastie is filled with house-made smoked lamb pastrami, smoked prawns, mozzarella, smoked cheddar sauce and pickles served with smoked aioli and pickle juice gel.
Admittedly, that does sound good.
Hakim says adding other ingredients can be OK, but let the cheese be the hero and ensure the ingredients aren’t too wet “as it will make for a soggy toastie”.
“Select ingredients will give a balance of flavour (and) textures – melty, funk/umami, acidity and crunch.
“However, I’m also not a fan of overloading a toastie to make it Instagram-worthy.
“The cheese has to be the star.”
How to cook the ultimate cheese toastie
You’ve got the right cheese and bread and chosen your fillings.
Now, how to cook your toastie to ensure maximum crunch and cheese ooze?
“I like to grill the inside of the bread until golden, then add the cheese and grill the outside until golden,” Barry says.
“This gives a fantastic crispy, crunchy finish.
“This is great to eat au naturel, but if you do want to add a little something, at 360Q we use our house-made Nana Bev’s kick arse chutney, along with sliced fresh pear or quince paste.”
Hakim says pan frying is also an option.
“Use a pan on medium heat with another smaller pan on top of the toastie to weigh it down while cooking at two to three minutes per side,” he says.
“The pan must be hot enough that it will both crisp up the bread and melt the cheese.
“Too hot, the bread will burn, while too cold you’ll get a limp toastie.”
Read more delicious recipes:
- Recipe: Roasted pumpkin and carrot soup
- Low-carb spinach quiche
- Angie’s flourless chocolate cake
- Recipe: Ricotta lemon pasta with peanut crunch
Written by Andrea Beattie.