Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring, White Bread, and National Grilled Cheese Day

Since I missed mentioning it was National Grilled Cheese Day yesterday, never mind, in fact, it's actually National Grilled Cheese Month!  This comforting sandwich, that can literally be eaten anytime of day, has become one of the most ordered entrees at restaurants and diners.  I know that our grandson, Ari, asked for it to eat every restaurant we went when he was here during the holidays...and usually for lunch when we were home.

It was a gorgeous Spring day and after getting a jump start on planting my Fuschia baskets, I decided to make a loaf of bread so I could have a grilled cheese later.

The "starts" are small, but in a month or so I will have spectacular blooms that the humming birds will adore!
Of course, cheese and bread have been around since early times, but it was in the early 18th century when the 4th Earl of Sandwich came up with putting something between bread and the term "sandwich" was used.  In the 1920s, processed cheese was introduced,  but before that an open-faced version with grated cheddar cheese was the choice.  Now, with a "lesser expensive" cheese the common person/family could take advantage of this meal.  Furthermore, it is said the top slice of bread was added to make the meal more filling!

With the combinations of cheeses, breads, and accouterments that can be added (tomato, avocado, meats, etc.) this a near perfect sandwich for any occasion and should have a month devoted to it.

White Sandwich Bread
1 cup warm water (+ additional to create a smooth dough)
1/4 cup milk, warmed in the microwave about 30 seconds
1/4 cup honey
2 T (or 2 pkgs.) active dry yeast
Kosher salt
3 T Potato flour
4 1/2 to 5 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
4 T unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (+ more for bowl and loaf pan)

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, measure the water, milk, honey and salt.  Mix to combine.  While the mixer is running, sprinkle the yeast over the ingredients in the bowl.  Turn off and let set about 5 to 7 minutes until the yeast gets foamy.

Add the potato flour and 3 cups of the all-purpose flour.  Mix to combine, then, change to the bread hook.  Add the softened butter and the 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour.  Mix on speed #2 until the dough clings to the hook, adding any additional water, one tablespoon at a time.
Turn dough out onto a flour bread board and knead 7 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth ball.
 Place 2 T butter in a bowl and microwave about 40 seconds.  Place the dough in the bowl and immediately turn it bottom-side-up.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour.  Turn dough out onto the board once again and roll to a rectangle.  Roll up long edges and pinch together to form a tight seam.  Place seam side down into the buttered loaf pan(s).
I used a Pullman loaf pan to make one large loaf, but this dough will easily make two loaves in 9"x5" pans.

Brush melted butter on top of the dough, then, cover again with plastic wrap.  Let rise another 35 to 45 minutes until doubled.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F-degrees.

Bake for 10 minutes, then, lower oven temperature to 350F-degrees and rotate pan.  Continue to bake another 25 to 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads internally 190-204F-degrees.
 Turn out onto a bread board and let cool completely. I know...this is really hard not to slice off a "hunk" of warm bread and slather it with butter;-)

Now, for the grilled cheese...I cut two slices and used two slices of American cheese.  It's what I grew up with even though the best grilled cheese I ever had was in Los Angeles two years ago made with a combination of four cheeses!

Spread butter on top and the bottom and place, either in a large saute pan or as I did, a panini maker.

Grill until that golden crust and the cheese is oozing out the sides, which was about 6 to 7 minutes on the panini maker.

I had a great day gardening and enjoying a wonderful sandwich from my childhood.  My friend, Louise said on Facebook..."a lot of restaurants offer them on the kid's menu--what about adults!"  I agree, you're never too old or too young to enjoy a grilled cheese.  Enjoy!



  1. Oh my goodness that just looks fantastic! I so wish I had the knack to bake nice loaves of bread!

    1. One day, Allison, when I'm passing through and stopping at your orchard, I'll teach you <3

  2. I'm laughing, Susan. I've just finished my grill cheese sandwich, that I often make when I wake up with a migraine. I take my meds, and then make a sandwich. And now, here is your post about National Grilled Cheese Month! Mine was made with Colby. I would love to try your bread. I have a bread machine, but that is not the same. I may need to invest in a nice mixer with a bread hook. Thanks for the wonderful photos you post with the recipe. It helps tremendously....

    1. Meggie, it really is one of those favorite things you can eat anytime and for any reason. For me, I was having a good day enjoying the weather and gardening, but other times, when I've been down, GC is a real a good friend! XOXO

  3. I can't even remember the last time I had a grilled cheese sandwich! I had problems with milk products years ago so I quit eating cheese and no milk. But I do have cheese at times on pizza or salads, etc. But haven't tried a grilled cheese sandwich and I used to love eating them!! I'll have to try it again.

  4. Susan your grilled cheese looks wonderful on your homemade bread. If you don't mind me asking what kind of panini maker do you have and would you recommend it?
    Thank you for another lovely post.
    Martha Ellen

    1. Martha Ellen, it's a Breville and I've been very happy with it's performance and ease in clean up.

    2. Thank you! I've been doing research on panini makers--I hope to buy one soon.

  5. What a perfect loaf Susan

    I bake bread almost everyday in winter so this recipe will be greatly appreciated... Thinking of you today. Keep well and stay strong..

    Love you

  6. I'll have mine with 2 slices of cheese, pretty please! And, now I need one of those Pullman pans... ;)

  7. Susan your grilled cheese sounds wonderful. I do like grilled cheese sandwiches but I make with whatever bread is on hand in the house. But cheese do make a difference....I like cheddar or edam or just about any cheeses. Sometimes I do swiss cheese grilled cheese. I think that is my favorite.
    stamping sue

  8. Its GC and tomato soup tonight for us - THANKS for the reminder of something super yummy!

  9. My brother recommended I might like this blog.

    He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    my web blog: click here