For many of us, a sandwich is the ultimate food that we could never live without. No matter what type of diet you are on, what time of day it is, or what food you are craving, chances are you can find a sandwich that will satisfy.
Peanut butter and jelly, cheesesteak, BLT, grilled cheese, meatball sub, pulled pork, and po'boys, the list could go on and on. But, just because you have access to every possible sandwich and its ingredients --- thanks to your local sandwich shop or deli, grocery store, farmers market, bakery, and the Internet --- it doesn't mean that things can't go wrong.
Sometimes the flavor is wrong, it falls apart, or the worst-case scenario --- it ends up soggy. So, the question is, are there any tips or tricks to constructing the best sandwich possible and making sure you never have another soggy fiasco?
The answer is definitely yes. If you are looking to step up your sandwich game, troubleshoot some common mistakes, or even if you think you've been doing things right all along, here are six tips to making the perfect sandwich that will stay crisp and fresh until you are ready to enjoy every delicious bite.
Starting with good bread is key, and to keep your sandwich from getting soggy, the bread you choose and how you prepare it will make all the difference.
Fluffy white slices of bread are not as resilient as a dry, crusty bread. You don't want your bread to soften up when you add the fillings, so if you want your bread to absorb less liquid, keep its rigidity, and avoid the sogginess, you should toast it. If you are a toasted bread fan, toast it as long as you like. But if toasted bread isn't your thing, you can still lightly toast it for just a quick minute to keep sogginess away without the toasted flavor.
If you prefer your bread to be chewy and fluffy, use a thick slice of bread and quickly toast it, and make sure it is cold before making your sandwich.
There is a trick, however, to using thicker slices. You don't want your bread to be so thick that it overwhelms all of the other ingredients. So, one trick is to carve out your slices from the dome of the roll, so that you can get equal flavor from the bread and the fillings.
Bread choice and style can also make a difference. When selecting the right bread for your sandwich, for the taste, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. But texture is important if you want to avoid your sandwich getting soggy. Rolls, baguettes, and ciabatta are better than sliced bread and will give you extra insurance in avoiding sogginess.
If you lightly coat the inside of each slice of bread with a small bit of olive oil, it will knock out all liquids that try to enter and make it soggy. Just be sure not use too much oil because it could make your sandwich greasy. You can also use butter the same way. Brushing a thin layer of melted and cooled butter on the inside of each slice of bread will keep it fresh while providing extra flavor.
And, it may not seem logical, but using a generous amount of condiments like mustard, mayo, hummus, or pesto, is a huge factor in keeping your sandwich from getting soggy. They act as a barrier between the bread and cheese, meat, and veggies, and keeps the bread from absorbing excess moisture.
But, instead of putting them directly on the bread, try spreading them on your meat and cheese and then placing those on the bread. This will also help to keep the ingredients from slipping off when you are eating your sandwich.
After you wash your lettuce or spinach and run it through a salad spinner, chances are they are still a bit damp. That will transfer to the bread, so make sure to wash your greens far enough in advance, so they have the chance to dry completely before putting them on your sandwich. If you don't have the time, simply pat them dry with a paper towel.
If you are using cooked ingredients on your sandwich, make sure you let them cool completely before putting your sandwich together. Warm ingredients will create condensation that the bread will absorb, making it soggy. Instead, use cold or room-temperature ingredients to make sure your sandwich will keep --- especially if you are making it in the morning and saving it for lunch.
If you are making a sandwich in the morning before work to take with you for lunch, and you put tomatoes on it, they will make your bread soggy and decompose the cheese. You can substitute strips of red pepper, but make sure to dry them first. With any vegetable, you always want to dry them first with paper towels to get rid of excess juices.
If you absolutely can't live without a tomato, pack it separately from the rest of the sandwich, and then add it right before you are ready to eat. This tip is especially helpful for tuna, chicken, and egg salad sandwiches. Or, you can re-use the deli paper from your cheese slices and put them around your tomatoes, when making your sandwich in the morning, and remove them when you are ready for lunch.
If you are making a quick sandwich on sliced bread every day for work or school, and it is always ending up a soggy mess, try a reusable food container and cling wrap. First, put your bread at the bottom of the container -- which should be just big enough for the bread to fit in --- then cover it with cling wrap.
Next, add your ingredients in order, starting with the meat, then the cheese, followed by the veggies and greens. This will keep your bread dry until lunchtime, but it obviously won't work for things like peanut butter and jelly.
For a PB&J, use the "jelly pocket" method, which is spreading a layer of peanut butter on each slice of bread, then creating a ridge on one of the slices. Next, add your jelly in the "pocket" formed by the ridge, and put the two slices together. This will keep your sandwich from getting soggy while making sure jelly or jam doesn't leak out.