Once that was done, it was time to turn my attention to the most important part of the sandwich: the bread. I selected three different options: wheat, sourdough and cinnamon raisin.
To create the perfect sandwich, you need to skillet toast the bread slices. This takes a little bit of time but is mindless and can actually be done as you're putting out the sandwich options.
It was really fun to see how people personalized their grilled cheese sandwich. No two were the same and pretty much everyone felt like theirs was the best.
Grilled Cheese Bar
1. Pick a few sturdy bread options (whole wheat, white, potato, sourdough, walnut, cinnamon raisin, rye, pumpernickel, etc.). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set a wire rack inside each of two foil-lined baking sheet. Butter one side (just one side) of each slice of bread. Melt a tsp of butter in a large skillet that's been heated for at least two minutes over medium heat. Add 3 slices of bread, buttered side down; cook pressing down often with a spatula to ensure even toasted and rotating pan frequently to allow for bread to evenly toast. Don't rush the process but it will take 3-5 minutes probably for each slice. Place the toasted bread in a basket. Repeat process until you've toasted all the bread.
2. Spread some flavor (whole grain mustard, pesto, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, fig butter, raspberry jam, pepper jelly, etc.) on two slices of bread for your sandwich.
3. Add some meat (ham, bacon, pulled pork, proscuitto, salami, smoked salmon, etc.) and any extras (sliced tomatoes, pears, fresh spinach or basil, sauerkraut, caramelized onions, dried apricots, etc.).
4. Sprinkle a small handful of shredded cheese that is meltable (cheddar, mozzarella, gruyère, swiss, fontina, etc.) on each slice of bread. The cheese is the star of the party so get the good stuff. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place each slice of bread on a wire rack inside the baking sheets and bake for 8-12 minutes (start checking at 8 min). Working in batches, firmly press two cheese-topped sides of sandwiches together. Let rest for 1 minute and cut in halves or quarters. Serve hot or warm.