Toasties. Grilled cheese. Jaffles. Toasted sangas. Whatever name tickles your fancy.... We call them TOASTAs.
They're our thing. Our butter to our bread. Our bacon to our eggs. Our apple to our eye (or pie).
But they didn't just become our thing overnight. Oh no. We spent endless days and nights finding the finest produce and the yummiest bread, and throwing the best stuff together to find the ultimate combinations.
We tried a little more this, a little less that.. ingredients BBQ'd or baked.. Sous vide at 65, 70, 75 degrees... Butter, oil, mayo, duck fat... You name it, we tried it. It was a hard task, but hey, someone had to do it.
And since they're our thing, we've learnt a few tricks of the trade. We've also invented some of our own tricks to really make our toasties second to none.
But hey, what's knowledge worth if it's not to be shared with the world?
So today, for the first time in TOASTA & Co. history, we're sharing our 'GOLDEN RULES' to create the ultimate toastie! AKA 'THE BEST DARN TOASTIE KNOWN TO MANKIND' (AKA The 'Jane' on our menu - our signature 3 cheese blend toasta).
1. GET BREADY FOR THIS
Let's talk carb. Bread is going to make up 50% of your TOASTA, so to underestimate its importance is foolish! Don't be a fool... Take pride in your choice of carb.
Steer clear of cheap'n'nasty Wonderwh*te (we said it but you were thinking it) and those alike (no offence, jaffles, but we're talking with the adults now) - they are too airy to crisp up with a good amount of ingredients in them, and they're just not for us fancy folk.
Our TOASTAs are almost always made with thick cut organic sourdough. The sour flavour works so well with all the cheesy goodness! However, there are plenty of other breads that you can work with, such as ciabatta, or brioche for a sweet toasta, nom nom! Play around with it! Just make sure the bread is thick cut, and preferably a day or two old so it holds its own (hella lotta ingredients) a little better.
If you’re Melbourne based, get around our amazing bread suppliers, Rustica Sourdough
2. GET YOUR FATS STRAIGHT, YO!
Yes, the outside of each piece of bread must, and we mean, MUST have some sort of fat spread over it in order to even come close to meeting expectations. There are a few different options here, and while we opt for salted butter as our go-to across the board, we do offer in store an upgrade to the decadent, second to none, duck fat.
Duck fat, while being more expensive and obviously not suitable for the vegos, has a higher smoke point, and therefore takes the bread longer to cook up, allowing it to get uber crispy.
2. JUST A 'SMEAR' WILL DESTROY YOU
'Just a smear', they say... 'that'll do' they say... NO! That will not do! The outside of each piece of bread needs to have every inch of it covered in a thin (yep, thin) layer of delectable, mouth-watering fatty spread of your choice (think butter, duck fat, mayo, even nutellex…)
3. IT AIN'T EASY BEING CHEESY, BUT BOY IT'S WORTH IT
Let’s talk cheese. #cheesetalk.
There are a crazy amount of cheeses that will knock ya socks off in a toasta. We could spend all day raving about different cheeses to chuck in ya toasta, who goes with what and all that jazz, but that’s for another blog (stay tuned!)… What we’re going to share now is our famous signature 3 cheese blend that works magnificently in a straight up cheese toasta, but also lends itself like a boss to all the other flavours we have put in toastas (yep, including chocolate!).
Our signature 3 cheese blend is (drum roll…) equal parts. Swiss. Cheddar. Mozzarella. Boom!
4. THE ‘GRATEST’ MISTAKE
The ‘gratest’ mistake, one might make, is using sliced cheese.
What happens when we use sliced cheese, is that firstly, our ‘3 cheese blend’ won’t actually be blended, it will be layered. Therefore by calling it our ‘3 cheese blend’, we are committing a crime known as fraud. Or in the words of Ja Rule from Fyre Fest, ‘That’s not fraud, that’s not fraud. False advertising, maybe’. (eye roll), and we may be up for 2 to 10 years. (maybe not, but yanno what we’re getting at.. we’d be telling fibs’).
And secondly, it just won’t taste as bloody good! The cheese won’t be blended, won’t be melted evenly, won’t be good for nothin’.
Grate. That. Sh*t. Peeps. And Blend.
5. A MELT SPECIALIST IS ONLY AS GOOD AS HIS TOOLS
The right ingredients and prep techniques are one thing… Now we’re getting to the real important stuff…. Ze cooking of ze toasta.
Yes, we have all used a crappy panini press, where the bread sorta cooks and sorta crisps up a bit and the cheese sorta melts… and what do we get? Something sorta okay, we guess.
As melt specialists, what we use in store, in our food trucks, marquee setups, and at home are our custom made, cast iron TOASTA presses.
Cast iron has an incredibly high capacity to retain heat, and therefore cooks the toastas low and slow, achieving ultimate melt AND ultimate crunch!
They can be used on hot plates, pans and BBQs, and are available in store (181 Adderley St West Melbourne), or via our website.
6. LOW AND SLOW WINS THE RACE IN TASTE
We all know that feeling where you consider chewing on your arm because you hangry and you CBF waiting for your meal to be ready… BUT. To rush ze cooking of ze toasta, is nothing short of sacrilegious.
In order to get the ultimate melt, crunch and heat factor, the only way is low and slow. Make sure your flame is on low to medium, and you give your cast iron ample time to heat up!
7. THAT’S A SALT, BROTHER!
The day we discovered the outside of the toastie as an extremely underutilised vehicle for flavour, capable of transporting rustic Maldon salt flakes straight from the plate to the palette of the mouth, was the same day we differentiated the ‘toasta’ from your every day toastie. Don’t underestimate the effect of that final sprinkle of salt, bae!
THE ‘JANE’ RECIPE
2 thick-cut slices of organic sourdough
1 tbsp duck fat*
40g cheddar, grated
40g swiss, grated
40g mozzarella, grated
1 pinch Maldon sea salt
1 Heat a heavy pan, hot plate or flat-top barbeque and place the TOASTA cast-iron press on top to heat for 15 minutes.
2 Spread the duck fat on the outside of both pieces of bread.
3 Mix the grated cheddar, swiss and mozzarella together.
4 With the duck fat side down, place the grated cheese on one piece of the bread.
5 Place the second piece of bread on top, duck fat side up.
6 Place the toastie on a non-stick pan, hot plate or flat-top barbecue over medium heat, and place the cast-iron press on top, applying some pressure.
7 Cook the toastie for three to four minutes on each side, until both sides are nice and golden and the cheese is melted.
8 Remove the toastie, sprinkle with Maldon salt, cut in half, serve, and get ready to have your socks knocked off.