This article concludes my series on how to make homemade sourdough bread.
In Part 1, we looked at what sourdough starter is and how you can use it to make a sponge. Part 2 discussed how to bake that sponge into fantastically chewy, dense loaves of bread.
Welcome to Part 3, which I think is the best part. This is the part where we eat the bread. Specifically, we layer it with 3 different cheeses, pile it high with prosciutto, then fry it in loads of butter for a crisp and filling grilled cheese sandwich.
Low fat? No way. A cheese-laden, calorie-busting comfort-food treat every now and then? Absolutely.
How to Make Sourdough Bread, Part 3: Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto. OK, so I made the bread. What can I do with it?
The sourdough bread that I baked in Part 2 of this series is really versatile. You can can serve it with loads of cold butter as a hearty accompaniment to a warm winter meal. Or you can use it as an ingredient in other recipes.
The possibilities are kind of endless, but here are a handful of ideas of what to do with a great loaf of homemade (or store-bought) sourdough bread.
7 Ways to Use Sourdough Bread
1. Make a killer sandwich�One of my favorite combinations is bacon, baby spinach, crumbled feta, tomato, and fresh sprouts.
2. Start your day with a hearty breakfast�Toast it and slather it with butter and homemade jam or marmalade. Or use it to make a fried-egg-and-cheese sandwich.
3. Whip up some cheese-y garlic bread�Split it down the middle, spread it thickly with butter, fresh minced garlic, salt, and pepper�then sprinkle on a generous layer of grated Parmesan. Bake it in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is nicely browned.
4. Make homemade croutons�Cut the bread into cubes and toss them with a little olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Spread them on a sheet pan and bake in a 325 degree oven until golden brown.
5. Bake a bread pudding�Rip the bread into large-ish hunks and soak overnight in a custardy mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees in a casserole dish until the custard is cooked and the top is browned.
6. Surprise brunch guests with sourdough French toast�Follow the basic method and recipe for my make-then-bake chocolate French toast. Just substitute cream or milk for the chocolate milk and your sourdough bread for the chocolate bread.
7. Grind a stale loaf up into bread crumbs�If your bread goes stale before you finish it, break it up into hunks and grind them into bread crumbs in a food processor. Season the crumbs and use them as a breading for flavorful fried shrimp or chicken fingers.
Or, last but not least, you can make grilled cheese
My favorite way, by far, is to use this bread for grilled cheese.
Now, I’ve never met a grilled cheese sandwich I didn’t like. That said, I firmly believe that not all grilled cheeses are created equal.
Everyone has their own special way to prepare grilled cheese. This is mine. (Tell me, tell me…what’s yours?)
My favorite kind of grilled cheese has a crisp, buttery crust. It oozes with several different kinds of cheeses. It definitely has a good ratio of bread to filling. Add any kind of pork product�especially bacon or prosciutto�and I might just lose my mind.
This sandwich is great on its own, or with a small salad and some of my quick and creamy tomato soup.
How to Make Sourdough Bread, Part 3: Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto: A note on cheese
I used a combination of smoked gouda, sliced muenster, and American cheese this time. You can use any combination of cheeses you like. Just be sure to pick cheeses that melt well.
The instructions below are more method than recipe. Use as much cheese and prosciutto as you like.
Sourdough Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto
2 Tbls. butter
1 large hunk of sourdough bread
Sliced muenster cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper
Set a non-stick pan on the stove. Grab a heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast iron works well) with a very clean bottom and set it aside. If you have an electric panini press, you can totally use that instead.
Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto: Assemble your sandwich
Start with a large piece of sourdough bread. If you’re not using a French-style long loaf, use two thick slices of bread.
Slit it in half.
Scoop out some of the bread from the middle of each piece. Toss what you scoop, or stick it in the food processor for quick breadcrumbs you can use some other time.
I do this for two reasons. First, to create a little hollow that helps keep the fillings firmly inside my sandwich. Second, to keep a good balance between bread and filling.
Add two of your cheeses, covering each piece of bread completely.
Add the prosciutto to one side, using as much as you like.
I drop slices of the meat on in ribbons, so they don’t lay flat. This creates little pockets for the last cheese to melt into, and will help keep your sandwich together as you eat it.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. You could also add a smidge of garlic powder, thyme, or rosemary here if you like.
Top the meat with your final cheese.
Put the non-meat piece of bread on top of the piece with the prosciutto.
Your sandwich should look about like this:
Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto: Fry your sandwich
Spread the top of your sandwich with 1 tablespoon of the butter, like this:
Put the other tablespoon of butter in your non-stick pan over medium heat to melt it.
Pick the pan up and tilt it around to coat the bottom with melted butter.
Put your sandwich in the frying pan, buttered side up.
Fry it for a few minutes, until the bottom develops a brown crust. Turn the heat down a little if it starts to smoke or burn.
Flip the sandwich over when the bottom is nice and brown.
Once you’ve flipped your sandwich, weight it down with a heavy-bottomed frying pan (or even a tea kettle full of water). I used a cast-iron panini press.
Cook for a few minutes, weighted down, until your sandwich has developed a brown crust on the bottom and the cheese is melted.
When it’s done, transfer your sandwich to a cutting board.
Slice it in half with a sharp knife.
Serve and enjoy!
Copyright 2008 The Hungry Mouse�/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.