Oh, grilled cheese. There are few things this delicious that are easier to make. But with grilled cheese, it's often all about the bread you use, which is why this Examiner and her lovely roommate decided to venture out and make our pesto grilled cheese on homemade soda bread.
Don't panic! Homemade bread is often an ordeal, involving a lot of waiting around for yeast to work its magic and make your dough rise, but this easy Irish soda bread recipe doesn't require yeast or waiting--except for the baking time, of course.
Once you've got your bread ready, it's sandwich assembly time. So here's my quick recipe for a relatively easy, delicious grilled cheese on homemade soda bread.
Homemade Irish Soda Bread
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (you can also sub whole wheat for a brown bread)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 slices cheese of choice, per sandwich (that pictured used mild cheddar)
- 1 tbsp Basil Pesto
- Butter, for spreading
First, you'll want to get your bread ready. This can always be done beforehand, as well, but it's best to do it the same day so your bread is extra fresh.
To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil, if you're like this Examiner and never keep parchment paper lying around).
Next, combine the dry bread ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add in the buttermilk, starting at the 1 cup mark and adding more until the desired consistency is reached. Use a large spoon or, if you don't mind getting messy, your hands to stir. Dough should be pretty moist, but not so sticky that it won't form a ball.
Knead it just enough to get it to form a rounded loaf, then place on your baking sheet. Cut an "x" into the top and bake for around 45 minutes, until golden brown. Remember, bread will be darker if you used whole wheat, so make sure it cooks until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the bread cool on a wire cooling rack until it can be safely sliced.
Now, it's sandwich assembly time! This is the super easy part. Slice your cheese, if you purchased block cheese. Slice up your loaf of bread, as well, if you haven't done so already. Try for slices that are reasonably thick, but not so thick that the cheese won't get enough heat to melt.
Then, butter one side of a slice of your homemade bread and place butter-side down in a skillet. Don't turn the heat on just yet! Place the cheese down on the unbuttered side of this slice of bread.
For your other slice, spread pesto on one side of the bread. Butter the other side of the bread, then place pesto-side down on top of the cheese-covered bread. Repeat these steps as many times as desired to create the number of sandwiches you wish to turn.
Finally, turn the skillet over a medium-high heat and keep an eye on it, flipping after the bread has browned (usually this only takes a few minutes). You want the bread slightly browned and the cheese melted.
Now all there's left to do is slice that sandwich down the middle and enjoy!