Pretzel Grilled Cheese Challenge

If you’re any kind of cheese lover, you probably heard somewhere during the month of April that it’s National Grilled Cheese Month. Somewhere along the line, someone – likely someone wanting to sell more grilled cheese 🙂 – declared it so. With our ongoing love affair with this ooey-gooey creation – equal parts rich, buttery, melty and savory, it’s not surprising it has caught on like wildfire.

With the resurgence of fine cheese with big flavor that has taken root in the last decade or two, some very innovative creations are making the rounds. When I saw this post for the second time on my friend Candace’s feed, I knew I had to try it.

Pretzel grilled cheese post

Pretzels and I go way back… it’s the food of my people. Growing up in PA – pretzels were the ubiquitous snack food. Snyder’s of Hanover remains a favorite. But there’s something about a good, fresh, soft pretzel that makes me swoon. That salty, soft and mellow flavor that just melds so well with the other flavors around it.

A little Pretzel Grilled Cheese action ensued. Candace and I both taking a stab at homemade pretzel grilled cheese. I’ll admit, mine isn’t technically grilled. It’s more broiled. I didn’t want to pan fry the pretzel after lovingly creating it, but now that I think about it, a little crunch on this sandwich would have been dynamite.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for my Soft Pretzel “Grilled” Bacon, Egg and and Cheese Sandwich. I used Beecher’s Flagship from my local supermarket. I wish we had more specialty shops around these parts because I could certainly have chosen any number of cheeses. I do love that Beecher’s is readily available.

For the pretzels, I used Alton Brown’s recipe. I like his scientific approach and this recipe worked like a charm – perfectly soft, chewy texture and great flavor. I used slightly less baking soda in the boiling water bath because I didn’t have 2/3 of a cup! Next time, I will use the full amount as this is what creates that distinctive pretzel-y flavor on the outside crust.

The other thing that is different about these is that I had to give them a second rise, not in the recipe. I got through the folding point and had to let the twists rest while I picked up my boys from school. This added to the light, puffy texture. And the knots, it’s harder than it looks! Perfection is overrated 🙂

For the sandwich, I simply fried up some bacon and eggs, slathered the bottom half of the pretzel slice with grainy mustard and topped with some grated Flagship cheese. Popped it under the broiler for about 90 seconds and it was perfection.

Pretzel Grilled Cheese Broiling-5934

Here’s the sandwich under my broiler at 7:15 this morning. For those of you who are followers of #CheesePhotography101 techniques, this natural light is in my oven for about 15 minutes each morning as the rising sun streams in from the east facing kitchen window. Talk about the time to shoot oven shots! If you want to learn more about Cheese and Food Photography, sign up for the #CheesePhotography101 e-newsletter.

Pretzel Grilled Cheese - shooting set up-5966

Here’s how I shot the sandwich – on my back patio with a simple reflector to bounce light back onto the sandwich. I love the morning light for this picture. It gives a beautiful sheen on the yolk.

Pretzel Grilled Cheese-5953I was very happy with the look of the “drip” on this photo. It adds that extra something to the image. I punctured the yolk with a bit of parsley and out it dripped.

This recipe is a keeper. Next time I will add my homegrown tomato and some avocado slices for some color and flavor. A bit more cheese than is pictured would be even more yummy, but with pictures, you have to know your limits 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Pretzel “Grilled” Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich
(makes 1 sandwich)

Soft Pretzel, either homemade or store bought
1 egg, fried “sunny side up”
2 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and drained
1 tsp. grainy mustard
1/3 c. coarsely grated cheese, I used Beecher’s Flagship
Optional: Tomato and Avocado slices

Slice warm pretzel in half horizontally. Spread inside bottom of pretzel. Top with bacon slices, cooked egg and grated cheese. (If you’re using tomato/avocado, put that on before the bacon).

Broil sandwich open faced until cheese melts and is bubbly. Don’t overcook, or egg will be very firm. Serve immediately.

Other widely available cheeses to consider: Sartori Bellavitano (for those who would drink coffee with this sandwich!), Roth Grand Cru Surchoix, Cabot or Tillamook Extra Aged Cheddar. Your local cheesemonger will also have some fab options from smaller producers that would be dynamite as well. I’m a big fan of supporting small, independent cheesemakers and shops!

Did you try the recipe? Have a question or suggestion. Be sure to chime in below. I’d love to hear from you!