Sandwiches are, without doubt, one of the world’s most popular snacks and have been for hundreds of years. However even more popular is the toasted variety. There are numerous options to make a toasted sandwich, but potentially the best way is to use a sandwich grill. Sandwich grills give you many different toasting options and will allow you to also develop a smooth blend of flavors. They basically work by placing a sandwich between two heated grills that are connected by hinge. This will allow both sides of the sandwich to cook simultaneously. Although they are many different manufacturers, makes and models of sandwich grill, it is widely accepted that there are two main types.
You firstly have your standard four triangle sandwich grill. You merely need to place your untoasted sandwiches into the machine which will have specific sandwich shaped grooves that have been built into the metal grill. The other type is a Panini sandwich maker, which are Italian sandwiches that are traditionally made in a frying pan or on a flat top. There are numerous features that you should look out for when purchasing either appliance:-
A traditional sandwich grill – it is firstly important to look at the capacity and the actual use you have for this appliance. If you are only going to use it for personal use, a standard single size sandwich grill should be good enough. However if you plan to make a lot of sandwiches you may wish to upgrade to the larger four sandwich grill. The majority of manufacturers will also install a timer which means you no longer have to be constantly checking and monitoring on whether your sandwich is toasting, or has even burnt. You will find that just as with a toaster, many models offer numerous heat settings which, once again, allows you to have far greater control over the toasting process. It is also important to consider the cleaning of this appliance. Many sandwich grills have removable grills that are dishwasher safe which will, of course, make cleaning far easier.
A Panini sandwich grill – this is proving to be one of the most popular kitchen appliances over the last decade. Many of us have become bored with the traditional sandwich and this is definitely a more exciting way to make grilled sandwiches in a matter of minutes. You can actually also use a Panini sandwich grill as a standard grill which will allow you to cook meats, vegetables, fish and poultry. There are certain considerations to be made prior to purchasing a Panini sandwich grill. You have a choice of either a grooved grilling surface or a flat grilling surface and there are even certain units that provide a mixture of both. The grooved grills will always leave dark marks that have become synonymous with Panini’s over the years. Although you should know this is purely for appearance and nothing else.
Once again you will need to consider the size of sandwich grill that is best for you. You have the standard sized models or the larger varieties which are up to 10″ x 14″ in surface area. You will generally find Panini sandwich grills are either made from aluminium or iron. It is widely accepted that the aluminium versions will grill and heat up food far faster than iron however iron will always retain heat better. So if you are merely looking to use your Panini sandwich grill every so often you may be better off with an aluminium model. If your intention is to use your sandwich grill a lot you should consider the iron variety.
The sandwich grill can cast its origins back to the Australian and South African jaffle irons. These were approximately the same size as a slice of bread from a square loaf. They were originally designed to be used in a fire, on a stove or gas ring. However the earliest known sandwiched toaster was the Tostwich which was invented by Charles Champion in 1920. This was eventually patented five years later. It wasn’t until 1974 that the Australian company Breville first released the “snack ‘n’ sandwich toaster”. Within the first year they sold over 400,000 units. Breville often referred to this first model as the “Cut n Seal” mechanism, which perfectly describes the appearance of a toasted or grilled sandwich. Breville then released the “scissor action snack n sandwich toaster” to the British public and this model and design is still used by many manufacturers to this day.
Although sandwich grills will always prove to be popular, in recent years many more types of portable grills can be found in the marketplace. Models such as the George Foreman grill can make incredible toasted sandwiches, although they are more often used as a standard grilling machine.