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What’s a Panini?

For sandwich lovers, paninis are an excellent meal, perfect for any occasion. However, people are not always sure what exactly a panini is and how it’s different from other sandwiches, among other things. Here’s everything you need to know about paninis.

Let’s Meet the Panini

What’s known as panini or panino is a sandwich made with Italian bread, usually served hot. But the definition of this sandwich varies from region to region; in some countries, it’s a grilled sandwich that can be made using different types of bread, from focaccia to baguette, ciabatta or michetta. You cut the bread horizontally and put different ingredients inside, like cheese, mortadella, ham, salami or tomato.

How to Recognize a Panini

As we were saying, paninis are usually mistaken for other sandwiches and it’s hard to be sure we can recognize a panini. So let’s see the differences between paninis, toasted sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Let’s start with grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese sandwiches are usually made on a skillet or fry pan. You spread some cheese on a piece of bread and you let it sit on the pan until all the cheese has melted.

When we are talking about a toasted sandwich, what we have in mind is sliced bread that has been filled with different ingredients, then sealed on the sides and warmed between two heated plates that put pressure on it. Sealing the sides keeps all the filling inside the bread slices. One difference between toasted sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches is that cheese is not the main ingredient of toasted sandwiches. Even though many cheese lovers choose toasted sandwiches, you can make your filling with different ingredients.

Now, it’s time to talk about paninis.  Paninis are cylindrical roll-shaped or rectangular sandwiches. They are filled with different ingredients, then warmed and toasted in a panini maker or press. Cheese is usually one of the main ingredients of this sandwich, but it’s not the only one. There are other panini options for those who, for some reason, can’t eat cheese. There are no established rules when it comes to how to fill a panini.

How to Make a Good Panini

Nowadays, there’re many great recipes to make incredible paninis that will blow everybody’s minds. Even though it’s a really fast meal to make, it doesn’t mean it’d be less delicious or less healthy. It all depends on how you cook it and what filling you are going to use.

The first thing to take into account in order to make a good panini is choosing the right bread. You should choose the bread that better suits your filling. If you are using a bread roll, you can cut it into thick slices or horizontally. Rounded ends should face inwards. This is important, because if you cook with the rounded end up, you’ll probably have a hard time trying to keep the filling from spilling. The slices that touch the press should be flat.

To achieve good moisture and flavor, you can spread some olive oil on the bread. Use a small amount of oil. You can use a brush to make sure you don’t overdo it.

Then, in case you want to have cheese in your panini, it’s time to add it. You can put a slice of cheese on each bread slice, against the olive oil, to help the cheese stick to the bread when you are cooking the panini. Other people choose grated cheese, but that’s entirely up to you. After the cheese, you can add the rest of the ingredients of the filling you have chosen.

After you’ve filled the panini, you have to seal it. Some people spread butter on the outer sides of the bread slices before cooking it. To cook a panini, you need a preheated panini maker or press.  Once the panini maker’s heated, you just have to put the panini inside and close the lid, leaving it there for just a few minutes, until the panini’s the right color and toasted enough for you.

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