A Panini maker is convenient and attractive must have gadget for any kitchen especially when you consider the tasty, freshly grilled cheese sandwich you can make from it. The thoughts of having one at home stem from the need to limit those expensive café trips. In the café, we are not allowed in the kitchen to see how the sandwich is prepared and see how the device is maintained. Therefore, we tend to think that if we get one high-quality sandwich press all is well forgetting that even the best Panini press requires thorough care and maintenance.
So now that you have the gadget in your kitchen, and you have just prepared your first sandwich, do you know how to clean it? I know you are asking yourself; can’t I just clean it like any other pot or pan? Unfortunately, cleaning the Panini is not as easy as that due to the following reasons;
– Some of the sandwich presses have nonremovable plates (like most waffle makers); this means that you need to clean them as they are. This can be tricky especially when it has been clogged with oily food particles.
– Some Panini presses come with non-stick plates, which make it easy to prepare delicious snacks. However, extra vigilance is needed to ensure that the gadget retains the non-stick properties.
Cleaning tips for your Panini Maker
Before you attempt to clean your sandwich press, always check the manufacturer’s instructions. These will not only ensure that you use the appropriate cleaning method but also give you the chance to learn about any inbuilt cleaning functions that you may be unaware of, such as the presence of a removable grease tray.
One of the best ways of maintaining your Presses’ quality and longevity is to clean it after use. You may be tempted to use a knife, scouring pad or chemical scrubber to get rid of dirt and oil deposits but this may be a bad idea since such items will only damage the outstanding features of your Panini press. Use the following methods when cleaning your sandwich press;
1. Unplug the Panini Press
The first thing you need to do is to unplug the press from your electric source after use. Let the grills cool down for an hour or so before you start any cleaning.
2. Use Your Dish Washer
This is possible if your sandwich press has removable plates. Check manufacture’s handbook to see if they recommend the use of dishwasher to clean the plates. If they can, you just need to remove the plates and put them in your dishwasher. This is by far the simplest way to leave those plates sparkles. However, it is important to make sure that the plates cool before you touch them.
3. Soak Your Plates
If your Panini has removable plates but the manufacturer’s handbook recommends hand washing only, you shouldn’t use a dishwasher. Fill your kitchen sink with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing soap. Leave the plates to soak for a few minutes until all cheese melts, and food particles soften. Then use a soft cloth to scrub and wipe the plates clean.
4. Use Dishwashing Soap on Non-removable Plates
If your sandwich press has non-removable plates, it means it can’t be immersed in water. What you need to do is fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dish washing soap. Take a soft cloth and deep it into the soapy water and gently rub the plates clean. However, you should avoid using too much water so that you don’t compromise the electrical components of the Panini. Also, avoid using rough cloths or abrasive sponges and also ensure that the grill is off and unplugged from the electric source before putting any water near it.
5. Wipe gently
If you are trying to clean small amounts of food and oil deposits in your sandwich press, a simple wipe may be enough. Use a soft cloth to soak up small deposits and wipe away any crumbs. If you use this technique, make sure you conduct proper washing after two such wipes to avoid the buildup of disease causing micro-organisms and bacteria.
6. Dig Out the Chopsticks
Sometimes your Panini may have stubborn pieces of cheese that won’t bulge no matter how hard you try. When faced with such a situation, wrap the end of a chopstick with a soft cloth. Gently lower the stick between the plates and dig the cheese out. Don’t use steel wool, knife or anything else that can compromise the non-stick properties of the plates.
How to Minimize the Mess on Your Panini Press
There three things that make a sandwich press messy- the amount of oil you use, type of filling and the amount of stuff you like to put in your sandwich.
- The amount of oil used determines how clean your plates are. Some manufacturers recommend the use of small amounts of oil to avoid sticking. When you use more oil, it drips down into the Panini’s ridge where getting rid of it can prove challenging. Apply a light touch of oil if you don’t want to avoid such problems.
- The types of fillings you use on your sandwich add to the cleanliness of your Panini. If you like a bit of cheese in your sandwich, it will melt and leak to the plates of the sandwich press. Try to use little cheese if you find yourself regularly levering off baked cheese deposits.
- Don’t overstuff your sandwich press just because you are hungry. The hunger feeling will topple when you open the Panini only to find half of the food littered everywhere. Just make a sizeable piece and help maintain your sandwich press in its pristine conditions.
- Others people use aluminum foil in between the grill and the food to catch any grease of food particles.
The fact is that no matter how hard you try to prevent dirt accumulation there will always be some grime or deposits to deal with. The ideal way to ensure that your Panini press is clean is to wipe off crumbs and grease after every sandwich to avoid build up. Also buying the best Panini can help the process. If you hate wasting time digging out frozen cheese using a chopstick; then don’t buy one with a nonremovable ridge plate.