Usually, a panini press has one plate on the top and another plate on the bottom. Some of them include adjustable tops providing sufficient room to accommodate sandwiches with various thicknesses. The main ingredient of a panini is some hearty bread that will hold up under pressure, for instance, ciabatta. The bread is typically sliced into thick pieces. Between the pieces of bread can be any number of ingredients with cheese being the most common binding the the sandwich together as it melts. This is where the fun begins.
Panini presses can be divided into two types: electric and portable ones. The electric panini press includes a temperature control, and it is very easy to use. Place the sandwich into the panini press, use the plates to cover them and then wait for the timer, bell, or light to indicate that the panini is done. On the other hand, you’ll save electricity with the use of a portable panini. Prices for a panini press starts from $40-$70, but a quality device can cost between $100 and $1000, depending on the included features.
Key Panini Maker Features
There are a couple of important features to keep in mind.
- First, removable dishwasher safe grill plates are a must have. They’ll make clean up a breeze.
- Second, if you plan on making greasy foods like hamburgers you’re going to want a drip spout on the grill plates. Even better if the panini maker comes with a little cup to be used for catching grease from the drip spout.
- Third, a cool to the touch handle makes panini cooking much easier. Don’t forget; your goal is to press the sandwich together. And that’s a little harder to do with a big pot holder on your hand. The cool touch handles make getting a little leverage and pressing your panini a lot easier.
So whether you plan on making gourmet pressed sandwiches or if you’re going to make quick and easy grilled cheese, you’re going to want a panini maker in your kitchen. Give it a prime location on your countertop because you’re going to be using it a lot.
Using Your Panini Maker
To enjoy the taste of every ingredient, it is preferable to use about three or four ingredients. The grilled sandwich goes perfectly with fish, pork, or chicken, along with such vegetables like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and grilled onion. Next, add a slice of cheese into the bread. Under heat, the cheese will melt and will attach the bread keeping together all the ingredients.
Avoid overfilling the panini, as it is quite possible for the parts to not properly cook. You can also expect the excess ingredients to spill out onto the pan. Before putting the sandwich into the panini press, the device should be pre-heated. If you are using an electric panini press, there will be an indicator signaling that it has been pre-heated.
If you are using a non-electric device, the checking method is also a simple one. Drop some water into the pan, and the device is ready when you get a sizzling sound from the dropped water. Next, place the sandwich into the device, covering the top of the panini press. Grill for roughly 3 or 4 minutes to get those grill marks and for both sides to get a golden brown color. Then, the tasty panini is ready to be served.