The most basic definition of sandwiches is two slices of bread enclosed with a filling that could be meat, vegetables, or cheese. Sandwiches are named after John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, in the UK.
It is believed that he was a chronic gambler who acquired the habit of eating his meal of sliced cold meat pressed between two slices of bread, at the gambling table. He did it so he would not have to leave the gambling table to have his meals.
Although the term sandwich is of recent origin, the concept of eating fillings between bread slices dates back many centuries. It was customary in France to feed the labourers working on farms with sliced cold meat sandwiched between crusty slices of brown bread. This would give the necessary nutrition and it would be pretty easy to eat such food.
Even people setting out on journeys would pack sliced and cooked meat pressed between slices of bread. It was not until the nineteenth century that sandwiches started to feature on the menus of hotels and restaurants.
In modern hotels, sandwiches are classified into a category of foods known as ‘convenience food’. England and the USA are the largest consumers of sandwiches. Even today, packed food for guests contains sandwiches as part of the meal.
Sandwiches are skilfully and creatively made by using various kinds of bread and fillings. Nowadays, sandwiches are not just limited to a simple filling but can consist of composite fillings in several layers of bread which can be served hot or cold.
Some sandwiches are served without a covering of another slice of bread and are known as open-faced sandwiches. Some sandwiches have exotic fillings and can be served as snacks in very high-end cocktail functions.
Parts of Sandwiches
Any sandwich has four major components.
Let us discuss each of these in detail as understanding these components will long way in helping you prepare various kinds of sandwiches.
- Sandwich loaf: Pullman loaf is a white bread made in a large mould that yields bread of size 6 x 6 inches. It is the most preferred bread because of its neutral flavour. The bread is baked in loaves and then sliced to prepare sandwiches. A range of sandwiches can be prepared using this type of bread because its unique square shape allows the sandwich to be cut into various shapes such as triangles and finger shapes.
- French baguette: This crusty bread from France is a long bread ranging between 12 and 24 inches with a diameter of 2-3 inches.
- Rye bread: Rye flour is used for preparing bread that has a more intense flavour. This brown-coloured bread is commonly used for making seafood sandwiches such as smoked salmon and creamy tuna.
- Pumpernickel: The bread has a dark colour, dense texture, and a sour and earthy flavour. It is generally consumed with smoked sausages and meat, marinated fish and cheese.
- Pita bread: Pita is Lebanese bread that is baked on hot stones or on the hearth of an oven.
- Soft rolls: The round flat shape is commonly used for preparing burgers, whereas 6 inches-long rod-shaped soft roll bread is used for making chicken frank sandwiches also known as hot dogs.
- Multigrain bread: This bread is made with different cereals which include wheat, com, rye, millet, oats, malted wheat, sunflower and sesame seeds. More of a health fad, this type of bread goes into the preparation of sandwiches for health-conscious people.
- Sour dough bread: This German bread is made from a mixture of flours such as rye, oats, and multigrain, that is left to ferment to develop flavours and dark colour. It is intense in flavour and pairs well with cream cheese and smoked meat.
- Focaccia: This bread has a lot of olive oil, thus it needs to be kneaded for a longer time, which enhances its taste as well as texture. The texture is a hard and sharp crumb contrasting with a soft interior. There are many different flavours, such as tomatoes, olives, cheese, and nuts, which can be added to this bread.
Spread is a creamy paste applied on the surface of the bread. This is done for the following reasons.
It provides moistness to the slices so that the resulting sandwich is not dry to eat. It provides contrasting flavours such as mustard with dried salted meat or creamy
mayonnaise with roasted chicken. . It helps in preservation as the layer of butter on a slice of bread will seal the pores of the bread and prevent microbial growth.
- Plain butter: This is the most commonly used spread. Both unsalted and salted butter can Description be creamed until light and fluffy and then spread on the surface of the bread, Americans also use butter for some sandwiches, which is very popular in the USA.
- Compound butter: This butter can be a combination of other ingredients combined with butter Paprika butter, herb butter, anchovy butter, parsley butter, garlic butter, etc.
- Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise can be used plain or flavoured like compound butter and applied on bread as a spread. It can be used as a filling by mixing it with various other ingredients. Many chefs mix mayonnaise and butter as a spread for sandwiches. Various types of cream cheese are used as bread spreads.
- Mustard: Mustard is a very commonly used ingredient in spreads.
- Tomato ketchup: It helps the filling stick to the surface of the bread. It is used to create variations on the menu.
This is the most important part of the sandwich as it gives taste, texture, flavour, and name to the sandwich. A filling can be called the heart of the sandwich. Traditionally, sandwiches were of roasted and sliced meat paired with greens such as lettuce.
- Vegetables: Various kinds of vegetables are used as fillings in sandwiches. Lettuce is a classical example and is found in almost every sandwich. Vegetables can be grilled, sliced, or diced and mixed with various kinds of spreads listed above or used on their own. Many vegetables are combined, along with meat. Smoked salmon and cucumber with cream cheese is one such classical filling of a sandwich.
- Seafood: Seafood is used in a variety of ways in preparing sandwiches. It can be cooked, canned, cured, and smoked. A seafood sandwich is traditionally made using brown bread and can be combined with other ingredients to make nutritious and tasty fillings.
- Salads: A range of salads can be used as fillings for sandwiches, but mayonnaise-based salads are far more popular because of their moist textures. Russian salad and coleslaw are some such examples.
- Cheese: Cheese is another popular filling used in a sandwich. It can be used sliced or prepared as a spread. Usually, cheese is paired up with meat or vegetables but one can use it all by itself too.
- Eggs: Eggs have always been a popular ingredient because of their nutritious characteristics and easy availability. Eggs are a natural source of protein and on combining with starch-like bread and fat-like spreads, it forms a complete and balanced meal. Eggs can be poached, boiled, scrambled, or prepared into omelettes before being used as a filling.
Though every sandwich does not need to be garnished, there are some that are garnished before service. Garnishing is mostly done in the case of open-faced sandwiches
Closed sandwiches do not require any garnish but sometimes ingredients such as olives and gherkins are secured, along with a small stick and inserted into the sandwich. The prime reason for the same is to ensure both the slices are together and facilitate eating.
Types of Sandwiches:
- Cold Sandwiches
- Hot Sandwiches
- Grilled Sandwiches
- Toasted Sandwiches
- Bevelled Sandwiches.