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The Science of Sandwiches

Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 9:14AM

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Subs, sammies, sandwiches… whatever you call them, the timeless combination of bread and filling is as simple as simple gets, right?

Well, almost—but not quite. While the ingredients that go into a sandwich may seem pretty standard, the art of assembling them to craft that perfect ratio of taste and texture calls for some practice. That’s where we come in.

Read on as we explore the science of sandwich-making, and how you can enjoy the perfect bite every time. Take a look. 

Find the right ingredients

The artist has his paintbrushes, the musician has her prized guitar and picks. Every profession calls for those personalized tools of the trade, the items the “artist” just can’t live without—and for the sandwich scientist or culinary connoisseur, this job, too, calls for the perfect ingredients.

These don’t necessarily need to be “fancy,” though—after all, some of our favorite sandwich combos like PB&Js or patty melts call for fridge and pantry staples! But the ingredients should certainly be the freshest you can find. Crisp lettuce that adds a cool, refreshing crunch to your sandwich… gooey cheese that makes the entire ordeal that much more mouthwatering… and of course, the perfect bread to hold it all together (but more on that later!). You get the idea. These fundamental building blocks amount to a sandwich that really can’t go wrong, even if you’re still working on your technique! 

Opposites attract

When it comes to achieving the perfect sandwich, it’s not just about taste—but texture, too, and in a big way. When deciding which bread to use, you want something sturdy enough to hold up all your ingredients—especially if there’s a lot going on—but without overpowering the meat, cheese, veggies, and condiments with too much bread. It’s a balancing act… but you can do it!

Think about your favorite Peach Valley sandwiches, for example. We pair the chicken salad, celery, and lettuce on our Chicken Salad Sandwich with toasted wheat bread because this is a sturdy choice—it’s not too thick, but it provides enough substance to pair well against the cool, soft ingredients in between.

That’s the same idea behind our Reubens—well, the Reuben Sandwich as a whole, really! The classic combination of griddled rye, corned beef, gooey swiss, dressing and sauerkraut works so well because the rye is a tougher sort of bread. It doesn’t overpower the zesty action inside, nor does it let those ingredients come slipping out later on!

(For an at-home experiment, you can try swapping rye with soft, white bread to see what we’re talking about—it just doesn’t “work” the same way, since your sandwich is without a backbone.)  

When choosing bread for your sandwich (especially at breakfast), another popular option is the croissant. This is because the croissant is flaky, yet not dense—when you bite into it, you feel the bread almost decompressing, since there’s a lot of air inside the croissant and no dense dough to chomp through. 

Don’t skimp on sides

Your perfect sandwich is a multi-faceted feat—so don’t treat sides as an afterthought! Choose something light and easy to enjoy (our top picks are chips, fries or a classic potato salad, for example). This is a timeless option that lets the masterpiece of your sandwich really shine.

The secret of a good sandwich?

When all else fails, there’s one more way to boost the flavor of your sandwich—let someone else make it for you!

A study at Carnegie Mellon University suggests that letting someone else prepare your sandwich, or even just dining out, results in a more “delicious” experience because you’re not exposed to the ingredients beforehand. You instead spend that time thinking about the mouthwatering meal you’re about to enjoy, and all that built-up dreaming might just make the final product—biting into that sandwich—that much more fulfilling. (It’s sort of like getting a peek at your Christmas presents early, versus waiting for the big day and opening them to elated surprise!)

We’ve put some science (and lots of TLC) into every sandwich we make here at Peach Valley, so come on in and enjoy—and maybe gain some sandwich inspiration along the way.


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