Cheese on Toast is pretty much my idea of a perfect meal. Maybe it comes from being a vegetarian, but a surprising number of my meals are made up of combinations of bread and cheese. Basically I have the diet of a medieval English peasant.
I made the English Muffin Toasting Bread specifically for the Cheese on Toast, but it was pretty good on its own, and very easy to make.
The cheese sauce was quick and easy to make. I used Cabot cheddar, to make it extra Vermont-y.
Mike was uncertain about a meal consisting of Cheese on Toast. He likes to eat things that have an aura of healthfulness to them. But once he tried it, he was won over. The power of cheese sauce is mighty.
We ate this with baked beans, but we had much more cheese sauce than we needed. I ended up mixing it with macaroni for an improvised mac and cheese, and that was tasty, too.
English Muffin Toasting Bread
from King Arthur Flour
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 (1/2 ounce) tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf
Cheese on Toast
Also from King Arthur Flour
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
6 to 8 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, optional
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
1/2 cup (4 ounces) beer or ale
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) milk: skim, low-fat, full-fat, evaporated, half & half, or light cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 thick slices toast, your choice of bread
In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in 3 tablespoons of the flour, the dry mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne until well combined.
Gradually stir in the beer or ale, whisking until no lumps remain and the sauce is thick.
Put the remaining 3 to 5 tablespoons flour in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk in the milk, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Pour the milk mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly until all the milk is added and the mixture is smooth. Cook until very hot, but not simmering.
Gradually add the cheese, again stirring constantly until the cheese is melted. Reduce the heat to low, and stir the sauce occasionally as you make the toast.
Slice bread 3/4″ to 1″ thick and toast until it’s golden brown on the outside, yet still a bit soft inside.
Place each piece on a plate, and pour on the cheese sauce. Serve hot.
Yield: 6 servings