Scientists at the U.K.'s Royal Society of Chemistry recently teamed up with the British Cheese Board on a delicious assignment: devising a formula for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
"To determine our formula we carried out a series of tests on the grilling conditions, changing just one variable at a time -- just as a scientist would carry out tests in the lab," said the society's science executive Ruth Neale in a press release. "To measure what makes the 'perfect' cheese on toast we looked at three different components -- the consistency of the temperature of the melted cheese across the slice, the texture of the cheese, and the taste."
The society determined that the perfect sandwich is made by melting 50 grams (.11 pounds) of a sliced hard cheese, like cheddar, on a slice of white bread that's 10 millimeters (.39 inches) thick under a grill. The cheese and toast should remain a distance of 18 centimeters (7.09 inches) from a heat source at 115 degrees Celsius (239 degrees Fahrenheit).
Granted, the answer to what makes a great grilled cheese sandwich is highly subjective. What if someone prefers a soft cheese? Or determines how good a sandwich is by how thick the cheese is? Or isn't British, and has a difficult time using metric measurements? All would lessen the usefulness of the below formula.
Still, we appreciate the effort. Take a look at the formula below.
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American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, San Francisco
Heidi Gibson was an engineer with degrees from MIT. Then she won the national Grilled Cheese Invitational and opened this shop in the city's multimedia gulch. Tech geeks come for well-constructed <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/sandwiches" target="_hplink">sandwiches</a> like the Mousetrap, with cheddar, Havarti and Monterey Jack on artisanal sourdough. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-burgers-in-the-us" target="_hplink">Best Burgers in the U.S.</a></em> <em>Photo: The Cooking Channel</em>
Graham Elliot Bowles is known for playful cuisine at Graham Elliot, and the sandwiches at his take-out joint, Grahamwich, are equally inventive. The grilled cheese on sliced Pullman loaf features Wisconsin cheddar, prosciutto, tomato marmalade and cheese curds, which, when melted, add an extra soft, gooey effect. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-pizza-places-in-the-us" target="_hplink">Best Pizza Places in the U.S.</a></em> <em>Photo: Courtesy of Grahamwich</em>
Tartine, San Francisco
At their destination bakery, husband-and-wife team Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt use organic flour to bake extraordinary bread. Generous slices of the homemade loaves upgrade luxe pressed sandwiches like <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/hot-melted-sandwiches" target="_hplink">melty</a> Gruyère with ham, and Humboldt Fog goat cheese on walnut bread. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-sliders-in-the-us" target="_hplink">Best Sliders in the U.S.</a></em> <em>Photo: Chad Robertson</em>
Grilled Cheese Truck, Los Angeles
In most places, macaroni and cheese would be served as a side dish with house-smoked <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/four-steps-to-great-barbecue" target="_hplink">BBQ</a> pork. At the Grilled Cheese Truck, that's the basis for a Cheesy Mac and Rib Sandwich. Likewise, the Brie Melt is an indulgent union of brie and smoked pork loin with peach preserves. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/macaroni-and-cheese" target="_hplink">Macaroni and Cheese Recipes</a></em> <em>Photo: Courtesy of The Grilled Cheese Truck</em>
With respect to Boston baseball (and Fenway Park's famed left-field wall "The Green Monster"), Roxy's offers the Green Muenster, with guacamole and bacon. Here, too, mac and cheese is considered a sandwich filling for the Mac & Chorizo. In an ingenious twist, Roxy's brushes mayonnaise on the outside of sandwiches, rather than butter, before slapping them on the griddle. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/americas-best-bars" target="_hplink">50 Best Bars in America</a></em> <em>Photo: Zac Wolf</em>
Queen's Kickshaw, Queens (NY)
This café takes inspiration from the amazing ethnic diversity of its Queens hometown. Sandwiches include the <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/greek" target="_hplink">Greek-influenced</a> feta with roasted red pepper spread; the French-style Gruyère with pickled and caramelized onions; and a global grilled Gouda with black bean hummus, guava jam and pickled jalapeños. <em>Plus: <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/grilled-cheese" target="_hplink">Amazing Grilled Cheese Recipes</a></em> <em>Photo: Andie Diemer</em>
Chef-owner Annie Miler got so excited about her bakery-café's 10th Annual Celebration of Grilled Cheese Month this past April, she offered 10 variations each week. A year-round favorite: extra-sharp white Tillamook cheddar on country white with <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/bacon" target="_hplink">bacon</a> or roasted cherry <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/tomatoes" target="_hplink">tomatoes</a>. <em>Photo: Courtesy of Clementine</em> <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/best-grilled-cheese-in-the-us/9" target="_hplink">Click Here for More of the Best Grilled Cheese in the U.S.</a>