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How long to cook a Panini: A Beginners’ Guide

How long to cook a panini

Paninis are hot.

Given that they were originally invented in Italy, it makes total sense that these simply pressed sandwich delicacies are generally found in Italian bars, stops, and airport meals, where you will often get presented with a wide array of cold assembled sandwiches that have been pressed to order.

Today, these delicacies have also been making their way into the United States of America. Restaurants that are entirely devoted to these delights have even opened up across the nation. Even Supermarkets have decided that they won’t be left behind and have jumped on the Panini bandwagon, which has given clients the option to ask their sandwiches to get made into Paninis.

That said, if you have been wary of trying to prepare a Panini in the comfort of your home because you thought that it was too much work and could only be bought by you, then think again. Our guide today will show you how to make a Panini from your couch, and all you need is a few ingredients.

We’ll also touch on how long it takes to cook a Panini. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s skip to the main section of the post and look at how can be made delicious Paninis at home.

How long to cook a panini

Step 1 – Building the Sandwich

Let us start by touching on a few points regarding how you can build the sandwich itself. Ideally, every single thing inside a Panini will be flat – flat cheese slices, flatbread, as well as the rest of the fillings. The flatter your fillings, the better the Panini sandwich will heat through.

That said, you ought to note that besides the cheese and bread, you are heating the sandwich. You aren’t cooking it. The bread should turn crispy and brown while the cheese should melt, but that is about it. Any other ingredient to be used inside the Panini ought to be ready cooked. With that in mind, if you are adding grilled vegetables, start by grilling them separately. The same applies to thin slices of meals like chicken breasts. In fact, a chicken breast ought to be sliced and grilled earlier in advance.

To start building the sandwich, begin by applying any spread, such as balsamic glaze or pesto, to the insides of the two slices of bread. Consequently, on one bread slice, add the cheese and then the remaining ingredients – then finally top the entire combination with the second slice of bread. If you will be using ‘wet’ ingredients such as tomatoes, ensure you layer them at the center of the sandwich with cheese or meat slices on both sides. This will ensure that they do not end up drowning the bread.

Next, brush the two sides of the outsides of the sandwich using oil. A great option I usually recommend is Olive oil. And once it’s time to start cooking the sandwich, remember that the side with the cheese needs to go on the grill fast. This will ensure that it gets as melty as possible.

Another point I forgot to mention in this same section. Ensure you use the ideal type of bread. I usually recommend bread slices that can easily take the heat (literally in this case.) Italian slices of bread like baguettes, ciabatta, and focaccia are generally heartier options compared to, say, sourdough and will hold up way better to grilling.

How long to cook a panini

Check out this guide I created recently on the perfect bread types used in a sandwich.

Step 2 – Bring on the Heat

Ensure that you get your Panini grill nice and hot prior to placing your Panini sandwich on it. This will make for even more aesthetic grill marks. Depending on the Panini press you are using, the preheat period will take 2 to 4 minutes.

Step 3 – Place Your Panini Sandwich inside the Panini Press

Here comes arguably the most exciting step of the process. That said, this is also the stage where you realize the mistake you may have made, such as using too much stuffing in your Panini. I know using as much as you can sounds appealing, but you want to keep the number of fillings to a respectable minimum – particularly if you are worried about issues like spilling while grilling.

That said, if you stand by your fillings and think that reducing their amount will affect your ability to enjoy the meal, I have a trick you can use. If there is a good dose of fillings (particularly cheese) in there, then you can wrap your Panini in parchment paper and keep everything together before placing it in the Panini grill.

Step 4 – Cook for Five Minutes

That sounds straightforward, doesn’t it?

How long to cook a panini

What if you do not own a Panini Press?

If you would like to prepare a classic Panini but do not own a sandwich press in your household, fear not. Preparing this delicacy will still be quick and easy using common cookware you can find in any kitchen. Here is the guide:

Step 1 – Grease a Heated Stovetop Skillet with Oil

You can also grease it with cooking spray or butter and place the assembled sandwich at the center when you’re done.

Step 2 – Place Something Heavy on Top

Lay another lid, plate, or pan on top of the sandwich. Also, ensure you weigh whatever you place on top with a full tea kettle or a heavy can. If none of that is an option, you can simply push down on the surface while the sandwich cooks.

Step 3 – Flipping

Remember to remove the weight from the top and flip the sandwich to its other side and cook it for the same duration as the first side. This is essential for even results.

Step 4 – Result

Cook both sides until they are golden brown and crispy, then serve while it’s still hot.

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