Can You Use Regular Bread In A Panini Press?
A Panini press will allow you to create fancy yet simple recipes, and bring bland sandwiches to an end. All you need is bread and your favorite ingredients to create a meal or snack that feels and tastes like it came straight out of a gourmet cafe. With a Panini, the bread is a more prominent ingredient than with some other styles of sandwich.
Typically, Paninis are made with Ciabatta or a similar, often Italian, bread. However, the good news is that yes, you can use any bread in a Panini Press. There are some important details to pay attention to, depending on what type of sandwich you are creating.
Table of contents
Best Bread for Panini Press
Related: How to Clean a Panini Press
Tips for Choosing the Best Bread for Panini Press
Do Not Use Bagels
Of course, you can probably fit a bagel sandwich into your panini press. However, bagels are so dense and thick that your meats and cheeses will take a very long time to heat up. This means that your bagel will likely overcook or burn.
Bagels can indeed make amazing sandwiches. Try toasting your bagels normally. Layer some meat and cheese in a skillet over high enough heat to brown the meat a bit and melt the cheese. Put some of the melty meat and cheese on each half of the bagel, and add any veggies or other condiments you like. Eat open face, share with a friend, or place the two bagel halves together if you are extra hungry and enjoy taking big bites! No need for the panini press, though.
A dry sandwich is one that mainly consists of meats and cheeses, with few or no watery ingredients and few liquid oils or condiments applied.
Any type of bread can be used for dry sandwiches in a panini press. Off the shelf sliced white bread (“regular” bread) works great for a Cuban sandwich, and for a ham and cheddar melt. Sliced rye bread is great for a pastrami and swiss.
If your sandwich is mostly meat and cheese, you can use any bread in your panini press.
As soon as you are adding pesto or sauerkraut or anything similar to your sandwich, you now are making a wet sandwich.
Wet sandwiches turn out great in a panini press! Think of a beautifully pressed reuben sandwich, with corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.
However, you must take care to prevent ending up with soggy bread. Two important tips:
- When possible, keep the wet ingredients in between meats and cheeses, rather than on the bread.
- Use dense bread, like Ciabatta, to resist any moisture that does get to it.
Use Traditional or Culturally Relevant Bread
We mentioned above that using off the shelf sliced white bread can make a tremendously delicious Cuban sandwich. If you want to take that Cuban to the next level, try using Pan Cubano. Pan Cubano is in fact a type of white bread, but a little more dense than usual – perfect for your panini press. And Pan Cubano is likely what you would find on an authentic Cuban Sandwich – it is traditional and culturally relevant to the sandwich.
Ciabatta is perfect for an Italian Meats panini. Rye bread for your pastrami melt. Etc…
Traditional breads became traditional because they work so well with the sandwiches they are paired with.
You can use any bread you like with your panini press and the result will be melty goodness. Use the tips above to minimize any potential issues and maximize the deliciousness of sandwiches made in your Panini Press!