Though it may not be my favorite sandwich, grilled cheese is certainly in the top five. I don’t eat them often, but when I do I want mine gooey on the inside and crisp and buttery on the outside. A few weeks ago I saw a Hellman’s Mayonnaise commercial touting the wonders of a grilled cheese using mayonnaise instead of butter I was intrigued. I do love mayonnaise, but could it be as good as butter? I had to try it and see.
Full disclosure, I did not use Hellman’s Mayonnaise, nor did I use my favorite Duke’s, I used Whole Foods Market 365 mayonnaise. (I did recently make my first trip to Aldi last week, and found Dukes mayo, and bought two jars, but that trip is another story). 365 mayo us a fine staple mayonnaise, but I imagine it may have impacted the outcome of our experiment, and we may need a do-over now that I have gotten my hands on Dukes.
Originally I planned to use a combo of white cheddar and fontina cheeses, but Aldi didn’t have either (and I was running out of time) so I opted for mozzarella and Havarti (pre-sliced). I got was a white sourdough sandwich bread, and it may be that the sourness of the bread wasn’t a good match for the lemony flavor of the mayo. I’m learning all kinds of lessons here about planning, shopping, and the value of squishy white bread…
I made the sandwiches as identical as I could, using the same amount of cheese, and going for full bread coverage with both the butter and the mayo. My griddle fits over two burners, and I calibrated them to the best of my ability to the same heat level. I would rather have fewer grilled cheese sandwiches in my life that are slathered in butter, than more that are dry. If I wanted a dry cheese sandwich I’d put my bread in the toaster and skip washing a pan. Part of the greatness of a grilled cheese (IMHO) is the crisp, buttery outside and edges of the bread, contrasting with the melty decadence of the cheese.
I got great browning on both, though the butter sandwich got a tad browner in the same amount of time. I pulled them off the griddle, and cut them into four long pieces (easier to eat). We tried a bite of each right away so neither had a hot off the grill advantage. Here are the results of our (not very scientific, or well executed) taste test:
- We both preferred the butter to the mayo (a lot)
- The mayo was too sour (as I said that could be from the bread)
- We each had four slices of sandwich, and both of us finished our buttered pieces, and discarded the 2nd mayo piece.
My conclusion, the buttered grilled cheese was superior. The mayo version was too rich, and not a good flavor complement to the sourdough bread. We keep our butter on the counter, so spread-ability wasn’t an issue. The mayo might have been somewhat problematic, or perhaps I used too much; I tried to use just enough of each to fully cover the surface of the bread with a thin layer. I may try this experiment again with a non-sour bread, better cheese, and Duke’s mayo and when I do I’ll be sure to send out an update. Perhaps in tomato soup season.