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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Eureka! A scientific formula for the perfect cheese on toast

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Cheese on toast 11 image by jules:stonesoup, CC BY 2.0)

Scientists at the British Royal Society of Chemistry have revealed the scientific formula for creating the perfect grilled cheese on toast.

Science has provided us with many wondrous things, but what about dinner? Well, actually, it has gone there, too — but generally, molecular gastronomy tends to consider itself a little above the humble cheese on toast.

Luckily, we have the British Cheese Board and the Royal Society of Chemists. Together, they have performed rigorous testing on grilling conditions and have conceived a scientific formula for creating the absolute perfect cheese on toast.

According to the Society's science executive Ruth Neale, "We found that the perfect slice can be made by melting 50 grams of sliced hard cheese, such as cheddar, on a slice of white bread, 10 millimetres thick, under the grill. The cheese on toast should sit at a distance of 18 centimetres from the heat source — which in our grill was at a temperature of 115 degrees Celsius — and needs to cook for four minutes to achieve the perfect consistency and taste."

The winning formula.
(Credit: The Royal Society of Chemistry)

The team carried out a series of tests, changing one variable at a time: first, the distance of the cheese from the grill; then the amount of time the cheese spent under the grill; and finally, whether sliced, grated or cubed cheese melted best. Then Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board, determined the best type of bread and cheese, and the two performed taste tests.

Of course, their study isn't conclusive. Favourite cheese is highly subjective, after all, and some people prefer wholegrain bread, or a crusty ciabatta. And the experiments didn't take into account the thickness of the cheese, which we imagine would be pretty danged important.

Luckily, the experiment wasn't so much to determine how to make the world's objectively best cheese on toast, but to demonstrate how scientists design and perform experiments.

We're still totally going to try it though. It's for science.


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ScheduleT posted a comment   

And I thought making a sandwich is an art. Turns out it's a science after all!!


GeorgeH2 posted a comment   

The one great thing that this experiment illustrates is that it is not so much the exact ingredients that are important, but that the process be repeatable. There is nothing worse than hitting on the perfect item and then not remembering how you did it...


Im Batman posted a comment   

Great to see.
But i agree, i would like to derived formula that resulted.
I would like to see the quality/perfection curve, so i know how much i can push it if i am rushed for time : ) and because my distance to the grill is not that variable.

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