Growing and Cooking Your Own Food

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam – A Taste Test

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This taste test compares two versions of a grilled cheese and tomato jam sandwich – one with Velveeta and refined white bread, and one with gouda and robust seeded bread from the bakery.

Taste test of 2 grilled cheese with tomato jam; one with velveeta and white bread & one with gouda and bakery grain bread
Two grilled cheese and tomato jam versions
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Processed vs Non-processed Cheese

There is an ongoing controversy at our house regarding Velveeta. Is it really a cheese or something else? There is no doubt that it melts well and can make a delightfully gooey grilled “cheese” sandwich. This is the husband’s preference. But is it really a cheese?

Wikipedia puts it this way:

Velveeta is A brand name for a processed cheese product that tastes like an  American cheese, with a softer and smoother texture than non-processed cheese. When melted, Velveeta keeps a fully integrated and evenly clump-free liquid texture.”

“The product was first advertised as a nutritious health food. In the 1930s, Velveeta became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association’s seal of approval. It was reformulated in 1953 as a “Cheese spread” but as of 2002 Velveeta must be labeled in the United States as a “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product”

There you have it, Velveeta is a pasteurized prepared cheese product!

My preference is to use one of the soft or semi-hard cheeses that are considered non-processed cheese (aka simply “cheese”). They all have slightly different tastes of course, but for this grilled cheese and jam taste test, I chose gouda because it was strong enough to stand up to the tomato jam.

Which is the Best Melting Cheese?

For grilled cheese you want a cheese that will readily melt within the sandwich while the bread is becoming lightly grilled. My favorite options for the best melting cheeses include:

  • Fontina: very mild but melts well
  • Gouda: use the young gouda with the red wax coating; sweet & chewy
  • Brie: smooth and quite rich & very gooey when melted
  • American: like Velveeta, this makes the gooiest, meltiest grilled cheese
  • Gruyere: milky creaminess, salty & nutty
  • Cheddar (young cheddars): shred it first and it will melt just fine; sharper taste than some of the others
  • Taleggio: nutty, with a bit of funk
  • Raclette: fruity, sweet, Swiss cow’s milk cheese
  • Provolone: easy if you use deli-sliced; get sharp for more tang

For more details on each of these cheeses, click on this Bon Appetit post.

Best Jams & Spreads for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Basically any jam will dress up a grilled cheese sandwich and add to the flavor. I like using jams rather than jellies as they have a little more texture (mouthfeel so to speak). The melted cheese should be the gooey star of the sandwich, and jellies can break down and release more liquid than the jams.

It is also easier to find low sugar jams where the fruit is the dominant flavor rather than the sweetness. Jellies are more difficult to make into a low sugar spread.

Of course another alternative is to use fresh sliced fruit rather than a jam. Sliced pears and brie are a match made in heaven. Some other favorite pairings of mine include:

  • Plum jam with smoked gouda
  • Citrus jams or marmalades with gruyere
  • Tomato jam with cheddar, mozerella or gouda
  • Raspberry jam with brie
  • Fig jam with fontina
  • Currant or grape with an extra sharp cheddar
  • Chutneys with cheddar
  • Strawberry with brie

The recipe below used our tomato jam which was delightful. Other jams would work well also, so feel free to change it up. For a great BLT sandwich using tomato jam, click here.

Taste test of 2 grilled cheese with tomato jam; one with velveeta and white bread & one with gouda and bakery grain bread
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5 from 2 votes

Two variations on grilled cheese and tomato jam sandwiches

This was a taste test between a grilled cheese sandwich made with Velveeta, tomato jam & refined white bread as opposed to a grilled cheese made with gouda, tomato jam and crusty grain bread from a bakery
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Lunch
Keyword: BLT with tomato jam, grilled cheese, taste test, velveeta
Servings: 2
Calories: 666kcal
Author: dorothy stainbrook

Equipment

Ingredients

Grilled Cheese with Velveeta & refined white bread and tomato jam

  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter organic if possible
  • 3 oz Velveeta cheese sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato jam
  • 1 slice deli ham

Grilled Cheese with Gouda & bakery grain bread and tomato jam

  • 2 slices sunflower seed whole grain bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter organic if possible
  • 3 oz gouda sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato jam
  • 1 slice deli ham

Instructions

  • Lay the bread out in mirror images, so that the filling will be between the non-buttered sides and the buttered sides will be on the outside of the sandwich
  • Generously butter the outside pieces of the bread, crust to crust. Turn one of the pieces of the bread over (butter side down on the counter or board) and lay the cheese slices on top. Then lay the slice of ham on top of the cheese and cover the ham with some tomato jam. Place the other piece of the buttered bread on top (buttered side up)
  • Repeat the process for the next sandwich
  • Place the sandwiches on a skillet (butter side down) with the heat on medium. Cook for about 3 min or until the bread is lightly browned. You can pick it up gently with a spatula and look underneath to see if it is browned enough. When it is browned to your liking, flip the sandwich over with a spatula and brown the other side.
  • Remove from the skillet, cut in half and enjoy and compare. Leave a omment or a photo as to your favorite!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 666kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 1800mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1357IU | Calcium: 672mg | Iron: 2mg

2 Comments

  1. Susan Metoxen on March 8, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    You know, I used to think grilled cheese was the best with white bread, but over the years I have changed my mind. The best grilled cheese sandwiches are wheat bread with cheddar cheese. There is something about wheat bread and cheese that just goes together.

    • dorothy stainbrook on March 9, 2020 at 7:41 am

      I tend to agree Susan. I like cheddar or some sort of robust cheese over the milder fontina, etc. I do love a seeded bread however with a lot of crunch. Thanks for weighing in….

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