This Is the Best Bread for Your BLT

This Is the Best Bread for Your BLT

There are a bunch of ways to improve a BLT’s filling—marinate the tomatoes, waffle a bacon patty, or add stealth bacon—but what about that bread? That toasted, crumbly, roof-of-your-mouth-ruining toast? It’s a menace to your sandwich, and it must be stopped. Luckily, there is a perfect bread for the best BLT. It’s an unexpected hero (but not a hero). The best bread for a BLT is completely untoasted.

There’s a little more to it than that, but the bottom line is, untoasted is the way to go. Why is toasted bread customary for a BLT anyway? The lettuce and bacon are already crunchy and chewy, so added texture isn’t the answer. Toasted bread doesn’t stop eventual sogginess due to excess tomato water. I’ve experienced the toast on more than one BLT actually snapping in half on my first bite; it’s often so unyielding that much of the crispy, salty bacon (the reason you wanted a BLT in the first place) falls right out. And in all honesty, the mere anticipation of what a rough piece of toast is going to do to the roof of my mouth has made me pause before ordering one.

Untoasted bread keeps its moisture and the crumb is spongier, which means the roof of your mouth won’t be abused with each bite. Furthermore, the spongy crumb will hold onto more delicious mayo than the dry threads of toasted bread. But the real benefit—the reason you’ll never go back to crusty, brittle, toasted BLT bread—is that untoasted bread will tenderly hug the crunchy, ripply bends and curves of your bacon, lettuce, and tomato and keep them from sliding around. When the bacon snaps, the bread is there to buckle down and keep it inside the confines of the sandwich. Not falling down on your plate, or lap, or the grass in the park.

Choose good bread

There is the issue of the actual type of bread you’re choosing, but this has always been a factor, even back when you were toasting your BLT bread. Just choose a bread that you actually like—and hopefully, it’s one with a bit of flavour and some interest. I prefer breads with a thin, chewy crust and a pliable, but firm crumb. Whether I reach for an open crumb or a closed crumb (that is, a bread with large, irregular holes; or one with small, evenly distributed ones) varies with my mood. I’ve built glorious untoasted BLTs on split ciabatta, which rewards you with surprise pockets of hidden mayo. For thinly sliced bread, I enjoy the close, spongy texture of rye. It has a chewy, thin ring of crust, and the crumb contours around the sandwich filling without losing integrity.

Sliced, soft, bagged white bread can get a little pasty, and so that would be my second-to-last choice for a great BLT. But if you like it, then let your freak flag fly. I’d take soft, pasty bread stuck to the roof of my mouth over another toast-maiming any day.

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