Although sandwiches vary greatly in both form and contents, bread or something that may be substituted for it always forms the foundation of this class of food. White bread is much employed for this purpose, but rye, graham, brown, or whole-wheat bread, or in fact any other desirable kind, may be used, depending on the nature of the sandwich or the kind preferred. Several matters concerning the bread that is used, however, should receive attention if successful sandwiches are to be the result.
In the first place, the bread used should be at least 24 hours old, as difficulty will be experienced in cutting bread that is any fresher. Another requirement is that the bread should be firm and of a comparatively fine texture. The shape of the loaf must also be taken into consideration. As is easily understood, there will be a considerable waste of bread if a round sandwich is made from a square loaf or a square sandwich is cut from a round loaf. When round sandwiches are desired, it is advisable to bake the bread in round loaves, unless some good use can be made of the bread that is trimmed off in cutting the sandwiches.
For sandwich making, bakers often sell special sandwich bread. Some persons prefer sandwiches made of such bread, but, as a rule, it will be found easier to use the ordinary bread baked by the baker or bread that is baked in the home for this purpose. When bread is being made for sandwiches, a good plan is to give the dough a little additional kneading and, toward the end of the kneading, to work in a small amount of flour, perhaps a little extra sugar, and, if desired, an egg. Then, if it is not allowed to rise as much as usual, it will make a bread that is finer in texture and easier to handle.
Very few utensils are required for the making of sandwiches, but those which are used must be of the right kind if well-made sandwiches are desired. To cut the bread, a large sharp knife must be used, for, generally, the bread is required to be cut thin and this cannot be done successfully unless the knife is sufficiently sharp. In addition, a case knife or a small spatula is needed for the spreading of the bread. If sandwiches in any quantity are to be spread with a filling besides butter, two case knives or a case knife and a spatula should be provided.
The point that should be remembered about sandwiches is that they should be as dainty as possible. Therefore, the bread should usually be cut thin and the crust should be removed. If a large number of sandwiches are to be made, it is often a good idea to remove the crust from the loaf before slicing the bread.
More frequently, however, the cutting is done first.
Then after the bread is spread, the crust is removed from a pile of slices at a time. A little difficulty will be experienced in making sandwiches unless care is taken in matching the slices. After being cut, they should be laid out in pairs with corresponding sides together, so that when they are spread two pieces that do not fit will not have to be put together.
The plan of spreading the end of the loaf and then slicing off the piece that is spread is sometimes advocated, but it is not recommended, for it has no special advantage and then, too, the bread is difficult to handle after it has been spread.
No matter what kind of filling is to be used for sandwiches, the slices are usually buttered before the filling is applied. To make the butter soft enough to spread easily, it should be creamed with a spoon, but it should never be melted.
With the bread sliced and the butter creamed, one of a pair of slices should be spread with butter, and the other with filling, and then the two slices should be put together.
After a number of sandwiches have been made, they should be placed on top of one another and the crusts should be cut from a small pile at one time.
Sometimes, if sandwiches are being made in quantity, the butter is worked into the filling instead of being spread on the bread. As this plan saves time and does not detract from the food value of the sandwich, it may be followed whenever it seems advisable.
Variety can be obtained from time to time in the shapes of sandwiches by cutting the bread in different ways. For instance, one time it may be cut into strips lengthwise, another time into halves crosswise, and again, diagonally, so as to form triangular pieces. To vary the sandwich filling, a lettuce leaf may be placed on the buttered slice of the bread and the slice containing the filling put on top of this. Lettuce used in this way makes a delightful addition to cheese, meat, egg, or vegetable sandwiches.
It is often necessary to make sandwiches some time before they are to be served. In such an event, they should be kept moistened so that they will be fresh when they are served. To accomplish this, they may be wrapped first in oiled paper and then in a damp towel, or if oiled paper is not in supply, the towel alone will answer the purpose, provided it is not made too damp and a dry towel is wrapped on the outside.