Eureka! A scientific formula for the perfect grilled cheese

Scientists at the British Royal Society of Chemistry have revealed the science for creating the ideal grilled cheese on toast. Now that's an experiment we can get behind.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

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 conceived a scientific formula for creating the absolute perfect grilled cheese.

According to the society's science executive Ruth Neale, "We found that the perfect slice can be made by melting 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of sliced hard cheese, such as cheddar, on a slice of white bread, 10 millimeters (.39 inches) thick, under the grill. The cheese on toast should sit at a distance of 18 centimeters (7 inches) from the heat source -- which in our grill was at a temperature of 115 degrees Celsius (239 degrees Fahrenheit) -- and needs to cook for four minutes to achieve the perfect consistency and taste."

The winning formula. 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, along with a panel of foodies, performed taste tests.

Of course, their study isn't conclusive. Favorite cheese is highly subjective, and some people prefer whole grain 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.

(Source: Crave Australia)