Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Vermont Sourdough Bread


My choice of bread to make this sandwich is my go-to plain sourdough bread with 20% whole wheat from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread. I am fond of this bread, for no other rational reasons, other than the fact that it was the first sourdough bread I had mastered when I started learning how to bake bread.

It was quite a while ago — three years, give and take. The taste and texture of this bread got me hooked. Not before long, I was committed to setting up the whole home bread-making process and operation. Ingredients for making bread are few and straightforward, but you do need a hot oven and some special equipment. Feeding the starter and baking my own bread has since become the ritual and rhythm in my kitchen. It’s a game changer. There is no going back to the store-bought varieties. When we run out of bread, reach for the flour!

One thing for sure: David Lebovitz’s recipe of fried ham and cheese sandwich is elevating a crusty sourdough loaf into a satisfying hearty meal. I need to find more recipes like this. Instead of ham, I used a few thinly sliced Prosciutto. Between the bèchamel and the gooey Comté, this sandwich is a real treat — with a French twist.

I found it easy to fry the sandwich on a stove-top cast-iron grill pan. I bypassed the broiler step in favor of a more streamlined process. (Really, do I want to pile on more cheese in one sandwich? My arteries said no.) A heavy Dutch oven pan, which I have a collection of, was called into service as a sandwich press. I’m big on certain gadgets, Dutch oven being one of them. Finding multiple uses of the pots and pans I have on hand thrills me. These workhorses never fail to get the job done: fast, even and beautifully. I should start naming them, like the living, breathing pets.

You won’t see me buying bread. You won’t see me outsourcing sandwich-making. But you would see me flipping and serving these “gotta have it” sandwiches, pots and pans in hand, over an open fire in the kitchen. All smiles!

To see how other bloggers at cookthebookfridays have approached this recipe, click here. Surprised how many of them have made their own bread for this sandwich as well.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 16, 2016 at 2:52 am

    I made my own bread for this too, and have a Tartine starter going as well.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 16, 2016 at 2:52 am

    I made my own bread for this too, and have a Tartine starter going as well.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    April 16, 2016 at 5:17 am

    So I am not the only crazy baker out there.

  • Reply
    Mardi Michels
    April 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I did not make my own bread but think I might need to try this one!

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    April 16, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    This is delicious! Hooray for homemade bread! I made my own too, a quick and easy version of Rachel Allen's sourdough bead, and it was pretty good, and perfect for this Croque Monsieur!

  • Reply
    lisa brown
    April 16, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I am so inspired to make homemade bread. I am impressed by all of you that have done this!! I too used my Dutch oven as a press, perfect and nice weight for this meal. But alas, I added the extra cheese- can never say no to extra cheese!

  • Reply
    Teresa
    April 16, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Sourdough starter has been on my 'to do' list for far too long. Your homemade bread must have made this sandwich even more special. My Dutch oven is bigger than my cast iron frying pan, so I pressed a Corningware casserole into service.

  • Reply
    Kathy
    April 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Sourdough starter has also been on my “to do” list. Your bread looks lovely, as does your Croque. I also have favorite kitchen ware…I would find it very hard to choose which one is favorite. Like children they all have special qualities.

  • Reply
    flour.ish.en
    April 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I must admit that the bread maker in me like the process of watching dough rise and spring up in the oven, more than what I'd do with all the resulting bread.

  • Reply
    Betsy
    April 18, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Normally I would have been one of those crazy bakers too. I am a frequent baker of no knead bread, but didn't get it together this week. This sandwich is over the top, but it would be even more so with homemade bread.

  • Reply
    Karen @ From Scratch
    April 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I have yet to master the art of bread baking, but I can sure see the appeal of making part of your kitchen routine. Your sandwich looks fabulous, and I'm sure it was made even better with your home made bread!

  • Reply
    Cher Rockwell
    April 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I've had my sourdough starting going for a few years now, but I will confess to stopping by the bakery for a loaf of bread 🙂
    Your sandwich looks delicious!

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    April 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Ohhh, your bread looks beautiful! Thanks for the recipe, too, as I've never made sourdough at home. I'll have to get started on the starter, of course. Beautiful sandwich as well. I hesitated to add extra cheese on top and decided to add half of what the recipe stipulated. Didn't miss that other half at all!

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