Grilled cheese sandwich in my cast iron is cooking unevenly
I have a Lodge Logic cast iron pan that is seasoned very well. Lately I've been cooking grilled cheese sandwiches, which are supposed to come out great in a cast iron pan, but they're cooking very unevenly. Specifically, the edges of the bread (not just the crust) are almost burnt before the middle of the bread is even toasted. I've tried putting weight on the sandwich to press the whole thing down but that hasn't worked so I guess the heat is simply not reaching certain points on my pan.
I just read this NY Times article that seems to say this is often the case.
So, is there anything I can do about this? I've also tried heating the pan longer before cooking but that hasn't solved it. I want my sandwich to look like the perfect ones in the pictures!
Guessing on the problem,but the only time that happens here is cook "error".I am in a hurry,fire too hot etc.Slow down,back off on the temperature and take a close look at your choice of "butter" and bread.Both are very fire fussy,char easily.Pratice,if you have a pan that's comfortable you are nearly there.
The unevenness that McGee writes about should burn the middle first - assuming the sandwich is centered over the burner. Note that slow heat did did not help with McGee's cast iron - he still got a hot center.
In a restaurant grilled cheese is probably cooked on a grill, which heats more evenly (much thicker metal, and a more distributed heat source).
I suspect that the edges of your sandwich are in closer contact with the pan than the center. If there is a gap between the center bread and the pan it won't toast as fast.
Moving the sandwich around in the pan can compensate for uneven heating of the pan. Lower heat would give you more time to do this.
I assume you are buttering the bread before toasting?
I would guess it's the type of bread your using and/or you've unevenly buttered the exterior. Try using bacon fat spread evenly on day old (or more) crusty bread. It's sooo good and the bacon fat produces a nice, even crusty crunch. Or, if you don't have bacon fat, butter the bread and add a little oil to the pan and then fry up that sandwich!
but that 100 degree difference is between the center of the pan, heated by the flame, and the edge, furthest from the heat. The sandwich is burning at the edges, and not at the center. Unless there is a cold spot at the center of the pan that lines up with the center of the sandwich, uneven heating of the pan is not the problem - or at least not the central issue.
Other variables - diameter of the pan, size of the burner, how many sandwiches at a time.
Without ignoring the heating pattern of the pan, I'd focus more on the contact between bread and pan. The softer bread at the center may be contracting or even bowing away from the pan.