I suppose this is a lazy Saturday morning kind of question, but are there any secrets to making a sandwich that doesn't fall apart when eaten (or simply lifted off the plate?)
Just use less filling? Put the lettuce in the middle instead of first or last? Etc.
I like sandwiches made with rye bread. I buy the bread at a bakery outlet store that bakes artisanal breads and rolls. I make sandwiches for lunch that are made with Genoa salami and pepperoni salami with slices of provolone cheese.
If one toasts the slices before making the sandwich, the slices are sturdier and the sandwich does not fall apart. The salami is moist enough that no spread is needed. Romaine lettuce could be included if one wishes to have it.
Choosing the right bread for the sandwich you're making is 90% of the battle, IMHO. Some breads are better for certain sandwiches than others, some should be sliced thinner or thicker due to their makeup, and some should be toasted to give better support to the filling.
For tuna salad, egg salad, etc., the sandwich bread should be able to contain a moist filling, but tender enough to bite through easily. Put salad sandwich fillings on a crusty baguette, and the filling is going to make a break for freedom.
When making an Italian hero with salami, cheese, peppers, lettuce, and then dressing it with oil & vinegar, a firmer, crusty bread is called for. A more tender bread would get soggy from the dressing and the result flops and falls apart.
Texture is important, but what you don't want is a bread that's so firm you cannot easily bite through. Crusty outside and soft inside is more than desirable.
Freshness is important. I once had a tuna salad on toast at a local sandwich shop, and the bread shattered on first bite. There was no question this bread was not fresh when it was toasted.
Ratio of filling to bread is important, too. Don't overload the bread with too much filling. If you have to unhinge your jaw, you've gone too far.
If you use a round loaf, or a baguette, fill it with your fillings, wrap it tightly and press it in the refrigerator for a few hours ahead of time. Pressed sandwiches keep their fillings intact.
Thank you all for the thought in your answers. I almost always have trouble, thin sandwiches seem so sad!
ChiliDude, the salami/salami/Provolone sounds great.
Pressed sandwiches. You can make them in a pan or a george forman if you don't have a press.
Layering your sandwich and using a good quality bread.
Condiments will help things stick. layer meat and cheese and added your veggies.
Press your sandwich down with your hand before picking it up.
Add tooth picks for clubs and cut into quarters for easy pick up.
Regardless of the type of bread used....a thin coating, or layer of mayonnaise, mustard or cheese spread...will inhibit any other type of liquid, e.g., meat juices, oil & vinegar...from penetrating the bread or roll. to prohibit the bread from falling apart too easily.
I agree the right bread is 90% of the battle. I also wrap napkins or paper towel around sandwiches before eating which helps keep fillings contained and absorbed any drips.
Use mayo or another spread on both slices, which serves both as glue and a moisture barrier to keep the bread from getting soggy. Put cheese next to the bread, also to combat soggy bread. If including a really wet component, like coleslaw, enclose it in slices of meat or cheese. I hope this explanation makes sense: Use sliced meat or cheese that is at least half again the width of the bread. Lay a slice onto the bread, meeting its edge with the edge of the bread. A lot will overhang the bread on the other side. Then put another slice of meat or cheese on, meeting its end with the other side of the bread (though you can't see that crust because the first slice of meat/cheese is covering it. There is now an overhang on both the left and right sides of the bread. If you want more slices, overhang on the other two sides of the bread.
Put your wet filling in the center, then fold the flaps of meat/cheese over so they enclose the filling. Top with lettuce, onions, etc, if desired, then finish with the top slice of bread.
Use toothpicks if the ingredients slip around a lot, as with tomato slices. Slicing a sandwich in half makes it easier to pick up and eat, and usually means less leaking or falling apart.
Depends on the kind of sandwich/bread, but sometimes it's helpful to hollow out a bit of the bread innards to make more room for fillings. Leave the outer edges of the bread intact, and you've created a sort of "hole" for the meats/cheeses/veggies to rest.
ETA: I see Martha recommends this in her pressed sandwich recipe.
Making sandwiches is an art form.
There are 'dry' sandwiches and 'Delany' sandwiches. (Gold star to the first member who knows what that means).
Lightly buttering both slices helps prevent wet ingredients from making the bread go mushy.
Always put the lettuce in the middle. Like bread/butter/mayo/then lettuce then cheese then mayo then butter then bread.
Lettuce is slippery. Don't make it more slippery by having it next to mayo for instance. Same with cucumber or tomato slices.
Agree that there's a perfect bread for every sandwich filling.
I start with what I want to have in the middle of a sandwich then decide on what type bread goes best......not the other way around.
I'd never make a sandwich with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuce using a crispy baguette for instance.
I prefer to eat my food not wear it. LOL