Skip The Regular Sandwich Bread When Making Fancy Topped Toasts

Soft white or whole grain sandwich bread tastes great for grilled cheeses, peanut butter and jelly, and even French toast casserole, but it falls short in the arena of topped toast. Store-bought sandwich bread's main characteristic is its soft, flimsy texture that almost melts into the sandwich fillings with each bite. Two slices work well to bind ingredients together, but a single slice isn't a very sturdy foundation.

Topped toasts fall somewhere between open-faced sandwiches and flatbreads. A foundation of toasted bread gets a hearty slathering of spread followed by layers of veggies, eggs, meat, or other garnishes. Like open-faced sandwiches, they have plentiful toppings and condiments, but you don't have to eat them with a knife and fork. Their firm, thick base is more like flatbread, allowing you to safely hold one end in while you dig into the other.

Toasting a slice of sandwich bread may firm it up, but it'll also reduce the crumb of the bread to a little more than air. So whether you use toasted or plain sandwich bread for topped toast, they would both buckle under the weight of the toppings. Toasted sandwich bread will crumble white un-toasted sandwich bread will disintegrate and fold inward like a greasy paper plate.

Best bread for topped toast

The best bread for fancy, topped toast is crusty rustic loaves with thick, crispy crusts and a denser crumb. A denser crumb is especially important to avoid oily or liquid condiments from seeping through and soiling your hands. A thick crust gets even crispier in the toaster, delivering an ultra-crunchy finish and a very pleasant textural variation. Loaves can be square or round, but a round loaf gives you more control over the size of each slice.

Sourdough, wholegrain, pumpernickel, English muffins, and rye are all great candidates for the sturdy base you need. Plus, they offer a wide variety of flavors for endless topped toast possibilities. For example, sourdough and pumpernickel have a tangy finish that would pair well with savory mascarpone topped with dried apricots, cured ham, and a drizzle of honey. Whole grain bread is a classic choice for avocado toast topped with microgreens and a fried egg. Or you could put a sweet twist by topping it with peanut butter, banana, and blueberries. You could do a breakfast toast twist on a loaded bagel by topping rye toast with cream cheese, lox, capers, and cucumber ribbons.

If you use a softer bread like brioche or challah, make sure it's a nice and thick slice. In fact, a thick slice of whichever bread variety you choose is optimal. And the fresher the loaf, the better.