You Need To Be Grilling Your Sourdough. Here's Why

The heat of your grill can do so much more than produce fire-kissed meats and roasted vegetables. If you're serving slices of your own homemade sourdough bread (or any of the many delicious options at your market) with your meal, consider giving them the grilled treatment as well. The smoky flames add delicious toastiness to thick slices of sourdough bread, which you can munch on with your meal or dress up as the star of the show — perhaps with a drizzle of pesto and heirloom tomatoes.

Grilling the slices not only brings out the savory aromas from the sourdough bread itself, but also adds another level of flavor through the Maillard reaction — the browning process that makes food tasty. Allowing the bread to crisp up and char a tiny bit by adding grill marks transforms a plain slice of bread into an elevated treat worthy of showing off to guests. But it's so easy to do, you'll find yourself splurging just for yourself, too.

The simple technique for the tastiest grilled sourdough bread

Grilling your sourdough is just another way of toasting the slices, of course, and just like in the toaster, you're trying for even cooking. You want the bread to have some contact with the heat of the grill, but not for long that it becomes burnt. Medium to high heat works the best, for about three minutes on each side. That way the bread becomes warm inside while the outside gets those beautiful grill marks. Brushing on a bit of olive oil or clarified butter before grilling gives added flavor and crispness, and can help a slightly older piece of bread come back to life. If the bread slice is uneven, use a grill press or heavy pan to press it into contact with the heated grill (or griddle) for better toasting.

Grilled sourdough is so tempting and fragrant you might want to eat it right off the grill. However, don't miss the chance to use it under thickly sliced, ripe tomatoes or a grilled steak to absorb all the juices. The slices would be an excellent starting point for a croque monsieur sandwich or an eggy breakfast casserole. Cubes of grilled sourdough also make excellent croutons for soups or salads, and the excess can be transformed into toasty breadcrumbs with a quick spin in the blender.