And anyway, if you’re going to eat a sandwich…

…it might as well be on a tender bread. I remember back in the 80’s when fashionable cafés first tried to dress up sandwiches by putting them on baguettes. It wasn’t a bad idea in principle, baguettes are good bread. The problem was that in order to tear off a bite you had to clamp down hard with your teeth on one end of the sandwich and yank with both hands from the other. Depending on how thick the crust was, when the bite finally released you’d send your plate, cutlery and water glass flying.

The solution was a larger artisan loaf cut crosswise. That minimized, though did not entirely eliminate, the crust problem. However it introduced another one: big holes through which mayo and mustard would drip, right onto your $85 tie. Thankfully tortilla and lavash wraps came along in the 90’s, saving corporate lunch eaters hundreds of dollars per year in dry cleaning bills.

Truly there is great utility to soft sandwich bread. It may not have crust, it may not have a fashionable open crumb, but when it comes to delivering a no-muss lunch, there’s simply no beating it.

14 thoughts on “And anyway, if you’re going to eat a sandwich…”

  1. You got that right JP!
    I love bagels but I find the idea of a sandwich on a bagel ridiculous. Because it is many bagel places have produced these -things- that are nice soft dinner rolls with a hole in the middle. A crime against bagelhood!

    1. Ain’t that the truth. The bagel sandwich didn’t occur to me when I wrote this, but amen brother, amen.

      – Joe

  2. Now that the weather is warming up, I’m getting ready for the first tomato sandwich of summer: on white bread made in my Pullman loaf pan, with homemade mayonnaise and just a touch of salt. Maybe with a cucumber, onion and cream cheese sandwich on the side. Mmmmm. Nothing beats good sandwich bread that is perfectly rectangular. Perfect with tea.

    1. When’s lunch, Maura?

      And the tomatoes aren’t coming in quite this early at your place, are they? If so, I’m jealous.

      – Joe

  3. I don’t know why, but my homemade baguettes are just fine for sandwiches, though I agree with you on store bought ones.

  4. you forgot to add that with those sandwiches made from crusty loaves, the roof of one’s mouth was shredded to bits in the attempt to politely consume said sandwich.

  5. mostly when i was in hurry to reach or get late or any how i mostly prefer to eat sandwich because easily to grab it and appreciate also your efforts to write down about sandwich..

  6. But . . but . . but. . . if you even think about putting any warm gooey drippy sandwich filling on soft, crustless white bread, you had better plan on putting it on a plate and eating it with a knife and fork. I’m not talking grilled cheese here–I’m talking grilled mushrooms, peppers and onions with maybe a warm meat product, and gravy. It _needs_ a crusty roll to support the gravy soaked crumb.
    Out here where nobody knows a hoagie from a meatball sub, I often lament the lack of “decent” sandwich bread–and by that I mean the classic crusty Italian roll I took for granted growing up back east.
    Sure you can wrap these things in a tortilla and it’ll hold up, but it isn’t the same thing at all. Soft hot dog or hamburger buns are ok for warm fillings with some structural integrity, but woefully sad under soft wet fillings. Unless, as I said, you are doing an open face roast beef or sloppy joe on a plate.
    [Somebody in Philly reading this head over to and eat something for me, ok? This is what nostalgia tastes like from 3000 miles away. Also, I now note, they have sfogliatelle for those who wanted to taste, but were to afraid to try without knowing what they were supposed to taste like first . . . . .]
    Anyway, my family uses “sandwich bread” daily for lunch boxes. It’s closely associated with pb&j, and a bag of chips. It’s so closely tied to the idea of “school lunch” or “ordering off the kids menu” that it’s hard to imagine it as a fine dining vehicle. Unless we’re going out to tea, in which case, it’s an absolute must for tiny crustless sandwiches.

    1. Hey Sialia!

      Fair point, though there’s a lot of middle ground as well. Pain de mie, not to harp on it, has good structure even though the crumb is very fine. There’s a lot that can be done to beef up a sandwich loaf. But I hear you on buns, they’re a whole different animal!

      Thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply!

      – Joe

  7. The obvious solution is one of the more tender versions of ciabatta.
    Here in Israel we use a lot of pita and lavash, but a lot of places use a local version of ciabatta – sometimes putting it in a toasted-sandwich press.

    1. Also well said. Ciabatta has been a staple sandwich bread for places like Corner Bakery for years now. I like it and also like focaccia for the same purpose.

      Thanks again, Ben!

      – Joe

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