5 Easiest Tips to Make the Best Grilled Cheese Ever

Sue Conley and Peggy Smith know a thing or two about cheese. In 1997, the duo founded the Point Reyes Station, California-based Cowgirl Creamery, and they've been making organic crème fraîche, fromage blanc, and more ever since. Now they're sharing their expertise in a new book, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks ($35, Chronicle Books), out this week. Along with instructions for whipping up cheese at home, you'll find plenty of ideas for putting dairy to good use-including these pro pointers for cooking the ideal grilled cheese sandwich.

Tip 1: The best-tasting sandwiches combine three cheeses. For a creamier cheese middle, make one of them a soft cheese such as fromage blanc. And don't skimp. It's okay if the cheese filling spills out onto the hot pan-those crunchy bits around the edge of the sandwich are always welcome.

Tip 2: Bread that is slightly stale is better; because it's not as moist, it browns better. We like baguettes or levain.

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Tip 3: Use regular butter, not clarified butter. At Sidekick, our lunch counter in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, we started out using clarified butter but found that regular butter made tastier sandwiches. Those milk solids add to the flavor.

Tip 4: Set your well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, or other large pan with a heavy bottom, over medium-low to medium heat. Because you're cooking with regular butter, you don't want a too-hot pan, or the butter will burn.

Tip 5: Cooking a grilled cheese takes longer than you'd expect. Count on at least three minutes for each side.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.