If you’ve followed along with me for a bit, you’ll know that I’m a sandwich blogger who is no stranger to buffalo sauce. I can very vividly remember my first ever buffalo chicken wing basket that I ate in the winter of 1992/93 during a break between slopes on Beech Mountain when I was a freshman in college.
My first 18 years were relatively spice free and I don’t know why I chose this moment in time to order buffalo wings when we hit the bottom of the slope pub for some dinner. But I do remember riding the chairlift after my wing experience with my lips still very tingly and my insides still a bit warm from the spice. This was a new thing for me.
I didn’t immediately fall in love with buffalo wings or spicy sauce, but throughout the years I have become more and more interested in a balance of spice and flavor. I’ve written about buffalo sauce a few times on this sandwich blog. You might also remember that I’ve also recently written about a sandwich based on a well-known dip. Well, this sandwich is a combination of both.
What is this sandwich?
We’re making a fancy grilled cheese or melt sandwich that is well seasoned and slightly spicy, lightly fried in butter until we have a super tasty, sandwich. First, we need some bread and for this sandwich, I wanted a slightly bigger slice than my normal white bread loaf recipe produces.
Big white bread (9 x 5-inch pan)
At first, I thought about not even sharing this recipe because it’s not much different from my other white bread loaves, but this is in a slightly larger loaf pan than my normal pan, so I felt it was good for me and possibly you to put it online where the ingredient lists were available. I wanted a larger widthwise slice than my normal white bread slice since I knew this was going to be a grilled cheese that would have a big pile of cheesiness in the middle. Because of this, I took one of my pared-down normal 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf recipes and multiplied each ingredient in gram weight by 1.5.
This started as just a test, and it worked well. A 9 x 5 pan and an 8.5 x 4.5 pan aren’t a step up of half again in volume (it’s more like 20%), but the dough expanded to fill the pan very well. If you would like to convert your recipes to different pans or simply learn about the different-sized pans that there are for baking, there are two resources I would suggest.
King Arthur has a great blog post about Why it’s important to choose the right bread pan that ends up comparing one recipe in two different-sized pans. My recipe ended up breaking one of the rules in that post about recipes calling for more than 4 cups, but I have baked this loaf a few times at this point, and as long as you’re monitoring the second rise and put it in the oven after the dough has risen barely above the top of the pan, you will end up with a soft loaf with a tight crumb.
The other resource that I would suggest on the subject of baking pan volume is this very helpful newsletter entry from Wordloaf that I have shared before about how Size Matters. In this post, Janjigan shares a page from The Bread Baker’s Pocket Companion where he lists out all of the volume measurements of common baking pans.
Above is a photo I took of the pan volume page in my copy of The Bread Baker’s Pocket Companion, but if you click through the Size Matters link above you can see the full page in the very informative newsletter post on Wordloaf.
Buffalo chicken dip
Buffalo chicken dip is something that I learned about in the mid-2000s. I remember the person who introduced this dip to my wife told us that it called for canned chicken which shocked me a little because I had never seen or used chicken from a can before. Over the years, the recipes for this dip have changed to use rotisserie chicken instead. If I had to guess I would think they changed because canned chicken isn’t a common thing on shopping lists these days.
In 2023, I’m pretty sure very few Buffalo dip recipes are using canned chicken and with the inexpensiveness of a rotisserie chicken I’m not sure why you would ever buy canned in the first place, but that’s how we made it the first two or three times we tried it. For this sandwich recipe, I went to the buffalo sauce king of the world and got Frank’s opinion on how to make the dip.
I scaled down the Frank’s RedHot buffalo dip recipe to work for two or possibly three sandwiches if you spread the dip a bit thinner to make it cover a third slice of bread. I also turned my scaled-down version into an actual dip, using the cooking instructions from Frank’s (20 minutes at 350 F). I used an 18-ounce baking dish that my wife bought recently. I do not believe this is a common-size pan, so you likely will not have a pan like this. But just know that Frank’s recipe scales down easily if you want to halve all of the ingredients and find a smaller pan to bake in.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this ingredient other than the fact that you could easily replace it with a comparable amount of pulled rotisserie chicken. I grilled some chicken in my house one Saturday morning and then let the chicken rest and sliced it when I was ready for a sandwich. If you’ve never grilled a piece of chicken before, I have a spicy grilled chicken recipe that you can use as a guide. Just leave off the spicy marinade, season the chicken with salt and black pepper and you’ll be good to go.
At first, I ended up making this sandwich without bacon and it was good but texturally it was lacking. On my third attempt, I was pulling ingredients out of the fridge and realized that I had some bacon left over that I baked the day before and I decided to warm it up slightly and put it into the sandwich on top of the sliced chicken.
Texturally, the bacon worked well. Everything in this sandwich is pretty soft and the chew of the bacon strips added an extra dimension. So, you can make this sandwich with a few fewer calories if you want, or you can make it the more exciting way and cook up some bacon to add inside the melt.
Grilled cheese/melt tips
I spent a whole month of five Mondays last year writing about melt sandwiches. I picked one of the coldest months of the year and spent the whole time getting extra cheesy. I learned a few things during the process of writing about all those #meltuary sandwiches and here are my top tips.
- Use hot or warm ingredients on the inside of your melt whenever possible. This will help the cheese to soften and melt.
- Spread butter on the outside of the sandwich if you have spreadable room-temperature butter.
- If all you have is cold butter from the fridge, spread mayonnaise on the outside instead. Remember, mayonnaise is made up of oil, egg, and seasonings so it’s not that weird.
- Grill or griddle the sandwich on a medium to medium-low temperature (with butter or mayonnaise).
- After cooking, let the sandwich rest on a cooling rack to avoid The Soggys. Letting the sandwich sit on a plate or cutting board will allow the bottom slice of bread to steam and things will get moist.
- Slice the sandwich diagonally. Triangles taste better. Lots of people are saying this.
These are some of my favorite melt sandwich tips that you’ve likely already read if you’ve been here for a while or heard in real-time if you’ve been sitting beside me on a park bench, feeding the squirrels. Hopefully, with a bit more practice, I will come up with more tips before next time.
The buffalo chicken dip melt recipe
This is a great sandwich. It’s not a sandwich you will want to tell your doctor about. Why are they so concerned with how much butter our sandwiches have on them? I don’t know.
Anyway, like I was saying, this is one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve had in a while and I made it about five times in one week. You should probably stick to once or twice in a single week, but I’m not a dietician and am fully absolved of all your buffalo chicken dip sandwich escapades.
This chicken melt is a comforting take on a melty grilled cheese sandwich with chicken, bacon, and spicy buffalo sauce. The heat is balanced nicely with melty cheese, and toasty, butter-griddled bread.
- 4 ounces cream cheese (usually half a container)
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing)
- 3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
- 2 tablespoons celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 chicken breast or thigh
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- salt and black pepper
- 4 slices white bread
- buffalo chicken dip (from above)
- sliced, grilled chicken (from above)
- 4 to 6 slices of cooked bacon
- 2 slices, provolone (mozzarella, Swiss or any melting cheese)
- 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
Buffalo dip: combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Grilled chicken: preheat a gas or charcoal grill (or indoor grill pan) for 10 minutes.
Cook the chicken on the grill grates for 5 to 6 minutes per side. If you have very large chicken breasts you might want to grill for 7 minutes per side. If you have a probe thermometer you should be looking for 165 degrees F (73 C). You should be able to pull the chicken off the grill 5 degrees less than your target temperature and it will carry over to cook those extra degrees.
After the chicken has been cooked, remove it to a plate or cutting board to cool before slicing.
Sandwich assembly: spread the buffalo dip on two slices of bread. Half on each slice. Make sure you spread it in an even layer and get right to the edges.
Using your broiler on high, broil the two slices of bread topped with buffalo dip for 4 to 5 minutes or until the cheese is very melty and possibly starting to brown. Remove the slices to a cutting board to continue assembling the sandwich.
Top the broiled buffalo dip slices with slices of grilled chicken and then top the chicken with 2 or 3 pieces of bacon and 1 slice of cheese. Complete the sandwich by adding the other two slices of bread on top.
Add a large skillet or griddle to your stove and turn the heat to medium.
Spread butter on the outside of the top of each assembled sandwich. Flip the sandwiches buttered side down into the pan over medium heat.
Coat the second, top side of the bread with butter while the bottom side is cooking. Flip the sandwiches after 2 or 3 minutes of cooking. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, flipping if the sandwich gets too dark.
Once the sandwiches are browned to your liking, serve and enjoy.
Check back next week for steak
You heard that right, the steaks will be showing up next Monday! Or maybe it will be chicken again. No one knows.