Best panini press cleaning techniques Jul 16, 2016 yumme Tips 0 The idea of having a panini press in the home is an attractive one when you consider all the great tasting, freshly grilled sandwiches that you can make. The problem is that thoughts of reducing our expensive cafe trips and experimenting with new fillings tend to overshadow some of the realities of owning panini sandwich presses. We never see the clean-up operation in the cafe, so we tend to forget that even the best panini press requires a little maintenance. Some panini press reviews will tell you that it is really easy to clean your new appliance and that you will have the job done in a matter of minutes. These are usually the people that are very careful not to overfill their sandwiches, are not fans of grilled cheese or that have the commitment to clean the machine out every single time. Cleaning even the best panini maker can require more than a little elbow grease at times but there many cleaning methods that can work. How should you clean your panini maker? The answer to this question can often depend on the type of machine that you are using, so always pay close attention to panini grill reviews and specs to understand how a machine works. The style and shapes of plates can vary between machines – some are helpful enough to offer a simple, flat cooking area with a non-stick coating and removable parts. Others are less helpful and use ridged parts that cannot be removed. The grooves in the ridged plates make the job much more difficult, especially if the plate can’t be removed to be soaked in soapy water. Be aware that the best panini press will have a non-stick surface for better performance, but you don’t want to ruin it by scrubbing it all away in a moment of rage at a piece of cheese. So how hard to you need to work? Some of the best panini press consumer reports will talk about a quick scrub with a wet sponge, but if only it were always that simple. It can be far too tempting to attack stubborn stains and grime with a scrubbing pad or even a sharp implement, but this can damage the plates. You should be careful not to go for anything stronger than bicarbonate of soda. Some don’t scrub at all and merely suggest getting a damp paper towel, placing it in machine for a minute or two and letting the steam do the job. When it comes to choosing your tools, large grill brushes and sponges just aren’t designed to get into the small crevices of these plates so something smaller and more precise is needed. There are some brushes that are made for cleaning panini grills that can make it easier to clean ridges, like the OXO Good Grips Electric Grill and Panini Press Brush. Some suggest scaling things down to an old toothbrush but there are a number of panini maker reviews where buyers have seen great results by combining a piece of cloth and a chopstick. The length and width of the stick means it is perfect for running between the ridges and dislodging dirt and the wood is soft enough not to do any damage. This may require a little more patience, but the end results can be worthwhile and it prevents against a build up of difficult, unhygienic grease and food. But isn’t prevention always better than the cure? This is true, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Some panini press reviews advocate a little oil to stop the food from sticking – and some manufacturers actually endorse this for a better cooking process – but this can build up. Others prefer to simply place an aluminum foil layer between the food and grill to catch the grease, but there are concerns that even the best panini maker will lose some of its effectiveness with this barrier in place. Then there are those that suggest simply reducing the amount of food and cheese that could mess up the machine by filling the panini more effectively, but this no fun for all of us that like to see the cheese oozing out the side of a well stuffed sandwich. Understand the best method for your chosen machine. No matter how much you try and prevent it, there is always going to be some dirt and grime to deal with on the best panini makers. The ideal approach is to always clean as you go – wiping off crumbs and grease after each sandwich to avoid a build-up – and to buy the best panini grill that helps with the process. Simply put, if you hate the idea of digging out congealed cheese with a chopstick, don’t get one with a non-removable ridged plate.