Soft Bread Might Be Ruining Your BLT

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato are an unassuming trio, yet these ingredients come together to create an iconic sandwich beloved by many. You might focus on getting the best ripe tomatoes, savory bacon, and crisp lettuce for your BLT, but let's not forget that this is a sandwich, which means there's another (often ignored) ingredient that's vital to the whole package: the bread.

As with any sandwich, the bread you use can make or break your BLT. This sandwich is built around fillings with vastly different textures — bacon that's meant to be crispy and crunchy, and tomato that's meant to explode with juice — so it needs bread that has the strength and the structure to hold up. The best bread for a BLT is sturdy, doesn't let the fillings fall out, and doesn't turn soggy with tomato juice, and that's why soft bread might be ruining your favorite sandwich.

Soft white sandwich bread and other mild, squishy loaves simply don't have the ability to stand up to the robust fillings in a BLT. Rather than risk your sandwich falling apart as the tomato makes the bread soggy, which ruins the crisp bacon and lettuce, go for heartier, crustier bread that will keep everything in its place. You'll also want to toast the bread so it holds up even better, allowing you to experience each ingredient at its best.

The best bread to use for a BLT

For the best BLT, you know now to stay away from slices of pillowy white sandwich bread or squishy, buttery breads like brioche and milk bread. As for what you should use, you don't necessarily want to reach for bread that's overly crunchy or crusty, like a baguette. These breads can be hard to bite through and can end up squishing the tomato slices. You do want some solid structure and density to your bread, though. It's all about finding that happy medium: bread that will toast up nicely and hold up to the ingredients without being too crunchy or difficult to bite into.

Hearty country white bread or a robust sourdough loaf make great choices, especially if you want to stick to a more traditional BLT. If you want to venture outside the box a bit, try slices of sturdy whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread. Slices that are on the thicker side give the bread more integrity, with less risk of it falling apart. Whichever bread you choose, make sure to toast it just enough so it turns crisp and sturdy, the perfect vehicle to hold the sandwich together.

Ingredients that can elevate your BLT

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato is clearly a winning combo all on their own, but that doesn't mean your BLT can't be more than that. There are so many ingredients you can add to the mix to elevate your sandwich into an even tastier and more filling lunch.

One ingredient that pairs wonderfully with the rest of the sandwich is avocado. A BLT made with this addition is often called a BLAT. This fruit full of green goodness will add both freshness and richness to your sandwich, with a delectable creamy texture and a boost of nutrition. You can also turn your BLT into the perfect breakfast by adding a fried egg, or level it up with some melt-in-your-mouth seafood like lobster meat, salmon, or even soft shell crab.

You can also try replacing the mayonnaise that often dresses this sandwich. Try something more unique or flavorful, like horseradish, fig jam, or pimento cheese, or simply mix some sriracha or chili paste into your mayo to spice things up a bit. Or you could use basil in place of lettuce for a caprese-inspired BLT. For one of the easiest flavor boosts you can take advantage of, spread some butter on your bread before toasting it.