Cheese on toast: It’s a science

Scientists have discovered a winning formula for Welsh rarebit.

Researchers from the Royal Society of Chemistry, together with the British Cheese Board, have burned through countless loaves of bread and blocks of cheese to come up with the perfect way to make the humble dish.

The ultimate cheese on toast dish, they say, requires 50g of sliced hard cheese, placed on top of 10mm thick white bread. This is then grilled for 4 minutes, at a temperature of 115oC, with the cheese on toast exactly 18cm away from the grill.

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*thickness of the bread; equivalent to medium sliced **equivalent to grill on a medium heat

"We performed a series of scientific tests on the grilling conditions," explained Ruth Neale, Science Executive at the Royal Society of Chemistry. "Changing just one condition at a time, we looked at how the distance from the grill, the time under the grill and the type and preparation of the cheese affected the consistency of the temperature across the whole slice, as well as the taste and the texture."

Winning cheese on toast recipe

Researchers came up with the formula after sifting through the best of 120 cheese on toast dishes submitted by foodies all over the country. Their favourite recipe, created by British cheese enthusiast Steve Tickle, is a concoction of Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese, mustard, spring onions and bacon, finished off with fresh mint and slices of Braeburn apple.

Ingredients (serves up to four people):

  • 225g Wensleydale cheese (to note, other crumbly cheeses such as Cheshire, Lancashire or Caerphilly cheese would work just as well for this recipe)
  • 4 rashers unsmoked back bacon
  • 4 small spring onions
  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 1 teaspoon Colemans English Mustard
  • Grating of Sussex Charmer, or a British Mature Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves or half a thinly sliced Braeburn apple to garnish (optional)


  • Place crumbled cheese and 1 teaspoon of English Mustard in a non stick pan over a very low heat - the longer you render it the better the taste.
  • Meanwhile, microwave (3-4 mins. 800 watt. on a piece of kitchen towel) or grill bacon, then cut into 1 inch squares (keep stirring the cheese so that it does not burn or stick).
  • Add chopped spring onions to melted cheese together with chopped bacon and mix. Place the above on the hot toast, put under the grill for 30 seconds and then serve on a hot plate and enjoy.
  • Garnish with mint leaves or sliced Braeburn apple


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