Creating a Cultured Sandwich
The sandwich is the ubiquitous American food. Slap some protein, vegetables, and condiments inside two pieces of bread and you’ve got yourself a meal, or a good portion of one.
But the modern day sandwich, like much of our diet, is completely dead. Bread made from ill-processed wheat contains pasteurized cheese, processed meats, and over-seasoned condiments. Because of this many people steer away from enjoying sandwiches for health reasons.
Thankfully we can look back to traditionally prepared foods to find that the sandwich was once teeming with life in the form of cultured foods. In fact those two cornerstones of a good sandwich - bread and cheese - are one of the most commonly cultured foods in all of history.
So let’s throw off the industrialized, pasteurized lifeless lunch and put together a cultured sandwich, shall we?
By definition, a sandwich must contain a bread product of some sort. You could make it a tortilla, a bagel, an English muffin, or a good old country-style loaf. Whichever wrapper you choose, make your sandwich with a cultured one.
Your best bet for a more nutrient-dense fermented option is sourdough or sprouted bread (or both!). Use this basic sourdough bread using sprouted flour for the ultimate cultured sandwich bread.
Meat, Cheese, and Beans
Every sandwich needs some protein. Most people prefer some meat on their sandwich, which is generally not a cultured food product. There is, however, this corned beef option.
And then, of course, there is the cheese. This can be a tangy, pungent and yes, cultured addition to your sandwich. Be sure that your cheese actually contains cultures, whether doing so by reading a label or making your own with cultures you can purchase.
Lacto-fermented vegetables are a wonderful addition to any sandwich. The tangy, salty flavor of these cultured veggies is a lovely contrast to creamy cheese and fresh tomatoes or lettuce. Try any of the following on your sandwich:
In a lot of ways the condiment choice makes or breaks a sandwich. It can take you down a southwestern route with guacamole, an all American route with ketchup, or the childhood sandwich memory lane with mayonnaise.
Beef up your condiments by using lacto-fermented versions such as:
Putting Together Your Cultured Sandwich
Interestingly enough, many of the traditional sandwiches were made with truly cultured ingredients. It is only through the pasteurization movement that these cultured foods have become dead foods, creating dead sandwiches.
Here are a few ideas for how to put together a traditionally cultured sandwich:
Reuben. Layer corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut atop sourdough rye bread.
Patty Melt. Make the good old American hamburger with high quality beef. Top it with raw Swiss cheese, pickled onions, and/or sauerkraut. Layer it all up on buttery toasted sourdough bread.
The Sweet and Savory Cheddar and Chutney. If you’re looking for something a little different try the delicious sweet and salty combination of a sharp cheddar and cultured fruit chutney sandwich atop a whole grain sourdough.
Southwestern Wraps. Combine shredded cheddar, cultured guacamole, and the fermented bean paste listed above in a sourdough tortilla for a little Mexican food twist.
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