Today’s tip/recipe for a healthy homemade lunch is to make wholesome grilled cheese sandwiches! This is my new favorite lunch. I take slices of my homemade sourdough bread. If I am just making the lunch for me, I melt some butter in a pan. While it’s melting, I toast the bread, butter it, and put slices of cheese on a slice, then cover it with another slice, and then fry the sandwich on one side of the buttered pan and then the other.
If you are making these for a crowd, spread the slices out on pan, butter, put cheese on each slice, making them open-faced, and then melt in an oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
It’s easy to learn to make your own bread! I have to admit, when I used to think of making bread, I would think of my mom or my mother-in-law, devoting the whole afternoon to making 6 to 8 loaves at once for their burgeoning families. My mom’s bread tasted good but it was too crumbly to use for sandwiches.
This sourdough bread slices up beautifully for sandwiches, and best of all, even though it’s whole wheat, the phytic acid of the whole grain is neutralized. Phytic acid binds up minerals and makes grain indigestible. It’s God’s way; of preserving seeds and grains until they are ready to be planted in the ground or digested by a non-human creature. The healthiest bread sours or soaks the grain so that the grain in the bread has reduced phytic acid.If you don’t soak or sour your whole grain bread and eat a lot of it, you can have tooth decay, allergies, food sensitivities, digestion problems, and osteoporosis.
Soaking or souring the bread is not as hard as you might think! You will not be in your kitchen all day! I don’t have a Bosch mixer, and I don’t like to get my hands all floury from kneading bread. So I use a breadmachine and then I don’t have to touch the dough. You can find a used breadmachine at a thrift store for $5 or less.
Here is my recipe for sourdough bread machine bread, adapted from the book The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast by Melissa Richardson and Caleb Warnock:
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from Breadmachine
Melt 2 T butter, put in the loaf pan
Add 1 3/4 c water
Add 2 T honey
Add 3/4 c sourdough start *
Then add the dry ingredients:
3 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
Mix up the ingredients a little with a rubber scraper. Put in your breadmachine and choose the longest setting for whole wheat bread. Feed your start. If you have about 1 cup of starter left in your jar, feed your start with 1/2 cup flour (heaping) and 1/2 cup water (scant). Now you will have more starter ready the next time you want to make bread! When the breadmachine beeps, try not to devour your brand new loaf, smothered with honey butter, when it comes out.
*Get the above book for all the details on creating a sourdough start. It’s basically 1/4 cup heaping (rounded) on the top of flour and then a scant 1/4 c water. Combine in a glass jar and mix with a rubber scraper until well mixed. You want it to be the consistency of cookie dough, not cake batter. After you see little bubbles all the way through, the start is ready to use. Check Melissa’s blog here for more pointers.
Here is what the starter looks like when it is ready:
As far as sandwich ideas, here are some ideas for spreads and toppings beyond PB & J:
thinly slicked cucumbers
thinly sliced tomatoes
homemade deli meats, see recipe for sliced roast beef here
sliced chicken breast
thinly sliced red onion
pickles that have been blotted dry so they don’t make the sandwich soggy