Five days a week for the last 15 years, my husband has packed a turkey sandwich for lunch. Since I work from home, I have assumed the responsibility of the turkey sandwich. I admired the sandwich I managed to make this morning despite my fatigue (on account of a mockingbird that began its elaborate song at 5AM).
A pound of turkey has a water footprint of 287 gallons, or 57 gallons per sandwich (1/5 pound). According to The Green Blue Book, turkey has the lowest water footprint of the most common meats.
I purchase the turkey at the deli counter of our local grocery store to minimizes packaging. The lettuce is from the local farmer’s market, grown at a farm located 15 miles from my house. The cheese is purchased from the Spring Hill Jersey Cheese vendor at the farmer’s market. They raise their cows on a grassy patch of land in Petaluma, California. The bread is my own.
It is the bread that inspires my husband to call me during his lunch hour with gushing gratitude. My husband has learned that decreasing our food water footprint is tasty.
If you can find turkey that is free-range, defined as a turkey that freely roams outdoors, it reduces the blue water footprint even further than the conventionally raised deli counter meat. I still search for a local free-range turkey producer.
The flavor of my turkey sandwich is all in the bread. I am passing along my favorite wheat bread recipe. I freeze the extra loaves, so I only need to make fresh bread every other week.
Whole Wheat Bread
Makes three loaves
3 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons
2/3 cup organic honey
5 cups bread flour or organic all-purpose unbleached flour
2 big tablespoons of flax seed or more
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
5 tablespoons butter, melted
I know the price of organic flour is considerably higher than conventional flour. When you purchase organic, you support farms who do not use synthetic fertilizers and chemicals that ultimately makes its way to fresh water sources. I think of it as my Clean Water Act tucked in a flour bag.
In a big bowl, mix water, yeast, and 1/3 of the honey (you will use the rest of the honey later).
Add the bread flour or all-purpose flour into the bowl and stir. Let set for 30 minutes or until the top forms big bubbles.
Once the flour mix is ready add 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey,whole ground flax seed and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour your working surface and take the dough out from the bowl and begin to knead (my favorite part). Continue to add flour little by little until the dough is no longer sticky. This part of the recipe is not exact you will know how much flour is enough by the feel of the dough.
Grease a bowl. Place the dough inside and turn in the bowl to coat. Cover the dough with a dry dish towel and place in a warm place and let it rise until it is double it’s original size.
Punch the dough down (my second favorite part) and divide into three equal loaves. Place each loaf inside a greased 9×5 loaf pan and let rise a second time until the dough is about an inch higher than the pan. If you do not have a loaf pan you can hand form the loaves into baguettes and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes. I tap the top of bread with a wooden spoon to check if the bread is done. It should sound hollow. Once done, remove from the oven immediately and lightly brush the 3 loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter. The butter prevents the crust from getting hard. Try to let it cool completely before serving…impossible at our house.