How To Make A Reuben Sandwich
I know that anyone can make a Reuben Sandwich, but I had to be different.  I have decided to make a Reuben Sandwich from scratch.

The basics of a Reuben Sandwich are Rye Bread, Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese and Russian Dressing. To make this from scratch I will have to make each part from scratch. Currently this project is not finished.  I hope to update this page as it develops.


Sauerkraut is very simple to make with the right tools. Instead of the traditional earthenware crock, I have decided to use a device called the Perfect Pickler.


6 pounds of cabbage
2 tablespoons sea salt

Remove the cores from the cabbage. Then you thinly slice the cabbage into strips. Mix with the sea salt in a large bowl. Then knead it (or mash it) until it is soft. Place a plate on the mixture with a weight on the plate (I use a one gallon jug of water). Then cover it with a towel and let it sit for a day. Knead the cabbage again, and hard pack the now wet cabbage mixture into the clean Perfect Pickler. Then put the 'follower' into the device, and put the lid on it. Add water to the included bubble air-lock and put the air lock on the lid. Place the Perfect Pickler in the same bowl and let it sit. Usually the container will overflow with liquid in a day. Just open it up and clear out the excess liquid. Make sure to clean and replace the bubble air-lock. Within about four to five days the cabbage has turned into sauerkraut. The bubble air-lock can be replaced with an included insert, so the container can be easily refrigerated.

I commonly make sauerkraut now and have incorporated it into my regular diet. It is much better tasting than canned. Also it is low in calories and loaded with nutrients.

Rye Bread
This recipe was taken from this website. It is a very simple sourdough rye bread.

1000 grams whole rye flour
16 grams of salt

Make Sourdough Starter:
Mix 60 grams of rye flour with 85 grams of water and leave it covered with a towel for one or two days, stirring once or twice. Keep temperature at 25 C (77 F) until bubbles appear at the surface and it smells a bit sour.

Build Up The Sourdough Volume:
First - Mix 30 grams of Starter with 50 grams of rye flour with 55 grams of water. Place in a jar. Sprinkle extra flour on it. Cover with a towel for about 6 hours at a temperature of 25 C (77 F).
Second - Add 150 grams of rye flour and 90 grams of water and mix. Sprinkle flour on it again and leave covered for about 14 hours at 20 C (68 F).
Third - Add 300 grams of rye flour and 320 grams of water and mix. Sprinkle flour on it. Leave it covered for about 4 hours at 28 C (82 F). Expect the dough to rise to about twice its volume.

Making The Bread:
Place 400 grams of rye flour into a bowl. Add the sourdough, 285 grams of warm water and 16 grams of salt. Knead well for 10 minutes. Then cover the dough for 30 minutes at 27 C (81 F). Coat a baking pan and a kneading work surface with rye flour. With flour covered hands knead the dough, then place the dough in the baking pan, with any seams at the bottom. Allow to rise for one hour at 27 C (81 F). Preheat the oven to 240 C (465 F). Place an oven-safe bowl filled with water at the bottom of the oven. Bake bread for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 160 C (320 F) and continue baking for 70 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Store in a dry place.

I commonly make a wheat bread, but have not made a rye bread yet.  I have started making the Starter.

Swiss Cheese
The recipe for Swiss Cheese is from the book Home Cheese Making from New England Cheesemaking Supplies. I recommend that you use this book and supplies from NECS. It is good to practice on easier cheeses first.

2 gallons whole milk
1 packet thermophilic starter culture
1 teaspoon Propionic Shermanii powder
1/4 rennet tablet
1/4 cup unchlorinated water
2 pounds cheese salt
pinch of sea salt
1 gallon of water

Using sterilized equipment, heat the milk to 90 F with a double boiler, add the starter and mix. Remove 1/4 cup of milk and add the Propionic Shermanii to properly dissolve it. Add this mixture back to the milk and mix. Cover and allow the culture to develop for 10 minutes, keeping the temperature at 90 F. Thoroughly mix the rennet with 1/4 cup water to dissolve. Add this dissolved mixture to the milk and stir well for a whole minute. Cover and maintain temperature of 90 F for 30 minutes. Use a curd knife and stainless-steel whisk to cut the curd into 1/4 inch cubes. Keep the curd temperature at 90 F while gently stirring the curds for 40 minutes to help extract the whey. Then heat the curds by one degree every minute until it is 120 F. Keep it at 120 F for 30 minutes, while stirring. Once the curds break apart into individual particles when rubbed between your palms they are done being cooked. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Line a 2 pound cheese mold with cheesecloth and place it in a large pot. Quickly ladle the curds into the mold and immediately press with 8 to 10 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes. Then redress and flip the cheese in the mold. Press at 14 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes. Redress and flip again. Press a third time at 14 pounds for 2 hours. Redress and flip again. Press a fourth time at 15 pounds of pressure for 12 hours. Make a brine solution with the cheese salt and gallon of water in a noncorrosive pot. Stir it well. Take the cheese out of the cheesecloth and soak it in the brine solution. Place extra salt on the top of the cheese which is not submerged. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove the cheese and pat dry. Place the cheese on a cheese board at 50 to 55 F and 85% humidity. Flip the cheese every day for a week, making sure to wipe it with a cheesecloth dampened with salt water. Do not wet the cheese. Then place the cheese in a humid room at 68 to 74 F. Turn it daily and wipe it with cheesecloth dampened with salt water. Do not wet the cheese. Continue for two to three weeks, until the cheese begins to swell and become rounded. It is at this point that the Propionic Shermanii is forming the eyes in the cheese. Then age the cheese at 45 F and 80% humidity for 3 months or more. Turn the cheese several times a week. Remove any surface mold with cheesecloth damped in salt water. A reddish discoloration is normal and is a part of the finished cheese.

I have made a few hard cheeses but I have yet to make the more difficult Swiss Cheese.

Corned Beef
The following recipe is from the website Recipe Cottage.

1 gallon hot water
2 cups pickling salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1.5 teaspoons of saltpeter or sodium nitrate
5 pounds beef brisket
3 cloves garlic

Mix water, salt, sugar, spices and saltpeter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir and dissolve mixture. Then allow to cool. Place the brisket in a deep enameled pot or stoneware jar (no exposed metal). Pour the brine over it. Add the garlic. Weight the meat down to keep it submerged. Cover the pot. Keep refrigerated for three weeks, turning the brisket every five days. To store, wash and dry thoroughly. Then wrap in layers of heavy paper and hang in a cool, dry place.

Making Pickling Spice:
Oh but wait, we can make pickling spice from scratch. I found two recipes from this website. Any combination of these can be used to your heart's desire.

Ingredients For Pickling Spice 1:
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon crumbled whole mace
1 teaspoon dill seeds
4 dried bay leaves
1 small piece dried ginger

Directions For
Pickling Spice 1:
Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a small, airtight jar up to two months.

Ingredients For Pickling Spice 2:
4 cinnamon sticks
1 piece dried ginger-root
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoons dill seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons whole mace, crumbled medium fine
8 bay leaves, crumbled medium fine
1 small dried hot red pepper (1 1/2 inches long), chopped or crumbled medium fine, seeds and all

Directions For Pickling Spice 2:
Wrap the cinnamon and ginger-root loosely in a piece of cloth and bash them with a hammer until well crumbled. Discard any stringy parts of the ginger, then mix with other ingredients. Store in a small, airtight jar up to 2 months.

I have not even started the corned beef.

Russian Dressing
The following recipe for Russian Dressing is from

1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste

Mix - well duh

But each part must be made from scratch. To make the mayonnaise, a recipe from the book Nourishing Traditions is used.

Ingredients For
1 whole egg at room temperature
1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon whey (optional - you get this as a result of cheesemaking)
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive or expeller-press sunflower oil or a combination thereof
a generous pinch of sea salt

Directions For Mayonnaise:
Add everything but the oil in a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds. Then add the oil while running the processor. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. If whey was used, let it sit covered for 7 hours before refrigerating.

Making Dijon Mustard:
The following recipe for Dijon mustard is from...

Making Wine:
To make the red wine vinegar, first one must make red wine. I made a 5 gallon batch of Merlot. Any recipe from the local brewing supply store will do. I used a recipe which used two 46 oz cans of concentrate. This was mixed with 11.5 cans of water, 8 cups of table sugar, 3 teaspoons of yeast nutrient, 4 teaspoons of Bentonite and 6 teaspoons of acid blend in a 5 gallon bucket. Then I mixed in one package of active dry wine wine yeast (Pasteur Red). You could use any red wine kit you like. Then I mixed it once or twice a day until fermentation started. Then I put the mixture into a glass carboy (a giant glass bottle). All of this exotic stuff is available at the brewing supply store. After a couple weeks the fermentation stops. Then I moved (siphoned) the wine to a different carboy and discarded the sediment. I could have added sodium metabisulfite to force the fermentation to end, but instead I aged it in the carboy. In about a month I moved it to a different carboy again. Then I aged it for several months to ensure that all solids were out and that all fermentation was complete. Then I bottled it. It produced 24 bottles of Merlot.

Making Red Wine Vinegar:
Turning the wine into vinegar is simple. Just take the cork out of a bottle and cover the top with two layers of cheesecloth. In a few weeks Mother of Vinegar should begin to convert it to vinegar. Adjusting the acidity level is the hard part...

Making Ketchup:
The following recipe is from

Ingredients For Ketchup:
6 large tomatoes, quatered
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup red wine vineagar
10 whole cloves
2 whole star anise pods
1 tablespoon salt

Directions For Ketchup:
Mix all of the ingredients in a large saucepan.  Reduce over low heat until mixture becomes very thick (about 4 hours).  Puree mixture in a blender and strain through a mesh strainer.  Chill and store in refrigerator.

I have made the red wine and am beginning to make the vinegar. I have made mayonnaise using store bought Dijon mustard. I used this mayonnaise to make Russian dressing with store bought red wine vinegar.