Thursday, December 27, 2012

A new step

My Grandmother taught me to make bread when I was about 10, or maybe 8.  So I have been baking bread for almost 50 yrs.
Back in the 80's & 90's, when all the kids were home, I baked 8~ 1.5lb loaves of bread a week, or 6 loaves and 2doz hamburger buns.  Did it all by hand too until the mid to late 80's when I got a KitchenAid mixer.  Wow, was that a big help.

Now with only the 2 of us at home, I bake a couple loaves a week in the bread machine.  It does an o.k. job and I have tweaked the recipe I use.

The pans I used were the long pan size, 12.5"X4.5" that hold 1.5lbs of bread.

My bread recipe has always been evolving.  I am constantly adding various different flours.  I use Dakota Maid Bread Flour milled by our North Dakota State Mill & Elevator in Grand Forks ND. (and aside....We are the only state in the US with our own state owned business and our own state owned bank, going back to the 1930's depression days).  It is very good bread flour and you can purchase it here

I also add whole wheat flour made from hard white wheat instead of the more common hard red.  It has a softer flavor.  My husband dislikes whole wheat bread because of the strong flavor, but has no complaint about my using some white whole wheat in my bread.  The flour is milled at Horizon milling in the town of Fairmont ND just down the road about 30 miles from me.  It is available in my local grocery store, but I can not find an online source for it.  You can find other White Whole Wheat flour at King Arthur Flour or at Bob's Red Mill and likely other places as well.

I have also added specialty flours, Amaranth, Quinoa, Kamut, Spelt, Teff, Triticale, Potato, and some others. some worked better then others, some not so much. You can find specialty flours at both of the companies above.  Right now I am using both the Ancient Grains mix and the 9 grain flour from King Arthur Flour.  Not at the same time, but trying the different mixes in about a 1-3 proportion to the regular bread flour. So a 4 C flour mix would be 2 C bread flour, 1 C white whole wheat & 1C grain mix flour, with a couple Tbsp's of Potato that I always add because Potato helps to hold moisture so the bread doesn't dry out so quickly.

Another thing I use is Bakers Dry Milk from KAF.  It has been specially processed to kill the enzyme in milk that interferes with yeast. That is why you should always scald milk before using it in your bread.  By using the Bakers Dry milk you don't have to scald the milk, and wait for it to cool.

Why all this buildup?  Because I have decided to embark on a new adventure, Sourdough.

The entire experience that I have had with starters is the Friendship bread you might have received from a so-called friend at some point in time.  That was not a good experience, I didn't have enough neighbors to be constantly giving starter or bread away, nor did I like throwing away the excess starter, though the chickens did enjoy it,  and we could only eat so much of that quick bread.

I received my Sourdough starter today, ordered it from KAF

It has been fed and is sitting and working as we speak. Hopefully it will be ready to be fed again tomorrow morning. 

Oh, do you want to know my recipe?
C = Cup
T = Tablespoon
tsp = Teaspoon
This makes 2 loaves in the long pans, or 2 doz hamburger buns.
1/4C  butter
1/4C  sugar
2 1/4tsp salt
2C boiling water poured over the above, stir to melt the butter, and dissolve the sugar and salt, let cool to lukewarm
1/4 C dry milk
1 1/2T yeast
6C flour +/- depending on your weather
mix, knead, let rise, punch down and shape loaves, let rise, bake at 375 for 35 min or until instant read thermometer registers 190 degrees.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

My wishes for you

May the Blessings of this season rain down upon you and your family, filling your life with Joy, Love and Peace.

Adoration of the Shepherds, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1650-5

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

The national PTA is looking for snowflakes to decorate the Sandy Hook school for the children when they get back to school sometime in January.

Here is the link to the info 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tatting, Palmetto Tatters, and Taco Johns

Our local radio station has run a morning trivia contest at 6:40 am for the past 2+ yrs so far every question has been answered but some have taken a while for someone to come up with the correct answer. Many winners have admitted to googling the answers to the questions. 
The prize is always breakfast at a local restaurant or tickets to a local event. 
I have never called in before because we live 30 miles west of the town.
This mornings question was.... "What is the Palmetto State?"
I knew that one. 
I waited and there was several long pauses the dj's had to fill and only 2 callers tried.  I called in and said " South Carolina"  the dj asked if I had googled it and I stated, "No, I have been there, to the Palmetto Tatters group"  he asked, "What's that?",  and I explained.  He was interested, so I got Tatting on the radio this a.m.

I will be interested to see what constitutes breakfast at Taco Johns.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Catching back up

Just a note to my tatting and other friends.
We are back from our trip and I am now trying to catch back up.

I did get a bit of tatting done on the drive but it was Christmas presents, so can't show anything yet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Before & after

Last Saturday I showed you a picture of the pots of tomatoes I had set on the stove to cook down.

I figured that was about 40 quarts of cut up tomatoes cooking to soften the skins and pulp.  After a few hours, I was able to put all of them through the sieve.

I should have taken pictures of the pots of tomato pulp and juice simmering on the stove but I didn't.  I wasn't able to do all the cooking down in one session so it took longer to get to the point of canning then I would have liked.

Last evening (Tuesday) I decided it was time to get them canned.
I used quart jars this time instead of the pints from the last batch a week ago, but it still took 3 batches through the pressure canner. 

Here is what I ended up with.
20 quarts of tomato sauce.

There are still some tomatoes ripening in the basement, but no where near as many as I have already canned.  They will soon be all done I hope.

new news about our grandson... things are looking up.  some more doctors get to poke and prod tomorrow, but he may be able to go home yet this weekend.  All of your prayers, and good thoughts have been a big help. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

news and prayers please

Last Friday, our newest grandson was born.  His name is Scot.  Saturday night he was transfered to the nearest large hospital with a NICU.
He has some issues with his breathing. 
Please pray that the doctors can figure out just how to fix the problem.

Thank you.

In the meantime I am still tatting snowflakes, and tonight I am canning tomato sauce.  I have gotten 14 qrts of sauce through the canner, and will start the 3rd batch now.

oh, Scot makes 11 grandchildren for us, 6 girls and 5 boys

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This weekend's project(s)

Remember all the tomatoes from the Hoop House?
 All those green ones we picked are starting to ripen. Of course some were bruised or damaged in some way and ended up getting fed to the cows, but last weekend, I started with about 30 qrts of cut up tomatoes and canned 20 pints of sauce and froze another 2 qrts.

Project 1
This weekend, my stove looks like this
The pot on the lower left is a 12 qrt stainless steel stock pot.  The one behind it is a 16qrt and the one on the right is either an 18 or 20 qrt. 

Once the tomatoes have cooked enough so that the skins let loose, I will run them through the sieve and then start cooking them down to sauce. It will take a few days because I can't let them cook while I am at work, but by tuesday eve, I should be able to can the sauce.  Although it might take until wednesday, because we have been invited to the neighbors to watch the football game tomorrow.  Can't leave the stove on when I am not at home.  The pots of tomatoes will go out in the garage when they are not cooking.  The temp outside is below 40 during the day and below freezing at night, so it is just like putting the pots in the fridge.

The tomato sauce I canned this past week was just tomatoes, I put in the recommended amount of citric acid, but did not add any salt or spices.  If anyone has a favorite tomato sauce recipe, I would be interested. 


Gotta to stir the pots. 

Project 2
While at the neighbors tomorrow, I will continue tatting lessons for their 9 yr old daughter.  She has been practicing her chains all week.   Yeah! another tatter.