Friday, February 5, 2010

Artisan Breads Made Easy

The anticipation of having a slice of hot home baked bread with butter is for most of us a desire we seldom indulge in yet, it just became easier to do. You are probably thinking yeah right. Well thanks to a new book that I have just been introduced to, you to can have hot homemade bread daily. The book is "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This book is a keeper in my opinion, it is loaded with tons of recipes for different types of artisan breads. Very easy to read and understand. The basic concept is that you make a wet dough that is never kneaded and can sit in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Then when you want some bread pull out about a grapefruit size piece round it off and let sit on the counter for 40 minutes and then bake. Viola you have a wonderful dense crusty bread. The basic recipe they call their master recipe is based on 6-3-3-13. Which translates into 6 cups hot water, 3 tbs yeast, 3 tbs salt and 13 cups flour. You just mix together until flour is incorporated and then let rise on the counter for 2 hours and starts to fall then cover and refrigerate. This recipe will make approximately 8 - 1 pound loaves of bread. The other beauty is that the flavor improves as the dough ages in the refrigerator and if you can't use it fast enough you can freeze it in 1 pound packages till you need or want it. Of course the recipe can also be halved or quartered.

In addition to artisan breads we learned to braid bread. My niece, Gina, was gracious to come and teach us how to braid using her family's "Yummy White Bread" recipe. The experience was a hands on one and even though it looks easy it still takes practice. I definitely have to practice. That's why when we have a family get together she usually gets asked to bring the bread. Thanks Gina! The basics of braiding are difficult for me to explain with words and so I'll just have to leave it at that.
Here is the recipe we used for the braiding although any bread recipe you have could be used.

Yummy White Bread

In a small bowl Mix 1 tsp sugar, 2 pakages of yeast (4 1/2 tsp), 1 cup warm water

In mixer or large bowl put 5 cups flour, 4 tbsp sugar, 4 tsp salt and 1 1/3 cup powdered milk and stir. Now add 4 cups warm water, 1/4 cup oil and mix on low then add yeast mixture. Continue stirring and add 3-5 cups more flour until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Mix on low or knead by hand till smooth. Divide into 4 loaf pans and raise till double and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Our recipe for today was made by Emily and it was fantastic. It is pantry worthy and for that it receives extra points.

Baked Tuna Surprise

4 pkg Top Ramen cooked
2 cans cream of mushroom or chicken
1 1/2 cans of evaporated milk
2-3 cans tuna

Cook Ramen per package directions adding the seasoning packet. Drain off water and mix together with other ingredients and pour into 9x13 pan and cover with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Can add veggies if you desire.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yogurt Making

To my daughter who is reminding me to add my posts here is December's class that I did not get to post very timely. Blogging is new to me and I am by nature not a very prolific writer. If you get me talking that is another story but here goes my attempt at trying to catch up.

Yogurt like many other things in life seems like a mystery to most of us but in reality it is not very difficult to master. I must confess that I do like yogurt but don't seem to eat very much of it and have not made any since the class. Although it is relatively simple to do I just have not added it to my to do list. Some of the information comes from The ingredients that you need are nonfat dry milk and water or skim, 2% or whole milk and nonfat dry milk plus plain yogurt as a starter. The yogurt must contain a live culture. After you make your first batch you will always save out enough for your next batch. The first thing is to combine your liquid and dry ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Second you heat this milk with frequent stirring to just near boiling (185 degrees) and then cool quickly by plunging the pot into a sink of ice cold water to 110 degrees. Now you add your starter culture and mix well but gently trying not to incorporate too much air. Lastly but not least you pour the milk into your clean jars and cover with a lid and incubate in a warm place, one that you don't have to move the jar around. Your warm place could be in your oven or crockpot or heating pad or even an electric fry pan with water in it and keep it at 110 degrees. Some dehydraters also can be used for yogurt incubating. You need to incubate for at least 4 hours and up to 7. The longer it incubates the thicker it sets. Once done there will be a liquid on top of the yogurt. This is whey. You can pour it off or stir it in it is up to you.

Now that you know the steps here are the amounts depending on the size of the batch you want to make. The amount of liquid you use is pretty close to how much yogurt you will make.

Liquid / Nonfat Dry Milk / Yogurt

1 gal water / 8 1/3 cup / 1 cup

1 qt water / 2 cups / 1/4 cup

1 gal skim milk / 4 cups / 1 cup

1 qt skim / 1 cups / 1/4 cup

1 gal 2% Milk / 2 3/4 cups / 1 cup

1 qt 2% / 3/4 cup / 1/4 cup

1 gal whole milk / 1 3/4 cup / 1 cup

1 qt whole / 1/2 cup / 1/4 cup

When do you know if you have Enough?

If any of you have wondered how do I know if I have enough food storage, today's post is for you. I came across a wonderful post that is called "Everything under the Sun" by Wendy DeWitt. In this wonderful pdf form she has broken down for you how many cups of wheat are in a #10 can and how many teaspoons are in a container of salt etc. The beauty of this as she explains is that you can plan your menu for food storage and add up the total of all your ingredients and then know exactly how much of each item you need to acquire to have enough for the time period you have chosen. For example if you want to plan for three months and you use 14 dinners and repeat it 6 times in three months than you know that you have to store enough of the ingredients to make those recipes each 6 times. It is just one more way to be able to judge whether you have enough to last 1 week or 6 months or a year. In her post she has some recipes that she gives you and has added up the total of the ingredients needed for a years worth of the recipe. I especially liked the information that let me figure out how much would be required to have a loaf of bread a day. Knowledge is peace of mind.

Our recipe for this month comes from Brandy of website. It was surprising how easy and good this recipe is.

Chicken Fried Steak (minus the hen)

2 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup dried onions
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
2 eggs
2 tsp rubbed sage
2 tsp Lawry's Perfect Blend Chicken and Poultry Seasoning
3 tbsp oil for frying

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
3 cups milk (can use powdered milk)

Mix first six ingredient. It should be wet and stick together well. If it does not, add enough water until it does. Form into six patties and fry both sides until browned. Meanwhile, whisk soup and milk together to make gravy. Lower heat to simmer and pour gravy on patties. Flip them over to coat both sides with gravy. Cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that they don't stick or burn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November's Meeting

Today we worked on crocheting and learning to read basic patterns. It is satisfying to be able to create something with your own hands that is useful. The basic single crochet is simple and when put together in different ways creates different patterns. I personally like using cotton thread that comes on cones to do dishrags and potholders with. I served a new soup that is called Three-Bean Moroccan Stew. It was delicious and also pretty much pantry worthy.(it has fresh spinach which isn't usually on your shelf) For December we will be making yogurt and having a potluck lunch to celebrate the holidays.
Three-Bean Moroccan Stew

2 tsp olive oil
1 lg onion diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can cannellini(white beans), drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
2 14oz can chicken broth
1 cup golden raisins
1 10oz pkg baby spinach

Heat oil in pot and cook onion until soft. Stir in cumin, coriander and cinnamon.

Add all remaining ingredients except spinach, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in spinach cook 3 minutes or just until wilted. Serve with pita bread if desired.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

This post is being made two months after what I am sharing happened. A friend of mine had come across a recipe for making your own laundry soap and had been using it and thought I would be interested in it. She graciously accepted to come and demonstrate how to make it at a monthly class held at our church. I have been using the soap now for two months and I love it. I will never go back to using national brands again. The beauty of this is that I now have a year's supply of laundry soap and it takes up very little space. One of the tips shared that day was to use a "downy ball" and fill with 1/2 cup of vinegar and throw in with the wash. The vinegar will help get all the soap residue out and deodorize your clothes. I have also been using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets in the dryer. I have to say I have less lint and the static is not any worse than when I used the dryer sheets. For those of you who also like your laundry to smell flowery you can use scented oils and put a few drops on some cotton balls and throw them in with your clothes in the dryer. These two changes, making my own soap and using the dryer balls, have made a huge contribution in lessening my cleaning bill. There are many videos on YouTube with similar instructions on making laundry soap and so if my instructions seem as clear as mud feel free to look them up. I will also include a recipe for Black Bean soup that was shared that day that was pantry worthy and delicious. Enjoy!

1 Bar Fels Naptha soap
1 1/2 cups Borax
1 1/2 cups Washing soda (not baking soda)
1 5 gallon bucket with lid

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 12 cups water and heat on medium until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Pour 8 cups hot water into your 5 gallon bucket and then add the contents of the pot that you removed from the stove and stir. Now add 2 gallons plus 12 cups of water and stir. Cover and let sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. It should have an egg drop soup look. Use 1/2 cup per load or 1 cup for very large loads.

**This detergent does not bubble in the wash but it is cleaning**

Using 1/2 cup washing soda in a gallon of water is also a great presoak and stain pretreatment.

For those of you who would prefer a powder here are the instructions as seen on the website.

1 bar Fels Naptha soap
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Grate soap and put in food processor till powdered mix with borax and washing soda and store in covered container. Use 1 tablespoon for light loads and 2 tablespoons for soiled large loads. This should wash approximately 40 loads.

Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, undrained
1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
nonstick cooking spray
1 sm onion chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
4 tsp lime juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a blender or food processor blend 1 can of beans and broth until smooth. Coat lg saucepan with cooking spray and cook onion and garlic over med heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.

Add blended bean mixture to rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Church Recipes

This is an inaugural post for a monthly class that I have been presenting for the last three plus years. In this collection of recipes covering basic food items is the recipe for homemade wheat crackers that are similar to "Wheat Thins" along with a graham cracker recipe. These two recipes have always been a hit whenever I have served them. There are also many other basic recipes and ideas that are economical to make. The purpose in sharing these is to help others find ways to provide for themselves and their families in these trying times and save money in the process. Enjoy!

Here are the Jar Recipes

Here is an exciting idea, meals in a jar.The beauty of these are that they provide peace of mind by being prepared. The soups for the most part are ready in 30 minutes or less. They make wonderful gifts and are a great way to have meals put together ahead of time and ready in a jiffy. There are also wonderful desserts and treats. Many of these recipes have become a favorite of many families. These are good for you and economical too. Could it get any better?