Friday, January 28, 2011

100 year old Mountain White Bread recipe

Yesterdays  bread making was an astounding success.  Mountain White Bread made with honey and butter.   Be prepared though , The  aroma will linger and make you crazy.  The whole house still smelled like fresh baked bread when I got up this morning.  It is also the most sliceable bread I have ever made.  It is yeasty  and tangy,  buttery and slightly sweet.  I brushed a small amount of milk on the dough right before I put it in the oven so the crust is  flaky but not too chewy.

Mountain White Bread
You will need:

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon  salt  (if you use salted butter I would cut it down to 3/4 tablespoon salt)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (around 105 degrees)
5 1/2 to 6 cups  all purpose flour

1. Mix your active dry yeast, sugar and water together in the large bowl you intend to make the bread in, stir gently and set aside to proof. In 10 minutes if your yeast mix is foamy then you are good to go.
2. In a separate bowl mix your  honey, butter (melt your butter first), salt ,milk and 1 cup of your flour
3. When your yeast mix is foamy add the milk and butter mixture to it . If you are doing it by hand, whisk it together.  If you are using a mixer,  I recommend a  low setting.
4. Add the rest of your flour to the mixture slowly, 1 cup at a time.
This bread requires a great deal of kneading, so once you have a nice smooth dough continue kneading for  another 5 or 6 minutes.
5. Put dough in  large, lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap or a wet clean towel  and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2  to 2 hours.
6. When dough has risen to double in  size, remove from bowl and knead for about 5 more minutes.
7 . Split dough in half , shape into  loaves and place in oiled bread pans.
8. Make a 1/4  inch slit down middle of  dough and put in warm place to rise for  about 45 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 375
10. Place on middle rack and bake for 45 minutes  or until bread is golden brown.  (mine was done in 30 minutes so keep an eye on it.)

Here are  some pretty pictures, I wanted you to be able to see the texture!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spunky Haitian Farmers, GM tomatoes, Garden planning, Evil Monsanto, Afraid of food

Top of the news today....Gutsy move today by those spunky Haitian farmers. They all showed up to get their gift of 400 tons of seeds donated to them by Monsanto....... Then promptly burned them all!  Story here 
It does my heart good to see someone  say no to genetically modified,  chemically tainted food.   I mean...Do you know how bad something has to be for starving people to say "I'm not gonna eat that!"?
Jimmy and I have been opting (since we started our little suburban  farm) to stay away from the giant, nothingcankillthemtheygrowinthedark  gm  tomatoes and other vegetables.  We are afraid of food that bugs wont eat.
In the PNW if you want early or late veggies the answer is cold frames.  Last year's cold framing worked so well on our 8x8 bed that we are putting one over each bed  this year. 
It was warm enough this week that we did a little gardening prep... turning over the soil and such. It made the girls very happy  getting to dig around in the freshly loosened soil for  yummy bugs and worms that might be hanging out in there.
After all the chaos of the last three weeks I found  a new reason to garden.  It is very grounding. No pun intended.  After a day of puttering around in the yard, getting muddy and dirty and cleaning the chicken coop, I felt like life was normal again.
Jimmy and I will be spending the next few weeks planning this years  garden.   We rotate our beds every year.We have 10 beds all together. 2 are dedicated to perennial  medicinals.  So, 8 beds to coordinate with  sun exposure,companion planting and  soil compatibility.  Its sounds easier than it is.  We didn't quite hit the mark last year and our potatoes and cucumbers were a fail.   We still have  brussel sprouts though. While I love brussel sprouts......I am sick of them. We will plant less of them this year. And we will plant twice as many winter squashes. Still haven't figured out where to plant the beets though.