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our daily bread

Recently we decided to try a wheat free diet in hopes that it would solve a multitude of low-grade health issues within our lives.  It was fine; a wee bit expensive, but fine.  Gluten free all purpose flour with added xanthan gum worked like magic in most of my tried and true recipes like cookies, tea biscuits, and pizza dough.  I liked how if pushed me further into making more of our food from scratch and kept us out of the processed foods we can tend to fall back on.

All that being said, neither of us noticed any great changes and I mourned that I would never eat homemade bread again.  There is just something so womanly and anciently delightful about making your own bread.  The smell must be embedded in our genes as I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t swoon at the scent of yeast and sweetness.  It makes me think of my Gramma’s hands, shiny with butter, kneading dough and tearing little bits off for me to eat.  Like hanging clothes to dry on the line or the heat of a woodstove, there is something so deliciously comforting about bread and all that it requires from you and generously gives back.

Now, I love and respect a good loaf of bread, but until recently I had been incapable of making one.  I can make a mean sweet dough for dinner rolls, but all of my attempts have resulted in dense, under-cooked bricks of blech.  A couple of weeks ago, I was able to get some pointers from a dear friend as I watched her make her own bread.  The next day I did as she had done and what do you know, I had made a decent, fully cooked loaf of bread!  Last night I tried another recipe and it turned out even nicer; still not perfect, but good.

Two of the most valuable things I learned was 1.) to use my beloved KitchenAid mixer {named Gretel} and leave it mixing for way longer than I would have thought and 2.) use a meat thermometer poked through the bottom when I am tempted to take it out to ensure the core temperature is at least 200 degrees.  If not put it back in.

I will persevere + perfect.

Bread changes with the seasons and temperatures; it reacts to humidity and even the slightest jar; it absorbs moods and tensions; and like the rings of a tree, tells a story.  Every loaf must contain the love of a good woman {or man} to be worth eating.

Basic Bread Recipe from Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin

2 cups milk

3 tbsp butter (divided)

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

2 packages of dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

6-6 1/4 cups flour (I used white, but will be playing with spelt and others in the future)

1.) Heat milk.  Stir in 1 tbsp of butter plus sugar and salt.  Stir until dissolved.

2.) Stir yeast into warm water in main mixer bowl.  Let proof for 5 minutes.

3.) Add milk mixture to yeast mixture.  Beat in flour 1 cup at a time.

(here it says to turn out and knead by hand, but I just left the mixer going until it looked smooth and elastic)

4.) Place in a greased bowl and turn so its greased on on all sides.  Cover.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

5.) Punch down and knead once more breifly.

6.) Divide and shape into two loaves.  Place in two well-greased loaf pans.  Cover.  Let rise once more.

7.) Preheat oven to 400*F.

8.) When loaves have doubled in size, slash tops two or three places.  Melt remaining butter and brush half of it onto the loaves.

(I skipped the above step)

9.) Bake for 40 minutes (use the meat thermometer if you’re unsure/inexperienced).  When done brush with remaining butter

10.) remove from pans and let cool on a rack.

{Makes two large loaves}

go gently + be wonderful

e.

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Triple Squash Soup

7 cups Roasted Squash (I used butternut, pepper, and buttercup squash)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion Chopped

4 Cloves of Garlic Chopped

1-2 Tbsp Pepper Medley (I used a steakhouse and garlic blend)

5 cups Organic Chicken Stock

Optional {but highly recommended}:  Tzatziki Dip for garnish

Roast squash until scoopable and set aside to cool.

Heat oil and cook onion, garlic, and spices for about 5 minutes.

Scoop out flesh of the squash and mix.

Add broth and bring to a boil.

 Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.

Serve in a pretty bowl and garnish with ½ tbsp of Tzatziki if desired.

 

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Basic Farmhouse Crackers

{as seen in Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine}

1 ½ cups Flour

1 ½ tsp Cream of Tartar

¾ tsp Sea Salt

¾ tsp Baking Soda

¼ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Water

1 egg

2 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup Sesame Seeds {I didn’t have any so skipped these}

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first four ingredients together.

Add oil and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add any spices or flavouring you wish at this point {I added rosemary and parmesan cheese to one batch and garlic powder and oregano to another} or leave plain if you desire.

Add water and stir until dough forms.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, egg and sugar.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out very thin.

Brush with egg mixture.

Cut  into desired shapes and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness and size.

Allow to cool on cooling rack and serve.

 

 

e.

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