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Quotes

  • Actual happiness looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand. - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Education
    "Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the stars and the mountains above. Let them look at the waters and the trees and flowers on Earth. Then they will begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education." -David Polis
  • "Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it... but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one becomes to feeling ill... Thus if one just keeps walking, everything will be all right." -Soren Kierckgaard
  • Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus
  • How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard

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March 01, 2010

Comments

Hip Mountain Mama

Wow, sounds like you did great in Feb. All those yummy foods!! I have a little eating out vice myself and find it hard to give up my couple times a month out at a restaurant...we Mamas need a break some times!
This time of year is so exciting as we get ready to start growing our own! Enjoy it!!

6512 and growing

That winter CSA is impressive! What a treat. I found you from One Small Change. We're doing something similar at our little house in the Southwest.

Aunt Suz

you are such an inspiration! Can I just come live with you always to eat locally and healthy?? Your bread looks delicious.

Michelle

Thanks Suzy!  You are right, we do need a break sometimes!

Michelle

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for commenting!  I am really enjoying this challenge.  Cant wait to read what you are up to.

Michelle

Sure Suz, at least we have two bedrooms now!  But, will Ruby be moving back in?  Im not so sure about that!  The bread is delicious so easy.

Deb

Michelle! I love this! I recently found out that we can get a local CSA, even through part of the winter, pretty good for Alaska! I guess they have greenhouses... Would you mind posting the bread recipe?? or just e-mail it to me. I really think I would love that. I do something similar, but it only gives me 2 days of bread and we could use more. I am always thinking, too late in the day, that I should have done bread! Your bread photo is just beautiful!

Michelle

Thanks Deb!  I think it is fantastic that Alaska has a winter CSA option, you should join, youll love it!  It really gives you different eating experience - you base your menu on what shows up in your box and often I end up trying things I never would have otherwise.

Here is the bread recipe:

The Master Recipe: Whole Grain Artisan Loaf
Follow the instructions below to make enough dough for at least four 1-pound loaves. The recipe can easily be doubled or halved.
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
4 cups lukewarm water (Note: You can add a teaspoon of dried herbs to the water for herb-flavored breads.)
Cornmeal or parchment paper
1 to 2 tbsp whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top of the crust:
sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy and/or anise (optional)
1. Measure the dry ingredients. Use dry-ingredient
measuring cups (avoid 2 cup measures, which compress the flour) to
gently scoop up flour, then sweep the top level with a knife or
spatula. Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten
in a 5-quart bowl, or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not
airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Lidded (or even
vented) plastic buckets designed for dough storage are readily
available.2. Mix with water — kneading is unnecessary.
Heat the water to slightly warmer than body temperature (about 100
degrees Fahrenheit). Add to the dry ingredients and mix without
kneading, using a spoon, food processor (with dough attachment), or
heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You may need to get your hands
wet to get the flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine.
Don’t knead! It isn’t necessary.You’re finished when everything
is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter
of minutes, and yields a wet dough that remains loose enough to conform
to the shape of its container.3. Allow to rise.
Cover with a lid (not airtight) or cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to
collapse (or at least flatten on top), which will take about 2 hours.
Longer rising times — even overnight — will not change the result.
Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with
than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method,
it’s best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours)
before shaping a loaf.After it’s been refrigerated, the dough
will seem to have shrunk back upon itself. It will never rise again in
the bucket, which is normal for our dough. Whatever you do, do not punch down this dough!
With our method, you’re trying to retain as much gas in the dough as
possible, and punching it down knocks gas out and will make your loaves
denser.On Baking Day4. Quickly shape a loaf.
First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal
(or lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat) to prevent your
loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Dust the
surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a
1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife or
kitchen shears. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little
more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch
the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides,
rotating a quarter-turn as you go to form a ball. Most of the dusting
flour will fall off; it’s not intended to be incorporated into the
dough. The bottom of the ball may appear to be a collection of bunched
ends, but it will flatten out during resting and baking. The correctly
shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive.The entire process should take no more than 20 to 40 seconds. If you
work the dough longer than this, it may make your loaf too dense.
5. Form a narrow, oval-shaped loaf and let it rest. Stretch the ball gently to elongate it, and taper the ends by rolling them between your palms and pinching them.
6. Allow the loaf to rest
— covered loosely with plastic wrap — on the pizza peel for 90 minutes
(40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).Alternatively,
you can allow the loaf to rest on a silicone mat or greased cookie
sheet. Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise
during this period. More rising will occur during baking.7. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven
to 450 degrees, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an
empty broiler tray for holding water on any other rack that won’t
interfere with the rising bread.8. Paint and slash.
Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top of the loaf
with a little water. Sprinkle with the seed and nut mixture. Slash the
loaf with quarter-inch-deep parallel cuts across the top, using a
serrated bread knife.9. Baking with steam.
After a 30-minute preheat, you’re ready to bake. With a quick forward
jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto
the preheated baking stone. If you used parchment paper instead of
cornmeal, it will slide onto the stone with the loaf. If you used a
silicone mat or cookie sheet, just place it on the stone. Quickly but
carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close
the door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the
crust is richly browned and firm to the touch (smaller or larger loaves
will require adjustments in resting and baking time).If you used
parchment paper, a silicone mat, or a cookie sheet under the loaf,
carefully remove it and bake the loaf directly on the stone or an oven
rack when the loaf is about two-thirds of the way through baking.When
you remove the loaf from the oven, it may audibly crackle, or “sing,”
when initially exposed to room-temperature air. Allow the bread to cool
completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack. The perfect crust may
initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.10. Store the remaining dough in your container in the refrigerator
and use it over the next couple of weeks. You’ll find that even one
day’s storage im¬proves the flavor and texture of your bread. The dough
ferments and takes on sourdough characteristics. When your bucket is
empty, don’t wash it! Mix another batch in the same container. The aged
dough stuck to the sides will give you a head start on sourdough
flavor. To take it even further, incorporate up to 2 cups of your old
dough.

Deb

Thanks Michelle! Good Lord, I hope you didn't type this all out yourself...tell me you were able to cut and paste!!

thanks, I am going to print a copy!!

Michelle

No I didn't type it - just cut & paste!

Nana

Oh my gosh Michelle, I'm so impressed with all that you do and with two little guys around. You have to start publishing in one of the Mother's magazines. It's so nice to know Silas and Levi are eating well and healthy. Maybe I will try the bread recipe, but I'm not a very good baker. It would be nice to have fresh baked bread on a regular basis. Uschi and Lee have a wonderful garden and orchard. They are able to freeze and can enough to sustain them through the winter. Uschi bakes a fresh pie or fruit tart every day.

Michelle

Thanks Marsha!  Wow, Im impressed that Uschi bakes a pie or tart everyday!  Id love to do that - I love pie, but Id probably become very large very quickly if I did!

Angela Pea

Wow! Thanks for the recipe...I'm going to give this a try.

Michelle

Youre welcome!  I forgot to mention that the first couple of batches I made didnt rise as well as I liked, the loaves were pretty slim.  So, I had adjusted the amount of gluten - I use a very heaping 1/4 cup and now it seems perfect.  This probably depends on what kind of gluten you get.  Enjoy!

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