I've been cooking

And knitting and spinning and working….a lot. Let’s just go with the cooking and hopefully I’ll update with the rest another day.

Bread just out of the mixer, starting to rise
At some point in November I got the idea that I’d like to stop buying bread at the store. The family was willing to use the bread that I made and I got a manual grain grinder as well. I would love to share a bread recipe with you but the crazy fact is that I don’t use one nor do I measure. I throw some honey and yeast into warm water and let it bubble (about a half hour). Then I throw in flour. Whatever flour I want. It’s usually at least 40% white but there is a mix of whatever I grin up that day wheat berries, oats, rye, soybeans, flax…. you get the idea. I keep adding flour til the ball of flour starts to look right. I let it rise. I beat it up with the mixer again. Halve it, roll each half out, place into greased bread pans. Let it rise again and then bake it.

It’s nothing super special but it’s really basic and good. We’ve been using it for toast and sandwiches. I’ve not had complaints so it looks like it’s something that we’re going to keep up with. Eventually I may get a bread machine so it takes less time and I don’t need to be involved (Jay or the girls could plop in the ingredients and make it). I am particular about what I want and I have an expensive fancy one picked out. Some day.

In general, I really like to make most of my own foods. I love food. I don’t care for a lot of processed stuff. The processed stuff I do like, I want to make myself just because. This past week I made break time.
That is, I made chai tea concentrate and biscotti. The Biscotti I based on one from 101 Cookbooks. Here’s what I did:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup white flour
1/3 cup fresh ground flax
1/2 tspn sea salt
1 tspn baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 large organic eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup fine sliced almonds
1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chips

I am a haphazard baker. I threw it all the wet into the mixer, then all the dry on top of that (minus the nuts and chips) until it was all mixed up well. Then I dipped a spoon in and tested it. I added in the nuts and chocolate and then took another taste. I plopped it out onto a baking sheet and put into the oven at 325F. Meanwhile, I got to clean out the leftover that was in the bowl…..

I sliced up the loaf into 3/4 inch slices and put them back onto the cookie sheet flat side down. I put them back in the oven at the same temp for 15 minutes, flipped them over and put them back in for 15 and then shut the oven off, leaving them inside. They were just the right amount of dry and crunchy.

For the chai used the recipe found HERE. I decreased the amount of sugar and added more tea and spices. I will be making this again. I like the amount of spices but I think I’d add even less sugar and probably more tea. I like my chai to kick back.

And last but not least:
Cheese Crackers
I could eat so many of these. I would eat and eat til I got sick then I’d eat some more. They’re dangerously good. I started with THIS recipe and then changed it because that’s what I do. Here’s how I make mine:

2 sticks of melted butter (yes, real butter)
2 cups of finely shredded GOOD cheddar cheese
2 scant cups of flour
1 tsp Baking powder
2 big tsp of Cayenne pepper (I like the kick)

Throw it all into the mixer and let it go til it’s incorporated.
I usually break this up into 4 balls and roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Cut with my pizza slicer or my new fancy edge rolling cutter. And then I separate them. If you leave them all together, they don’t cook evenly and aren’t as good. They’re sort of messy and break funny that way (I know this for a fact) I bake them at 325F until they just start to get browning edges. My usual is to put them in for a few minutes and then turn the pan around and let them finish. your oven may cook more evenly so you may not need to turn the pan around.

I have more but I figure I don’t want to make this post ridiculously long.
Happy Eating!

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7 Responses to I've been cooking

  1. Jessica says:

    Awesome!! I must try the cheese crackers! We are also trying to make more things at home, and the current quest is for just perfect rye bread. I am getting pretty close!

  2. Lynn says:

    Will you adopt me?

  3. Scott says:

    That cracker recipe sounds spectacular. I wonder if they would come out ok with whole wheat flour. Mindy’s pancreas doesn’t allow any white flour at all. :(

  4. Milly says:

    I love to bake bread, so far this winter I haven’t found the time. I bet your kitchen smells heavenly.

  5. Ezara says:

    The cheese cracker recipe is awesome! They go great with the blackbean soup I made. It is such a shame that Samuel is allergic to dairy and cannot have any. I’ll just have to eat his. Bummer. :)

  6. Faith says:

    Haha, oh my, we’d be quite a pair in the kitchen! I do SOME “throw a pinch here, add a bit there”, but for the most part am pretty exacting in my measurements. You’d give me a heart-attack! The bread (and other baked goods) look like they’re coming out rather well though, so GO YOU!! You’re like a rock ‘n roll baker or something. :-)

    I’ve gotten really serious about baking ALL of our bread too in the past year, and I love being able to nourish my family in this way. Also, there’s just NOTHING like having the house filled with the smell of homemade bread.

  7. tiffaney says:

    I have a bread-maker and yet, I buy bread from the store. I hate buying bread from the store! You’ve inspired me to finally tackle this project.

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