Friday, April 3, 2009

Teeny tiny baby steps

Spring is that time of year when I try to tweak my current lifestyle ,without putting myself over the edge. I look for little ways to become more self-sustaining that are doable for me. This year I was hoping to add chickens to the list but,that is not going to happen. The chicken coop needs repair,new laws are being looked in to by the department of agriculture regarding the licensing of all animals, and it would require more time than I am able to commit to. However a new season has arrived and I must make decisions as to what I will do to become more self-sustaining.For years now I have been a follower of Mary Jane.

I first saw her craft books at Barnes and Noble and just loved everything she seemed to stand for.She now has a magazine and it is there that I found my

inspiration for this season. In her Feb/March issue she talks about no-knead artisan bread made from a sourdough starter. It requires 1 minute a day and 5 on baking day to complete. This is within my time zone. I think I can squeeze the 12-15 min a week it requires of me to move toward my goal.First I had to make a "mother"as it is referred to.Mother is made of 2 cups of unbleached white organic flour and 1 1/2 cup of distilled water.Note that it has to be organic and distilled otherwise it doesn't work or changes to a grey/black mess. Every morning I have to give Mother breakfast of 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water. On the 7th day mother is sleeping and does not wish to have breakfast. So you take 2 cups away to start your bread and let her sleep in for the day. To the 2 cups you add 1/2 teas of salt and 1 tbl of honey stir in 1 1/2 cups of four and let rise 4-8 hrs.I've been doing this overnight. Mix at night cover and let rise till morning. There is no rule as to how long you can let it rise.Bake (they say 400 20 min) I had to play with this my oven was better at 375 35min. They suggest using an internal thermometer looking for a temp of 195-205. I've been working on this for a few weeks and I think every try is better and better.Then you just start all over again with feeding your "mother" and baking bread on the 7th day.Need more bread just start with a larger starter and add more to it everyday. Math is pretty simple. However this will give about 2 lbs of bread and so far this is enough for us. There are variations and I'll let you know how they work out.

My next tiny step is to cut down on paper towels.Working in a commercial kitchen,one tends to misuse this item. I decided to allow myself one roll a month.Feb. was the first month. I placed my roll on the counter and took off for work.Little did I know that the vegetable broth I was thawing on the counter was open and as the day progressed more and more broth was dripping on the counter. When I got home my husband informed me that he didn't know what was happening in the kitchen but it's a good thing that the paper towels were next to the bowl.HE COULDN'T HAVE FIXED THE PROBLEM? Instead I had a roll of paper towels that looked like a prom dress. I suffered without my towels through out the month of Feb. This is what I had left for March. I think I did pretty well. I know I shouldn't be using them at all. However I'll be the first to tell you That I'm not perfect....................said the hobbit


Jnette said...

Your bread seems too good to be true, but then again I remember something like it being passed around to all the moms when I was a kid... the called it Friendship Bread??? Or maybe it was cake. LOL Anyway, your picture of bread made my mouth water, especially because I can't have bread (diet)? I may try this really soon, b/c I'd love to save the $3 a week we spend on bread!!
Loved the story of paper towels... my husband would do the same thing and I would wonder the same thing you did! :)

Renee said...

Hey Maaaaah! If you like this bread try the Amish Friendship Bread - It's so AWESOME - don't use metal!!

* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 3 cups white sugar, divided
* 3 cups milk

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1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
2. On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
3. Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).

Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Your favorite #1 daughter....LOL!