Thursday, August 14, 2008

Banarang Bread

One of my most favorite things in the whole world is the smell of freshly baked bread. It is super healing. Sometimes its intimidating whether your mom made it the best but didn't teach you and so you are worried you can't reproduce her perfect loaf, or you have never had homemade bread and don't even buy yeast. To me, baking bread is one of those hallmark skills that every industrious woman should have, you know, like crossing the plains, making all of your own clothes and churning butter. I have learned over the years that the woman I am does not have to be that particular woman but my love of homemade bread has not waned. I will not offer my perfect recipe here. I will share with you some tutorials from other sites and some tips that were like moments of inspiration. But the real secret to making your own bread is practice, and failure, and practicing again. So, if you really want to make your own bread start with trying a couple of loaves every week for a month. By the end, of the month you will have perfected your family favorite and will be a pro.

This recipe, Susan's White Bread, has good photographs and some explanation of the process of bread baking. It is part of a site called: A Year In Bread and the whole site has wonderful recipes and information.

This little grandma is so cute and a little weird (my favorite combination)! This is a great video on how to work a really simple bread. She talks about the pleasure of kneading the bread and making something new. She's right, its very rewarding.

This is part 2:

Now, to my limited wisdom. One of the biggest mistakes I made the first few times I made bread was that I kept adding flour, buckets and buckets of flour. Your dough will become brickish if you add too much. So, after practicing a bit I realized I just very lightly dust my hands and my work surface so that I can keep kneading. Notice in the videos that the woman just kept working the dough. It takes 10 or 15 minutes by hand or by mixer. Another thing the woman in the video does is a triple rise. I might try this the next time. I only let rise in the bowl once before I shape it but I have read that the longer the rise time the more fluffy and light your bread will be. I think the triple rise would be helpful too those first few times to give the ingredients more time to work their magic. I add powdered milk to my bread and I will usually add gluten or a dough enhancer. These products can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores and they are particularly helpful when you are a beginner. I also like the texture of the bread with enhancers. Once you get a basic understanding of what good dough feels and smells like then you can add a whole host of items to your repertoire. I can make rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza, crackers, breadsticks, and many other items now that I understand the process. I will these items to the bread basics section as we go.
This whole wheat recipe looks fantastic. I am going to try it this week and will let you all know how it turns out. I prefer whole wheat and rarely make a straight white bread.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Introduction to the Basics

I wanted to start this series by explaining what (in the humble opinion of me) the basics are. Sometimes a project or goal seems incredibly overwhelming. Food storage, provident living and emergency preparation are often things that fall into overwhelming territory. One reason to stick to the basics is the power of focus. Dave Ramsey calls it gazelle intense. Steven Covey calls it a flight plan. Who ever you would like to emulate in the world more than likely has incredible focus. So, if you want your food storage program to be successful, FOCUS. There are some guidelines to how to narrow this down. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints lists these items as important for focus:

1.Three-Month Supply
2.Drinking Water
3.Financial Reserve
4.Longer-Term Supply

I agree with this order and would include a 72 hour kit as part of step one. Short term needs should be the primary focus for a first timer. As you increase these short term goals the others will follow naturally. For example, once you have a three month supply and are living on it and rotating it, your grocery budget should be very stable and predictable. This step can lead to an increase in money to add to your financial reserve.

Another important component of provident living is that it It isn't a one time event. It is an everyday part of life. However, that seems like an enormous challenge when beginning. Breaking even the first steps into smaller parts is a way to give the process time to "take." If you want to be prepared in an emergency then you should have regular meetings with your family to practice and prepare. This makes the plan become real. Slow repetition over time creates habits. So, for instance, when you are working on your three month supply it should be slowly. Incorporating storage items into your weekly menu plan is a way to not only rotate your food but make it a part of life. Also, keep it simple. We think we have to eat all complicated, but we don't. Simplifying your meals can be very rewarding, healthy and cost effective.

Here are some more places of inspiration:
Lentils and Rice
3 steps to starting a home storage program
Food Storage Made Easy

Back to Basics

I have been recently inspired by a friend who asked me to teach her to make bread. I don't know if I taught her anything but I enjoyed her company and got a kickin' batch of bread out of it. So I'm going to start this new series with a some tips on making bread and some resources with awesome tutorials. I hope to expand the database of resources so that there will be many basic resources available. Look forward to coming articles.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm back!

Well, I'm hoping I'm back. I am trying very hard to get excited about food storage. My own personal stash is way lower than normal and I am feeling a crunch to get it back up to par. Sometimes the hardest thing about provident living is motivation. So, I'm searching for it. If you guys out there would like to learn more about something specific please ask! I need to do some research or ponder on something. If you have a question or just a topic you would like addressed, let me know. I will address them in subsequent posts. So, to get us all back in the swing of things, here are some sources of inspiration.,11677,1706-1,00.html


I sometimes have a hard time looking at my food storage and seeing snacks. Common visions are of days making bread and eating rice and oats but there are a lot of good healthy choices out there for snacks. Popcorn is one of my all time favorites. It is an excellent, fast, and fun snack. It also doesn't heat up your kitchen the way baked goods do in the summer. I don't have an air popper so I just pop 1/2 cup of corn in 2 tbsp. oil in my biggest saucepan.

Here is a video of how to do it if you are trying for the first time.

There are a ton of variations for things to add. I'm just going to list a few.

Our #1 favorite: plain ole' butter and salt

This one has nutritional yeast (very good for you)

Vanilla Popcorn

A list of recipes for cracker jacks

I like these ideas

At the bottom under the comments someone suggested adding honey. I think I will try that version next time.