Friday, August 7, 2009

Life the Universe and Everything

What a soggy, soggy world I woke up to today. lol. After a few weeks of 90+ weather it's a nice turn around... Of course it raises the question as to whether or not we will be able to get up to the mobile to get another load today. My car is a front wheel drive, but it is not a 4x4 so if it's too slick, I won't be able to get up there. lol. Maybe I'll just stay here at home today.

Yesterday we went to the big city. That was an ordeal in and of itself... But not nearly as big a deal as coming home! We go over a mountain summit coming home that is near 5000 Feet in elevation. And as we neared the top of this summit, there was torrential rain. It was to the point that it had washed mud and rocks over the road in 2 seperate places. Mind you this is far from a straight road. Most of this part of the road is 30 and 35 mile per hour and wicked, wicked curves. the higher we got the worse it got... THEN at one point there was marble size hail (thankfully it had already fallen and we weren't in the middle of it coming down!) that was on the road and next to the road and it was 2 inches deep. That was pretty scary driving with it on the road. I would rather have had snow. lol. It's been raining every since. Here at the house everything is all soggy this morning, and wet, including standing water on the road.

Hubby has just told me that we are rained out, the rest of moving is on rain delay. lol. Take a day he said, just to be sure we can get up the road to the property.

Ok, so I'll make some bread instead! Whoot. I used to have a bread maker. I loved it because it was so simple that my 6 year old niece could make bread in it. Toss in the ingredients, and turn it on and wait 3 hours. Tada! Bread. If you used a box mix it was even easier since you only had to measure the water and butter that went in. hehe. Lazy man's bread. but good. We used it as a luxury item since we would stand drooling at the bread machine for 3 hours while it worked and then devour the loaf in about 30 minutes. It didn't make a very big loaf, maybe 8 inches by 6 inches by 6 inches or so. But, when I moved, it went into storage and it's not here with me. Darn it. So, I went to work on making bread from scratch by hand. It's not hard either. I had done it before, just not recently. I used to do it as a teen every once in a while, but it wasn't something I was interested in then. Anyway, so I have been searching for a great bread recipe. I did one from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was an english muffin recipe that you do as a loaf. It was ok... but was entirely too salty for me. Hubby liked it. Maybe I would have liked it better if I had toasted it. I also did an oatmeal loaf that was pretty good, but it was very crumbly. Crumbly bread sucks, because it's hard to put butter, jam or peanut butter on it. I like a nice dense bread that doesn't fall apart. So I continued my quest and found this recipe. It's from Carla Emery's book called "An Encyclopedia of Country Living, Old Fashioned Recipe Book". This is the original edition of her book, this Encyclopedia is now into the 10th Edition (revision) and continues to be wonderful through the 9th edition, which is the other one I have. Carla passed away while working on the 10th Edition, so I think it was finished by her family or editor or something... Anyway, here is the recipe.

Grossmamma Baum's Basic Yeast Bread
Grossmamma lives in Seattle, Washington. She has used this basic recipe for more years than most of us have lived. "Each time I make bread it is a little bit different. Use the basic, toss in raw peanuts, seasame seed, sunflower seed, dried fruit. Use honey, molasses instead of sugar. Each time you have a new taste and texture. I won a blue ribbon at the Western Washington Fair last year, but if they asked me for the reipe I could only give them the basic recipe and say I put in a little of this and that".

3 loaves
3 cups warm water
2 cakes yeast
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons salt
5 level tablespoons shortening
8 to 10 cups unsifted flour (usually much more)

4 loaves
4 cups warm water
2 cakes yeast
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
7 level tablespoons shortening
8 to 10 cups unsifted flour

5 loaves
5 cups warm water
2 cakes yeast
1 cup sugar
5 teaspoons salt
8 level tablespoons shortening
8 to 10 cups unsifted flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, salt and shortening. Add flour until no more can be added. Dough should be elastic. Knead and place in warm place. Raise until double in size. Punch down and knead again - pinch into loaves. Let rise approximately 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Wipe lightly over top of loaves with oil or shortening after removing from pans.

OK, so, here is what I ended up doing. For the shortening I used butter in the first batch and shortening in the second batch. Both were very yummy. And I don't know if it's the altitude or the aridity of the area I live in, but I put between 5 and 6 cups of flour into each batch and it was perfect. There was no way I could have had the dough take in a full 8 to 10 cups of flour much less MORE than that. lol. I made both of these batches with sugar, but I think I'll make the batches today with molasses just to break it up a bit. I did the 3 loaf batch for both of my batches. It was loved by all who ate it. I ended up giving away 3 loaves total, and we ate 3 loaves. I also think I'll do some wheat flour in the mix this time too instead of just straight white flour. I have some gluten so for each cup of wheat flour I'll add 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten (can also use tapioca pudding mix if you have no gluten in the house).

The great thing about this is that it makes a great basic dough. you can make just about anything from this that you like. Pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, hot dog buns, hamburger buns... The possiblities are totally endless. I think that today when I make it I'll do a batch of cinnamon rolls too... hehe... hubby loves cinnamon rolls. Gotta admit that I think it's a grand idea to have some sweets in the house too. hehe.

ok, I am off to start my day. HUGS!

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