Sunday, May 16, 2010

HBinFive: Whole Grain Garlic Knots

Our assignment for this bread braid was to make a batch of the master dough recipe and use it to make several of the different finished bread variations. I made a whole batch of the dough using a little over half regular whole wheat flour and the rest white wheat flour. I didn't grind my own for this batch of bread since I mixed it up while everyone was napping and didn't want to risk losing my baking time by waking up grumpy little nappers! I had some whey left from some cheese I made the day before and used it in place of the water in the dough. I tried another time to use whey in baking bread, but it didn't rise right. It didn't dawn on me until much later that it was because I hadn't thought to warm the whey, and it went right into the dough chilled from the fridge. This time I set the whey out for a few hours before I mixed the dough, and I gave the dough extra time to rise since the liquids were cooler than usual being room temperature to start with. But it did rise eventually with the extra time I gave it, and the loaf of bread I made didn't even require as much time as the book said to give it before it was done with the second rise.

It had been a while since I had made this one up and because we can always use a loaf of bread for sandwiches and what-not, I made the Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich loaf first. I find the dough pretty sticky to handle before it has been refrigerated, but also find it rises better before refrigeration as well. So if I'm just going to stick the dough into a pan, I can generally get it shaped enough to make a loaf to go in the pan. This one rose so quickly being fresh, unrefrigerated dough that I think it actually over-rose a little. The top looked pretty flat and deflated and dare I say overdone. I was worried for my loaf when I took it out of the oven and Paul commented on my burning it. After it cooled overnight, I sliced into it and was quite pleased with it. Since I've been using the white winter wheat for flour, I haven't had any dark whole wheat bread for a while and this was a pleasant change both visually and taste-wise. I'm not sure that I can really tell any difference using the whey instead of water, but I guess that could be a plus too because it packs some extra goodies into the bread without really affecting how it turns out. Whey is supposed to be very nutritious and good for you--normally I just give it to the chickens and figure I'll get it back through the eggs!

I passed on the pita bread variation because I had no idea where to get black sesame seeds locally and didn't feel like ordering something to finish this bread braid--trying to ease up on the budget a little since some of these breads can run a little pricey when you have to buy unique ingredients for each dough. I was out of regular sesame seeds, and just skimmed right past this recipe. I see on the schedule that a different pita bread recipe is coming up in June, and I will be sure to give that one a try since I've never done a pita bread at home before.

I'm glad I didn't pass on the garlic knots, though, because they were delicious! I didn't even have anything fresh to use with them. I used chopped garlic from a jar and dried parsley and grated Parmesan from the can. I wished I had fresh in all of these, but I didn't; so I went ahead with what I had on hand. I even heated the olive oil too hot before I put my garlic into it and burned the garlic instead of just browning it. They still turned out so yummy. I got a couple silicone baking sheets and this was the first time I used one. It made it a breeze to clean up the olive oil mixture that was all over the place from the rolls. The olive oil drizzled over the rolls made them so crispy and crunchy when they were warm from the oven that I really had to round up my willpower to stop with just one. I have a feeling they won't be as good when they have cooled off and aren't quite as oven-fresh, but I'm sure they will still be yummy. This was one of my favorite recipes from the book so far, I think. The crispy outside of the rolls was just incredibly good!

You can check out what others did using this dough by visiting the HBin5 bread braid hosted at Big Black Dog.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday #17


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

HBinFive: Milk and Honey Raisin Bread

This challenge for the HBinFive baking group had two different doughs assigned, but I only did one of them. One of the doughs was the Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat bread that we had also made mid-February. Although I found that bread particularly tasty, I didn't need the temptation of having it hanging around the house for my to polish off. I'm down almost 25 pounds since January thanks to Weight Watchers and decided not to blow the diet with it!

The milk and honey bread turned out very good, and definitely could have been a diet-breaker if I hadn't manage to muster up some self-control. Recently at the bulk foods store, I picked up a couple different kinds of wheat grains to try out with my grain mill. I looked them up online after I bought them to see how people liked to use them, and it turned out one (Prairie Gold) is used by lots of folks as an all-purpose flour. So I used that for my all-purpose flour in the recipe, and my white winter wheat for the whole wheat flour portion. Also, since everyone in my family seems to complain when I put raisins into baked goods, I subbed with a dried berry blend containing blueberries, cranberries and cherries. But in retrospect, I think I have eaten most of this loaf anyhow and I think the raisins would have had a bolder taste in it and wish I would have just gone with them. The blueberries are pretty tasty to get in a slice, though. And it made a delicious French toast that was definitely worth repeating!

I got a new toy that I was able to use for the first time on this bread--an electric knife. It's amazing! I can't recommend it enough if you are thinking of getting one. I noticed they were marked down to $9 when I was doing my grocery shopping, so I slipped one into the cart. Now that I've tried it, I would have paid twice that price for it! I gave it a trial run with my warm, just baked loaf because I had heard that an electric knife will neatly slice warm bread. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical and not sure what to expect. So to really test it out, I cut off a really thin slice of the warm loaf. It sliced beautifully without tearing up the bread in the least. I can't even slice cooled bread that nicely with my old bread knife. I restrained myself from slicing the whole loaf up then and there (barely!) I was able to cut myself very thin slices of this bread which were quite yummy when covered in the apple jelly that I also made last week.

See what others made this go around by visiting the HBin5 Bread Braid hosted at Big Black Dog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sustainable Food 101: Week One, Food, Inc.


We just had a chance to watch Food, Inc. this evening and let me just say it was a real eye-opener. Am I ever glad that we are able to raise a good bit of our own meat, eggs, milk and even some produce!

I stumbled across "A Five Week Crash Course in Sustainable Food" over at change.org and think I'll work my way through their suggested Sustainable Food 101 syllabus. I've got the first week done and was pleased to see on the online catalog for my local library that they have In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto available.

Have you seen this movie yet? I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday #16


Come out, come out...



Friday, April 16, 2010

HBinFive: Gluten-Free Olive Oil Bread


This challenge for HBin5 had me trying something I don't think I would ever have bothered with except for trying to stick with the group--gluten-free bread! It's hard not to have noticed the increase of gluten-free products at the store and attention being given to eating gluten-free for various health reasons. Among my friends, I only know one person who is following a gluten-free diet, so I really haven't had much experience with it. I had to do a bit of shopping to make this bread. Thankfully, last week I had a chance to stop at the bulk foods store that is out of town and picked up some soy flour. I should have looked for tapioca pearls there too, but forgot and thought I could get them in town. Turns out they only had Minute Tapioca in town and I thought maybe I could get that ground smaller with the little chopper attachment to my blender, but it really didn't seem to get any finer. I subbed plain gelatin for the xanthum gum since I didn't feel like paying $10 to get any shipped to me when I really doubted it would be used again. I used my grain mill to grind some brown rice flour. Brown rice being an ingredient I do keep on hand, but I've never tried it as flour yet.



The dough batter was very, very wet and runny when I mixed it up. I double checked the recipe to see if I'd gotten my ingredients completely out of whack somehow, but couldn't see that I had gone wrong. It would have been helpful if the book noted that this was going to be drastically different than regular dough, but there was no mention in the book. I'm not sure if this was how it was supposed to turn out or not--nobody else seems to have made mention of this in their posts. It rose beautifully in the container, but I had to go out for a while before it was completely done rising. Not sure if I should have stuck it in the fridge then, but I left it out. So it was probably out 3-4 hours instead of the recommended 2 hours. Overnight, it fell a lot in the fridge, but most doughs do seem to go down some.

When I took it out this morning to try baking it, the dough had a really strange texture. The book said it wouldn't have any stretch because of the lack of gluten, but it was just some odd looking dough. Sort of reminded me of cornmeal mush or something. I pressed it into a loaf pan, but wasn't holding out much hope for it. The dough didn't rise at all during the 90 minutes I let it sit before baking. It didn't rise at all during baking. So this bread was pretty much a complete fail. I tasted it and it's crunchy on the outside and it doesn't taste terrible. But what to do with such a skinny loaf? Guess the chickens get a treat.

I'm not sure what to do with the remaining dough. I wonder if it would turn into anything usable if I made little patties of the dough and fried it in the skillet. I can't see that it would be worth wasting pizza ingredients to try it as a pizza crust because obviously something didn't come together right with this bread. Either the tapioca or the gelatin substitutions or I totally mismeasured something. Win some, lose some. Not going to bother trying this one again, though. I do have to figure out something to do with the rest of the soy flour I bought for this. I'm not sure if there are more recipes in the book for soy flour or not.

A lot of people in the group seem to have avoided making this bread, but one of the reasons I joined this group was to get a chance to try all the recipes that I normally would skip over. So even if I don't think it will be a huge hit, I still like to try out the recipes. I figure many of them I will probably never make again, but that's okay because even trying it once has broadened our eating horizons just a little bit. And any complete failures can always be fed to the chickens who will appreciate them, so I don't ever have to throw away anything our family didn't like.

You can check out what others did with this dough by visiting the HBin5 Bread Braid hosted at Big Black Dog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Cosa Verde Earth Day Giveaway!


Modish is having a huge Earth Day giveaway with four prize packages full of great handmade goodies. You can get multiple entries to the contest by visiting the shops offering prizes and picking your favorite items to comment about. The giveaway is running through Earth Day, April 22nd. Check it out--there are some really great things to score!

About This Blogger

I am a thirty-something mother of two girls and a boy ranging from preschool to middle school. My husband and I keep working and reworking on our goal of raising our family healthier. Our house is a constant work under construction--adding on and remodeling. We're happy to have bought our property a few years ago, but as any homeowners know, owning a home just adds to your list of projects and chores because there's always improvements to be made and maintenance to be done. On our burgeoning homestead, we have chickens, guineas, a few goats, and our most recent additions-rabbits.

About This Blog

I picked the name Petalz and Finz a couple years ago when I decided to try Etsy out. I wanted to custom make some baby related items and have things for girls and boys. I felt the name incorporated both my kids (at the time) into it--petalz for Ivy and finz for Finn.

I haven't had time to do much of anything with my Etsy for a while, but it's still my in my long term goals. In the mean time, I'm having fun with this blog thing. I've found some creative inspiration through my own posting, but also through many other wonderful blogs out there.

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