The year of bread plus Multigrain bread recipe

One of my New Years resolutions in 2016 was to go a year without buying any bread or rolls. I made it to October before I really started getting tired of it. But we made it the whole year! I went to the bread outlet store the first week of January 2017 and stocked up. Haha. Thankfully it only took a break of a month or two before I was ready to do some baking again.

I got the majority of the recipes I used from our family cookbook and Pinterest. I’ll share a few here and there on this blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

First off: Multigrain Bread. This is our go-to recipe for sandwich bread, bread for toast, or just eating plain!

Funny aside: Goombah 1 (age 5) would probably eat only bread and butter if we let her. It’s her go-to snack. And, Goombah 2 became a bit of a bread snob when he was a young toddler (from age 1 to about 18 months. If we gave him store bought bread he would spit it out! ๐Ÿ™ˆ

So, here’s the recipe!

Pro-tip: This bread freezes well, place in a plastic bag before freezing, and let thaw without opening the bag. Wait to slice until it has thawed.



Start by mixing the wet and most of the dry ingredients together.

Pro-tip: If I know we have a busy time coming up I’ll spend a day and make several batches of bread and freeze a bunch. I get several bowls out and measure dry ingredients for all the batches at once to save time. (One bowl for each batch)


Add some bread flour, and mix, slowly adding more flour until the dough reaches the right consistency.


The dough should be only slightly sticking to the sides of the bowl, and stick to your finger a bit.

Knead for 10 minutes.


Transfer to a large bowl that has been greased. (This bowl has a 42 cup capacity.) Cover with a clean tea towel.


Let rise.


Divide the dough in to 5 loaves. Each will be about 1.5 lbs. (Get them close, it doesn’t have to be exact. Within about .1 lbs of each other is good.)


Roll the dough into loaves. (Check instagram for my video of this!)


Let proof.


In the oven they go! 350 degrees F for 27-30 minutes.


Yum! For softer crust, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the loaves. For crispy crust, remove immediately to wire rack:



Enjoy!
Multigrain Bread

  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 2 T. Salt
  • 2/3 c. Powdered milk
  • 5 c. Warm (not hot) water
  • 2/3 c. Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 1/4 c. Gluten flour
  • 4 c. Whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. Rolled whole grains (looks like oatmeal)
  • 1/4 c. Flax meal (optional)
  • 1/4 c. Whole flax seed (optional)
  • 1/4 c. Chia seed (optional)
  • 6-10 c. Bread flour

Mix all ingredients well, adding bread flour 1-3 cups at a time until dough is just slightly sticky but workable. Knead 10 minutes. Put in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise until about doubled in size (about 1 hour). Divide dough into 5 equal portions, shape into loaves, and place into greased loaf pans. Lightly grease tops of loaves, cover, and let rise until loaves are about 1 inch above the edge of their pans. (About 45 minutes) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and bake bread for 27-35 minutes, or until golden brown. If your oven is small, or your pans are big, you may need to rotate the pans half way through baking to promote even browning.

Emergency Garden Expansion

I accidentally fried my Amish Paste tomatoes earlier this year when I forgot to vent the greenhouse one morning. I thought they were all goners, but didn’t throw them out. Well, a good number of them came back from the dead! The trick was, by the time they looked healthy enough to plant, people weren’t really buying plants anymore! So, I was having a hard time giving them away. 

Also, while at the nursery earlier this week I bought two squash plants; I wasn’t convinced my seeds would come up and wanted a backup plan.

So, our project today was giving all these plants a home. If they die-they die. But I couldn’t just let them die in their containers!

The first step was to mow down all the weeds

Then we laid down black plastic to warm the soil and hopefully keep the weeds down. The plastic will come out after the growing season has passed. We cut holes in it and added the squash plants. (There were 2 plants in one container, and 3 in the other)

The next job was to dig a terrace for the tomato plants. Part of this area is extremely sandy, so that will be interesting!


Cut holes, add plants, and we’re all set to go! We’re going to try supporting them using the Florida weave trellising method, since I don’t have any more cages. Hope they do well! ๐Ÿ™‚

Assuming everything grows… Here’s our final count:

  • 24 Tomato plants
  • 19 pepper plants
  • About 40 feet of green beans
  • 4 cabbage
  • 32 feet of beets
  • 16 feet of carrots
  • 4 Kale
  • 2 eggplant
  • 2 yellow summer squash
  • 2 Zucchini 
  • 16 basil plants
  • 8 feet of peas
  • Onions
  • 20 winter squash
  • Swiss chard
  • 5 cucumber plants
  • Some random lettuce

**nervous laughter**

I’m quite sure we’ll be donating a lot of produce to others. ๐Ÿ™‚

Home Canning Procedures

I have a bachelor’s degree in food science. So, I do have training in this topic. If you follow this blog for any length of time, you’ll notice that I will likely post something like this at least annually. ๐Ÿ˜

How to can food SAFELY:

Start with a tested recipe. Sources of tested recipes include:

The National Center for Home food preservation: http://nchfp.uga.edu/

The Ball canning cookbook: http://www.freshpreserving.com/

These recipes are tested and known to be safe with current crops and products available. Don’t get your recipe from anywhere else.

If you must make a change to a tested recipe: the only allowable safe changes are in sugar and spices.

NEVER:

  • Add a starch
  • Decrease acid (vinegar, citrus, etc)
  • Add extra non-acid ingredients (peppers, onions, corn, etc)
  • Decrease processing pressure or time
  • Use instructions for a lower altitude than you are at
  • Can butter
  • Can bread

These changes will alter the recipe in such a way that it may no longer be safe.

Please can safely! Your life is worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have questions specific to where you live, contact a local university extension service. Or, comment below-I’d love to help if I can!

Inventory

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I watched my mom take inventory of the food storage every year, and occasionally helped with it. She would count, and I would sit with the canning binder and write down how much of each item we had. By doing this annually, she could easily keep track of what needed to be used, and what needed to be made.

I’ve been taking my own inventory for a couple years now, and have my own system now. I’ll show you what I do, but it’s something you can find your own system for.

My first year doing inventory I did it on paper, just like my mom. But last year I decided to give digital a try, and I’m a fan! I use a google spreadsheet that I can access from my phone, so I can count and enter the numbers easily.


Here is a screenshot of my spreadsheet. I have the item listed, as well as recording how much I had last year, how much I have now, and how much I added to the shelf last year. Remembering to keep track of how much I added to the shelf is probably the hardest part! Ha.

The “Total Used” and “Need to can?” Columns use formulas. 

For total used, the formula for my spreadsheet is shown in the next photo:


Or, =(Quantity last year+Quantity made last year)-Quantity this year

The formula for “Need to Can this year?” is an if/then statement, as shown in the next pic:


After the “Need to can this year?” Column had populated, I hilighted the rows of items I need to can in red. And because I know my family’s eating habits better than a mathematical formula, I also hilighted the other items I need to can.

This tells me what I need to bottle in order to have a 1 year supply of that item-which is what I try to do. I am going to add a few more columns to calculate what it would take for a 2 year supply-my stretch goal. I also need to figure out my store bought food storage. 

In the garden this weekย 

We’ll start the tour with the fruit:

The dwarf meyer lemon is getting ready to bloom! I will probably remove the blossoms after a bit so it focuses on root development, but still super exciting!

The fruit trees are looking good! We lost one to deer, and one is starting over due to deer, but overall I’m very pleased!

Some new rhubarb leaves are already peeking up between the stalks I left after harvesting!

Strawberries in the side of the hill and the raised bed are looking good! I’m pinching blooms off on them as well so they will grow big and strong before fruiting.

The dwarf top hat blueberries are blooming these cute bell shaped flowers.

The raspberry blooms are opening up, and the honey bees are totally thrilled! They’re visiting before the blooms are even fully open.

The gooseberry is also doing well!


On to the vegetables!

The green beans in their various locations are sprouting! I’ve been anxiously watching for signs of life, and am so thankful a good portion of them are coming up!

The garlic is almost ready for harvest! Hooray!


The raised beds are still hot cap city. I will probably remove the remaining caps in the next day or two. So exciting!

The peas! I’m totally thrilled! Hopefully they start to bloom in the next couple weeks!

Red wing onions doing well!

And around to the North side of the house:

Straw bale garden with eggplant, peppers, basil, cucumbers (that I sprouted in the greenhouse), and chard, with places for zucchini. 


And cabbage!


We also have a couple little squash sprouts! Hoping the rest start to come up soon. Super exciting!

Insta

I started an Instagram to go along with this blog. Feel free to follow along if you’re interested!
@homesteadingbutnot

In other news: I harvested spinach today! So exciting. Also, there are some beans sprouting! Yay! Hoping more come up than just what I can see right now.

Straw Bale garden experiment

I’m trying something new this year.


My parents were actually the inspiration, as they are trying this out this year as well. I got the straw bales for free, and figured I’d try growing some plants in straw bales! I started by conditioning them.

You spend 10 days watering fertilizer into the bales.


Then add some soil and plants. I planted eggplant and pepper plants, as well as zucchini, cucumbers, kale, and chard from seed. We’ll see how it goes! ๐Ÿ™‚

Snow and Hot cap results

We had quite the cold snap this last week. Yikes! I was very glad that I plant under hot caps until at least Memorial Day. I had seen the forecast and knew to expect the cold, so I had gone out and made sure all my milk jug hot caps were slightly buried around the edges, and put lids on them so they were sealed up. The first night we got snow and barely freezing temps.


The second night it was forecasted to get colder, so I added tarps on the top of the hot caps for an extra layer of protection. The results? I only lost two plants! The ones that died weren’t looking great when I planted them in the first place, and may have died regardless. So, I’m very pleased that our garden lives! Such a blessing!

Now I’m waiting anxiously to see if the seeds I had planted survived. They hadn’t sprouted yet, so I didn’t cover them. Here’s hoping they come up this week!

Yesterday I put in the rest of the peppers I had planned, some of the basil, and the rest of the squash and gourds. I think I’ll start squash, cucumbers, etc. inside next year instead of sowing seeds in the ground. It would be nice to know the seeds were good ahead of time, just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Gardening!

Planting and Projects

Pretty much every Saturday from spring to fall is project day at our house. Today was no different.

We started the morning with the handsome gentleman tilling the garden extension while I did a bit of troubleshooting on a sprinkler head that wasn’t spraying fully, and replaced a part that was partly broken, fixing the problem.

Story time: When we were installing our sprinkler system, I planned out the system and researched all the parts and pieces. My Husband gave me his opinion on a few things I asked him about, but the majority of the planning came from me. I had the time, so I did the research. We hired someone to do the trenching for us, and when he finished I was paying him and he said he could come back after the system was in to power rake so it would be ready for grass. He was explaining to just leave the heads off if we were to do that. I asked for a bit of clarification as to what he meant, and he responded by asking if my husband was home. ๐Ÿ˜ก I wish I had been quicker with a response, but I just had my husband talk to him. Needless to say, we didn’t hire him again. Anyway, it was wonderful today to do a sprinkler repair all on my own with my kids running around, and part of the project with a baby in my arms. That’s right-women are every bit as capable (and in some ways more so) than men.

All fixed and put back together!


After lunch we headed back outside to keep working, and planted more of the garden! There are a few things remaining to be planted, but the majority of it is now in the ground! Hooray!

We planted:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Bush beans
  • Pole beans
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Acorn squash
  • Hubbard squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Eggplant
  • Cinderella pumpkins

Still to be planted:

  • Luffa gourds
  • Gourds
  • More squash and pumpkins 
  • More peppers
  • Basil
  • More kale

We’re giving straw bale gardening a try this year! So far so good!


It ended up being a very productive Saturday! Hooray for the garden!

The Quest for peas: part two

Miss part 1? Here it is.

So, I’ve been hesitant to share this, because I just know that once I do they’ll all die. Lol:

The peas are looking beautiful!


In years past I think I’ve tried to plant too early, and I haven’t had the best seeds. For me, I need to wait until the end of March, and buy seeds from my local nursery. I find that locally owned nurseries have the best products, advice and info, because they know your local climate better than anyone else. Hooray for small businesses!

Hoping these continue to do well! We’re one step further than we normally get. They actually sprouted and are growing! Haha!

Part 3