There are cook books, and then there are books that talk about cooking, health, home making, and well,... they are inspirational books.
A long time ago Debbie in CA from Wisteria and Roses gave me a copy of "Hearth and Home" by Karey Swan. Recently I found Karey's blog called Karey's Overflow. http://kareyswan.com
It intrigued me and I pulled the book off the shelf and read it again. I had a recipe for biscuits in my reach and just forgot where to look. Debbie just posted her best biscuit recipe, "Sky High Biscuits," right out of this book. The book she gave me! We are both short on memory.
Quite a few people I know are putting up food in pantry's and storing up because they are worried about the economy. Karey presents a balanced view. Having a stocked pantry for the freedom from endless shopping as well as having good healthy ingredients to make the best foods for our bodies with the least expense. Good deal. We can be frugal, be smart, but not be worried.
For a long time I have used a Kitchen Mill and a Bosch bread mixer. I had a K Tec bread mixer that I actually like better because it had a slower speed. These mixers take the work out of making whole grain breads. the freshly ground warm flour mixes well and the smell is heavenly. My family, like Karey's family, prefers Prairie Gold wheat in their breads. I found it interesting that she discovered that grinding popcorn makes the tastiest cornmeal. I discovered that one time when I had run low on cornmeal, but had a large amount of popcorn. Necessity being the mother of invention, out came the mill, and we had the BEST cornbread ever. It's kind of like the difference between canned corn and freshly picked very sweet, corn on the cob. Your right, there is no comparison!
The mixer is easy to use. I "proof" my dry active rapid rising yeast right in the mixer. The warm water, honey and yeast go in first. While it is proofing or actually berserking, I go outside and grind the flour. That too, is easy, pour in the grain and out comes warm fresh flour. Give your mill little breaks to keep it from getting to hot. Mine is about 15 years old.
Picture of yeast going berserk. I'm surprised no one ever made a horror movie of yeast. I keep mine in a mayonnaise jar which needs a label on it. I just realized this because my husband thought it was cereal and said he almost cooked it. Wouldn't that have been an interesting kitchen moment? Like a rerun on an "I Love Lucy," show.
(My blogger has mixed up these pictures and I have cut and pasted till I'm sick of it. I think you can see that some of these are not in the right order.)It is operator error I am sure.
When the flour is finished the yeast has poofed, and the oil and salt are added.
I add all the liquids in the beginning and then turn the mixer on to the lowest setting and add one cup of flour at a time until the dough pulls cleanly from the sides. It's like magic. One second it is sticky, the next it is cleaning the bowl. That is when it ready to knead. Leave it on low for 6 to 10 minutes depending on your flour. Prairie Gold tastes more like a lighter wheat it really is delicious, and it makes a nice soft bread. I could really go for a fresh tomato sandwich, with cracked black pepper, but that is farther down the road in summer.
2 of these loaves on the left have a filling of oranges, dates, pecans a bit of brown sugar and a tad of cinnamon, more inspiration from Karey.
These are loaves ready for the oven. I actually let this dough sit in a well oiled bowl and rise a couple of times just because. It is not necessary with a Bosch. You can mix, shape, and bake which gives you a nice big batch of bread in about an hour.
I come from a long line of bakers. My Danish grandparents and father were bakers by trade. I just have to let dough mature a bit by sitting, it's just me.
So while we are in the mood to cook, how about a meatloaf and some baked potatoes? The oven is on. My family likes everything plain so after I saute these lovely veggies they will go into the food processor to make a puree. The meatloaf will have all these good flavors and no one will be the wiser. I decided to go ahead and just cook the meatloaf in the skillet and save a dish. There was no ketchup so I mixed up tomato paste, brown sugar, brown mustard, a bit of vinegar, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, mixed it with a fork and spread it on the top.
That is one huge portabella mushroom.
Like that wasn't enough work for one day, a big batch of granola to boot. Bread is done, lets eat!
Whole wheat bread for mixers.
5c of warm water
1/2 c honey
1/2 c oil
2 tbsp salt
2 TBSP YEAST - rapid rise dry active.
12 to 14 cups of freshly milled flour.