Monday, June 22, 2009
Zipper pouch attempt #1... I love it except the zipper is a little too exposed for my liking. I used fabric paint and a stamp to do the dandelion.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It seems that lately I've had quite a few people asking me questions about baking bread. Usually I'm able to answer them to the best of my ability but really, I'm no expert. I thought though that because I post so many bread recipes I would share my tips on baking bread.
- Give yourself LOTS of time. Baking bread is very time consuming in the sense that you have to be around. The initial rise can take anywhere from 1-2 hours and if you want a good dough you are going to want to pound it down and let it rise a couple more times before your final rise. I tend to start baking first thing in the morning, and sometimes it's ready by lunch, but usually mid afternoon.
- The main difference between Active Dry Yeast and Quick Rise Yeast is that active dry has to be proofed. That means you need to dissolve it in liquid first. Quick rise you can simply add to the dry ingredients and it will work. Apparently quick rise will also make your bread rise faster although I've never noticed much of a difference.
- Be prepared to get your hands dirty. I use my kitchen aid mixer for most of the kneading required during bread baking, but nothing works as well as using your hands. Kneading is required to make the dough more elastic and to help it rise, so don't skimp out.
- Use quality ingredients. I have found on more than one occasion that buying poor quality flour, yeast, sugar, etc. makes poor quality bread. If you are making your bread from scratch it is already going to be WAY cheaper than buying a loaf in the store so don't be afraid to spend a little bit more on good ingredients.
- Know your flours. Some flours have much more gluten than others and some flours really won't rise at all. When trying new flours I generally substitue only one or two cups of whole wheat or all purpose until I know how well it will work. You can find more information about the different kinds of flours here.
- Don't forget to add salt! Salt can kill yeast so I always suggest adding your salt to the flour and then adding it to the wet ingredients. However because I do it this way I often (yes often) forget to add salt. It will still turn out but it sure won't taste the same!
- Finally... don't be afraid to experiment!! I have one very basic recipe that I simply deviate from as I desire. It's up in my head so it makes it easy for me to just substitute different flours, fats, or sweeteners.
Monday, June 15, 2009
On the drive home on Sunday, Travis had just commented to me about the fact that we rarely see much wildlife in that area. It seems weird because it's in the mountains and heavily wooded. Of course, 5 minutes after he said that I yelled at him to stop the van because sure enough I saw a HUGE owl sitting on a fence post. Growing up where I have, I don't usually get too excited about seeing deer, elk, moose, bears, etc. but an owl? It's just not every day you see a large owl. I wasn't sure what kind of owl it was so when I got home I looked it up and I believe it was a Great Gray Owl. I managed to get quite close to it so I snapped a few pictures...
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
We are planning two big trips this summer, one to Saskatchewan to see Travis' folks and one to Smithers BC to see mine. The drive to Saskatchewan is about 6 hours and the drive to Smithers is a solid 12+. I've been thinking of different ways to keep the boys entertained on both of these drives and the only thing I've come up with so far is to just bring lot's of toys, coloring books, stickers, snacks, etc. So when I stumbled upon The Mayfly blog and saw this tutorial for Car Organizers I was so happy! What a fantastic and easy tutorial. It only took me a couple of hours to make two of them, one for each seat. I think I like the way that Alicia's looks better, but I'm happy with mine as well. I think I might have to tighten up the elastic on the bottom a bit though, it sags a bit too much in my thinking.
For now I'll be using the organizers to store extra diapers and my slings.
So, thanks Alicia for a great tutorial.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
As most of you know, I make my own bread. I tend to have to make it every other day or so, so I get bored with making it sometimes. Being bored brings me to experiement with my recipes so the other day I thought I'd try something totally new. I had some amazing organic rye flour that had been sitting in my pantry for too long and seeing as I often find rye bread too dry I thought I would try adding some yogurt to it. It turned out AMAZING. So good and so moist. I practically ate the entire loaf myself. Naturally I thought I should share the recipe so here it goes.
Yogurt Rye Bread
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. melted or softened butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 cups all purpose four
1 cup coarse rye flour
1 tsp. salt
First off I dissolve the yeast in the water in a glass measuring cup. Once it's all dissolved, pour it into a mixing bowl (I use my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook, but you could do it all by hand of course). Add the honey, butter, and yogurt and mix till combined. Add the flours and salt and mix till combined then knead until it forms into a nice ball. You may need to add more flour if the dough is still really sticky. I usually knead it (or let the machine knead it) for about 4-5 minutes.
Then let the dough rise for an hour or more or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and let rise again for another 15 mins or so. You can repeat the punching down and letting rise for 15 minutes a few times if you want. Knead and shape the dough into a loaf shape and place in a well greased loaf pan.
Let rise until doubled, or until it reaches a desired height, usually about another hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a medium dark brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes then remove from the bread pan to prevent it from getting soggy.