Monday, December 22, 2008

Best bread ever

Amelia Hohl’s Sourdough Bread

NOTE: for my wheat bread, I just use home ground wheat flour, pour an arbitrary amount of natural pumpkin seeds, brown and golden flax seeds, and whole oats into the mixture. Occasionally I put in crasins. I have also rolled olive oil, salt and herbs into the regular sourdough loaves. My favorite is olive oil and sage.


Takes 5-10 Days to get it started. Get a large plastic pitcher with a lid that opens and closes completely.

Mix 1 Tbs. Yeast

½ cup warm water

1 Tbs. sugar or honey

Stir with wooden spoon and let sit for 10 minutes

Add 2 cups warm water or milk

Add 2 cups flour and let sit for 5-10 days.

Pour off extra liquid, close lid and sore in the refrigerator

To replenish

Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 Tbs. sugar (you may add as many cups as you need to fill the container about ¾ full. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Leave out for a couple days or until you can tell the fermentation has spread throughout mixture. Store in refrigerator. Pour off liquid and skim top when necessary.

Bread recipe (in kitchenaid mixer)

Two heaping Tbs. yeast, not fast rising.

4 Cups warm water

1 Tbs. Sugar sprinkled on top. Do not stir yet

Let activate for 5 minutes

Add 2-3 heaping cups of sourdough starter

1 heaping Tbs salt

½ Cup sugar

½ Cup oil

4 Cups flour (to begin with)

Handful of instant potato flakes if you have them.

Mix on low until everything is combined (make sure yeast comes up from bottom of bowl)

Begin to add more flour until it just starts to pull away from the sides. Seriously under-add flour even though it may look really runny. Put on low/medium speed for at least 20 minutes. Pour mixture out onto a well floured surface. Dough will be pretty runny. Knead dough until it’s just firm enough to form into balls. Divide dough and set in greased bread loaf pans. Preheat oven at 350. Put loaves on your warm oven and let rise until dough just reaches top of your bread pan. This bread has a lot of yeast, so it will rise quite a bit more in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, but check to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. I usually have to cook it longer because I make huge loaves. Take out of pan immediately and put on a cloth and cover to cool. Enjoy!

Candy canes and more...

Today I didn't get ready, Henry still has his rat nest in the back of his hair and his pajamas on and Bea took all her naps in the Bumbo on top of the kitchen table because I was cooking all day long! This morning I woke up and made bread, then I made two batches of cherry jam, then my friend Trixie came over and we made three batches of candy canes. They were so delicious this year and they came out perfect. The three flavors were peppermint, spearmint and cherry lemon. I just put them up all over our tree and Henry and I have been eating them all afternoon. I'm hopefully making yogurt tonight. Oh, and we also made home-made pizza for lunch. I had the dough all made though beforehand, but we still rolled it out and made it from scratch. I love days like this:)

The candy cane recipe we used was from this website

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gingerbread ornaments

One of my favorite things to bake over Christmas is gingerbread ornaments. The recipe you use isn't that important because most people get sick of them after eating one or two, so it's just important to bake them enough so they get really hard. The frosting is just Royal Icing and you can use eggs or merengue powder if you're worried about salmonella. The one thing you have to be careful of, though, is that you don't put them too close to the window if you live in a humid environment because when it rains, they all get soft and fall off the tree.

I always make ones that spell the kid's names. I already put Henry's on the tree so this is Beatrice's. I didn't realize how long her name was! Next year maybe I'll just stick with Bea.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jammin' good

One thing I love to make more than anything in the world is jam and jelly. I have these really cute jars that I get from the Specialty Bottle Company and I even had some friends help me make labels for some of them. I named my jam Hohlberry, which has more significance than you would think because my Grandma Berry taught me how to make raspberry jam which started this all. She died a few years ago and we really miss her! Her spirit lives on in my jam though and I hope she's hanging out with me in the kitchen while I cook. The jams in the photo are, from left to right, sour cherry jam, peach, sugar-free peach, grape, and pomegranate jelly. I'm making some more sour cherry jam tomorrow. It's the best of all the kinds. Yum!

I don't really have any special methods for making jam. I just do what they tell me on the box of pectin. I do, however, use my rice cooker to process my little jars and since I've been making jam so often, I can whip out a batch of jam in about half an hour from start to finish. I can even make bread at the same time and have hot fresh ground multi-grain, wheat bread with my hot cherry jam. Now if I could just learn to make the butter, I'd be set! Have any of you ever tried to make butter? Someone please tell me that it's really easy and I should start making it too. I'm going to make a batch of yogurt this week for my guests and we'll see how it turns out. I can mix it with my jam and serve it for breakfast. Yes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving feast

This year I went to Dallas for Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time preparing Thanksgiving with my family. It's always nice to have a few cooks in the kitchen who are all on the same page as me and who all expect everything to turn out perfect. We brined our turkey overnight which made the meat so moist and aromatic so I think I'll do that from now on. It looks like it got burned, but we cooked it on a super high heat for a half an hour to sear it, but the insides melted in your mouth. Here are a few pics of my family cooking in the kitchen...I'll post some of the recipes soon...