Fast White Bread

I’m still working on perfecting my bread making skills. I picked up Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary from the library which is packed full of great recipes and has some nice tips. I decided to try the “Fast White Bread” recipe (pg.597) and it turned out wonderful. My other breads were very dense, I’m guessing I used too much flour, but we enjoyed them no less. However, this bread turned out so soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside. Great for sandwiches. I will definitely be using this recipe again!

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread flour + extra
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry or quick-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
 Directions
  1. Stir together bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in large bowl.
  2. Add water and butter to mixture.  Add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time (up to 1 1/4 cup) until dough is moist but not sticky.
  3. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat with oil.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees F) until double in bulk, 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Punch down the dough, form it into a loaf, and place seam side down in the pan.  Oil the surface and cover loosely with a clean cloth.  Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, 20 to 45 minutes.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  7. Remove the loaf from pan and allow to cool on a bakers rack.

Beekeeping class

I’m so excited right now! I will be taking a beginners beekeeping class offered by Beekeepers Association of Northern Virginia.  Once I have completed the 9 week course I will be helping to start an apiary at George Mason University.  I will also have the wonderful opportunity to teach a beekeeping workshop offered by the Mason Sustainability Institute..dates TBD.  This is going to be a great learning experience for me as I am planning on having a small apiary on my farm.  Nothing like some fresh honey. Stay tuned for my ramblings on beekeeping and how wonderful these little critters are!

And now for your viewing pleasure..a work of art produced by my love jonmills

Pizza party of two

Since I mastered the art of baking bread (and by mastered I mean I’ve baked one loaf my whole life), last night I decided to try my hand at homemade pizza.  The dough recipe seemed easy enough..plus if it turned out bad it’s still pizza..who doesn’t like pizza?  So Jon and I decided that I would make the pizza and he would help me eat it.  He eats anything so I wasn’t too worried about my lack of pizza dough making skills.  Fast forward 2 ish hours and wall-a! Pizza! I’m not trying to brag or anything but I have to say it was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had..seriously..I’m awesome!

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 3 cups bread flour (adjust as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings (we used spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes) and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Free Downloads on Holistic Land Management

Holistic Management International (HMI) is proud to offer a series of packages on:

Introduction to Holistic Management
Holistic Financial Planning
Holistic Grazing Planning
Kids on the Land

Free Downloads.

..able to lift 50 lbs

If you’ve ever applied for a job involving manual labor you’ve probably stumbled across this:

“Must be able to lift 50 lbs.”

Well I am 5’2 and currently 108 pounds and I can barely pick up a 50 lb weight let alone lift it properly.  Don’t get me wrong I have been told that I am stronger then I look, but how much of that was just people being nice? If I want to get a farm job, which I’m considering for next summer, I need to be able to handle the workload.

So off to the gym I go, kicking and screaming. Jon is really big into working out. You would think that his love for the gym would rub off on me. It has not. I am just not a fan of working out around a bunch of people I don’t know, lifting weights, and running on a treadmill (it makes me feel like a hamster), but I finally gave in. I started working out with him on Monday and so far so good.  Besides the incredible amount of soreness, it hasn’t been so bad.

I know how important it is to be in shape, especially as a farmer. So Farmer Jen is going to get buff! Check me out next month when you can see me walking around with bags of grain on my shoulders just for the hell of it.

On The Anatomy of Thrift

I’m not sure how I feel about butchering my own livestock. I do feel that it is important to know how it is done. Whether or not you’re a farmer, you should always be mindful of where your food comes from, how it’s raised, and how it’s processed. I think it gives you more of an appreciation for your food.

I love this short film. It’s not for the faint of heart but it’s filmed incredibly well and in a tasteful manner. There is obviously an art to butchering.

On The Anatomy Of Thrift: Side Butchery from farmrun on Vimeo.

Bread making

Today I was pondering ways to start my journey towards farming. Currently I have a wonderful job working in the Office of Sustainability at Mason and I’m about a year or two away from finishing my Bachelor’s Degree so I can’t pack up and move out to the country quite yet. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with my fiancé Jon in a town about 20 miles from Washington DC. Even though I have no land I am trying to think of creative ways to express my inner farmer. Our apartment is on the bottom floor so we did grow some of our own veggies this year, but now that winter is upon us I wanted to try out some other skills

I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my own bread. While I don’t see myself growing acres of grains, you never know what may happen. Maybe we’ll be able to crop swap with some farm neighbors one day or maybe I’ll just like the taste of my own bread. Afterall, it’s nice knowing what exactly is going into your food these days and what better way to know then to make it yourself.

Here is my first official loaf. I have some work to do. It turned out a lot more dense then I had planned but it was delicious nonetheless. Jon approved and helped me eat nearly half of it in one night.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour
 Directions
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.