Friday, 16 April 2010

Daily Bread - feeding the ravening hordes

We are nearly at the end of the holidays and having 11 kids in the house including 7 boys 14yo and over, it is a challenge to bake enough bread. These first loaves were yesterdays bread. The loaves were rolled in semolina and baked in the big oven with a pan of boiling water in the bottom. The crust was the best I have ever made.
Today's bread was done in two batches. First  I made Kefir milk white dough rolls, crosscut. I love using kefir in the dough. It makes a lovely soft, light and tender crumb.

Next I made organic wholemeal and rye dough  again using all kefir and a little added gluten. Very tasty.

I need to get more rye flour as I want to try the rye crackers in my new Peter Reinhart book, "Artisan Breads Every Day". It is a fabulous book, I have learned so much already just flicking through. I will have to rave on about it some more once I have made some of the recipes.

I do like to do a slow rise overnight but at the moment it is the last thing on my mind in the evening. My favourite warm resting place is behind the curtain by the window overlooking the deck. A quick rise guaranteed. When you have restless and ravenous teenage boys pacing the floor, it needs to happen fast.
While the oven is on, I also baked the egg shells I keep to grind up and feed back to the chickens for the calcium and minerals. Note the Araucana shells in the middle. Unlike the brown eggs, the colour goes all the way through the shell to the inside.
It seems it is all about baking around here. Maybe I should call this blog Bake-a-Rooney instead. Though that sounds a little macabre lol.
There's not much sewing happening (though I need to do some) but I did manage to cook up some soap a few weeks ago using Rhonda's recipe on her Down to Earth blog. It went fabulously well, or so I thought. after it was poured and covered, I peeked under to see it gelling beautifully. An hour or so later I peeked again and to my dismay it was developing lye crystals on the surface. The problem was I had used an old balance scale which was obviously no where near accurate enough. So Iscraped it all back into the crockpot and let it remelt, added more oils and a little more water and eventually repoured. It was nowhere near as smooth as the first pour. I have saved the bits and pieces from scraping the bowl and such and have used those bits from time to time and was really pleased with the rich lather it produces (and not red raw burning skin lol). Yesterday when I turned the soap I grated up one of the small end offcuts and dissolved it in hot water. I was really pleased with the bubbles in the sink when I tried some as detergent. I think it is better than the liquid castile I paid for. I then used more of the liquid to wash my hair - I was getting brave.

Oooh! just had an earth tremor! The kids are calling it an earthquake and were wondering whether they should stand in a doorway! lol. (It was tiny really).

Here is the liquid soap and the bubbles when they were half gone.
And lastly, why you shouldn't buy cheap knives or use them to machete frozen chicken carcasses:


  1. That liquid soap looks great, Helen. I have used RHonda's recipe too.
    I love using kefir in cooking too- great in muffins. YOu bread looks fabulous- I hope you didn't burn your hands getting it out of the oven because I owe you some potholders...and ha, ha that is what my oven looks like when it's warming or cooling- full of eggshells!

  2. YUUUMMMM bread - I lvoe making bread too - the smell, the warmth - just gorgeous! They look delicious!

  3. Beautiful loaves! I never tried using kefir in bread. That will be my next experiment.