Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whole Wheat Baguette

Here is a wonderful recipe for an artisan whole wheat soaked baguette.  The recipe size is a bit big on purpose so that there are enough loaves left over to freeze some for later use because this bread takes over 1 day to make and it is not something you will find yourself baking on a frequent basis.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
  • 4 cups chilled cheese whey
  • 8 cups freshly ground "hard" whole wheat flour plus 5 cups chilled "hard" whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten flour
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of yeast separated (1/2 teaspoon and 3/4 teaspoon)

To start, mix the chilled cheese whey and the freshly ground 8 cups of whole wheat flour in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon yeast.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 or more hours.  Make sure to grind the additional flour needed and then chill it in the refrigerator until it is needed.


Next, mix in the orange juice, salt, and the rest of the yeast into the bowl with the flour that has been soaking in the whey.  


Knead in the gluten flour and then as much of the chilled flour as is needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, or the side of the bowl if you are using a mixer with a dough hook.  
 
Let the dough sit, covered, at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, making sure to punch down the dough about every hour.


After the dough has risen for 3 to 4 hours, separate it into 6 pieces.


Then, take each piece and press it out,  


fold it over, press down and seal the sides together with your fingers 


and then roll into a long and skinny baguette.


Now, put them in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, take them out and let them warm to room temperature for 2 hours.  About 1 1/2 hours into the warming time turn the oven on 425 degrees Fahrenheit and spray the loaves with a  fine mist of water.


Mist the loaves with water again and then put the loaves in the oven for 12 minutes on the bottom rack and then 12 minutes on the top rack  (visa versa for the other set of loaves) making sure to mist all the loaves every 5 minutes or so.


Remove from the oven and enjoy.


For the remaining loaves you will not be eating the day you make them, wrap each in foil and then put them in the freezer.  


Then, on the day you want to use them, remove them from the freezer and let thaw at room temperature and finish off by baking in the foil for 10 minutes.   

 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Cinnamon & Sugar Pannekoen

If you have kids who like bready things for breakfast, but want an easy way to get more protein in them the pannekoen is the answer to your problems.  This quick and easy breakfast is filled with eggs, milk, and butter but at the same time has just enough wheat in it to satisfy even your skeptical egg eaters.

Here is what you will need for ingredients:
  • 4 large eggs (or 6 medium)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons SUCANAT
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together the eggs, flour, milk and salt.


Next, put the pie plate in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and in it melt the butter.


Once the butter is melted, pour in the batter and then top with the SUCANAT and cinnamon.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and then serve immediately.


Homemade Chicken Stock

Making your own stock is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your digestive health.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the author of the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, says the following about homemade stock:

"Meat and fish stocks provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut...To make good meat stock you needs joints, bones, a piece of meat on the bone...It is essential to use the bones and joints, as they provide the healing substances..."

Here is a simple method to follow for making homemade chicken stock.

First, after cooking chicken, I take all the bones and joints with bits of meat still on them and put them in a bag in the freezer.  Then, when my freezer is about full of chicken bones and not very full of broth, I take out the bags.


I put all the bones in a pot and then add enough water to cover the bones.  



ATTENTION:  Make sure to measure out the amount of water you use because you will have to multiply the ingredients below for every 10 cups of water you use to make the broth.

Now, for every 10 cups of water, add the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of vegetables (I use celery I grow in my root cellar through the winter)
  • 1 large onion or 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar

After bringing the mixture to a boil...



...cover and simmer on the stove for 8 to 12 hours.  Then, let the liquid cool so it becomes easier to handle.

Strain the broth...



...then put into freezer containers for use in your recipes.         


Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

When I first started making ice cream using raw cream, I always hated the fact that all the chocolate ice cream recipes I found required you to cook them and then cool them.  What was the point in using raw cream if the ice cream wasn't raw.  Well, after much searching and experimenting, here is my adaptation of raw chocolate ice cream. By the way if you don't have raw cream you can use regular pasteurized cream to get the same taste results, it just won't have all the wonderful enzymes which the raw cream adds. 

I start out with a quart jar and put 1/2 of cane juice crystals in.


Then I add in 1/3 cup of dutch processed cocoa and one raw egg yolk.


On top of those ingredients, I ladle the jar half full of cream.



Then I cover the jar and shake well.


Next, I top off the jar with more cream, cover and shake again.





Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the ice cream. 

I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker that has a frozen gel insert - it makes the process of making ice cream so much easier than the ice and salt method.  The only problem I have with this ice cream maker is that it only takes a quart at a time.  Most of the time I do not need more ice cream than a single batch, but then there are times when I need more on hand, like when I make ice cream cakes, and I have to plan my batches out days in advance.  
Here is the base for the ice cream maker and frozen gel container (left), and the ice cream mixture (middle), and ice cream maker cover (right).




  In making the ice cream, pour the mixture into the turning ice cream maker.




Finally, here is what the mixture looks like when it is finished.



Mark 5 & Holding On

In reading through Mark 5, I was struck by truth within the story of the man with the legion of demons that had never passed through my mind before, and yet since I have been talking back and forth with a family regarding some child depression issues the truth was rather striking.  In looking at this man, who was the host for an entire legion of demons, I realized something about his character that was profound - he was a fighter.

Here is what made me come to this conclusion about the character of the man which chapter 5 of Mark starts off describing.  Do you realize that once the demons had the ability of come out of the man and enter into the swine, they left the earth by committing suicide?  This made me question why these same demons were unable to complete that task while they were within  the man?  I know being the host of a legion of demons is not what any of us desire for our future or the future of anyone we know of love, but I also had to realize in coming to this realization that God had allowed this circumstance to come into this man's life for a purpose.

In thinking about the "hard things" I just got done writing about regarding Mark 4, this man in Mark 5 was the epitome of the example of a life that had been taken through the ringer to develop character within him.  And, Jesus was quick to show this man his' purpose when He refused to take the man with Him, but instead charged him with his own ministry to spread the good news throughout his entire region in which he lived and in which everyone definitely knew his story.

I thought it interesting that my pastor yesterday said,"Joy is generated from the inner person."  So too I believe is the ability to fight for that joy.  Cultivated within a person, as part of his/her character, is the drive to move beyond what is here and now and to see, or at least desire, all that is possible within the hope he/she holds.  For a Christian that hope is attached to the promises of God and held in our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit who does not leave us or forsake us as our friend and helper.  

The realities of life are bound to make us question at times if we really can keep holding on.  If you find yourself in that place today, be encouraged from the story of this man in Mark 5 who still held on in the midst of circumstances none of us could fathom.  God has a plan, just keep hanging on and trusting in His perfect timing to show you the fruitful product of what He is working on doing in your life.

Mark 4 & the Necessity of "Hard Things"

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to ride alone with a very grumpy teenager to church.  Yes, after being sick all week and still feeling a bit weak, my son felt it was well within acceptable limitations to not have to go to church with the rest of us and especially not go early to attend Sunday school, like we do every week, and also operate the camera up in the AV booth during the service. 

Well, after doddling through his chores while everyone else left in our other vehicle (luckily we had to take two vehicles that morning because of some afternoon plans) we got into the car to drive the 20 minutes it takes for us to get to church from our farm.  At first it was very quiet while I was praying and driving and my son was staring out the window.  Then, I felt led to start sharing with my son some of the "hard things t"hat were required of me when I was younger, things I didn't enjoy doing but now as an adult can see the benefit of my parents being tough with me and fighting my strong will to resist the "hard things" they thought were good for me to do - for shaping my character.

It was the Holy Spirit who then guided the rest of the conversation and who then intertwined the same message into the sermon our pastor presented that day on the life of Joseph and the many "hard things" God allowed in Joseph's life to shape him into the man God needed him to be for the particular calling that was meant for his life.  Needless to say, my son did not walk away at the end of the day resentful of the "hard things" my husband and I had required of him, rather they gave him a lot of food for thought about his own need to have his character strengthen as well as the many things that he tends to resist just because they seem too hard.

Is that not the case for the rest of us too?  Our human nature always wants to take the easy route.  I know in talking to people about making healthy changes in their diets, one of the first excuses I hear is "That would be really hard."  Yes, going from buying all the prepackaged foods off the shelf of a store to actually making everything from scratch and growing as much of it yourself or finding good suppliers for your food, and then eating that food and eliminating the cravings and toxic remnants of your previous diet is very hard. 

In reading through Mark 4 and thinking about all of these things last week, I was struck by the similarity of the parable of the sower and the seed with all of the things I have just jotted down above.  The seeds on the wayside are those truths that are just dismissed before they can even be absorbed - truths you just don't even want to hear because you can already anticipate the amount of work you would have to devote towards them.  The seeds in the stony ground are truths that are taken in but when the pushing to trying to root those truths into applicable practices into your life becomes too hard then you stop pushing and leave the plant to die. The seeds that get choked out by the weeds are those truths that are received with gladness but then life gets busy the new plants/changes/disciplines get in the way of things that you have also devoted your life to then they get pushed into the background of life and forgotten.

The process of taking those rocks out of your soil and weeding your heart often of those things that fight against what you know you should do, but also which seem too hard at the moment, is what keeping on in the "hard things" of life does.  It tills the ground and keeps you prepared and in shape for what other tough things lay ahead.  I thought it ironic that one of the concepts that Dianne Craft talks about in eliminating a Candidia infection is to "kill and plant", meaning that not only must you kill the bad yeast infection but then you also must plant in the good bacteria so it can take over and keep fighting off the bad bacteria.  In considering the similarity between what needs to happen in the gut and what type of character is necessary in holding to a diet that would do just that - "kill and plant" - a person must also be one who is willing to do the "hard work" of yanking distractions out of life from their onset (weeding), removing personal obstacle (getting rid of the rocks), and plodding through until the job is done (tilling).

What may you be avoiding today because it seems too hard?  I suggest you pray about your resistance and remember the following scripture as you pray:

Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

If you have been led to a truth that requires hard changes ahead for you, realize that God has led you to those changes and He will not abandon you in pursuing them and making them find root and grow in your life just like any other truth He may share with you.  You just must trust in His leading and then be willing to do the "hard things" He asks of you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hot Pepper Havarti

Havarti is a very mild cheese when made as a plain cheese, but it is also a cheese that does not get in the way of anything you may mix with it and so it makes a perfect cheese to flavor.  This particular cheese I have chosen to flavor with dried heirloom hot peppers we grew in our garden this summer. 

To start off, I partially skim the cream off the cream from my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.


 
Next, after sanitizing my cheese vat, the thermometer, and stirring ladle, I pour all 8 gallons of milk into the vat and set it to medium-high heat on my largest burner.  Until the milk is heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I stir the milk every couple of minutes while checking the temperature.

 
When the milk gets to 90 degrees.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mesophilic culture over the top of the milk.  I get my cultures, rennet, and cheese making supplies from www.thecheesemaker.com and have found his prices to be spot on competitive.  He also has great turn around on products and wonderful customer service.

Stir in the culture.  I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk.  Then, let sit for 30 minutes to ripen.  

After the 30 minutes are up, I then stir the cultured milk again and add a mixture of 1/2 cup water plus
1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid rennet.  I use a vegetarian rennet liquid because it works well for me every time.  Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.

 
Now cover and let the pot sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour maintaining the 90 degree temperature.  Just a note on maintaining temperature.  If you are making a small batch of cheese you will not be able to just turn off the heat and expect your cheese to maintain the same temperature unless your room is 90 degrees also.  But if you make a large batch with 8 gallons, it takes a long time for that must heat to disburse.  I have found that making larger batches is just easier for me since I have so much milk on hand and temperature maintenance is not a problem.

In the meanwhile prepare the hot peppers for the cheese.  First, remove the stems from a few dried hot peppers and put them in a food processor.


After chopping the peppers.


Put the peppers into 4 cups of water and then bring to a boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes.  BEWARE - THIS PROCESS WILL CREATE QUITE A PUNGENT SMELL IN YOUR KITCHEN.  DO NOT BREATH RIGHT OVER THE POT!


Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
 After 45 minutes to an hour, your cheese should have set and it should look like milk jello (notice the time range - this is to make sure the cheese curd is firm before cutting) .  With a sanitized knife, I then cut the curd into pieces.  

Gently stir the curds for 10 minutes after cutting
and then let them settle.


Now, ladle off 1/3 of the liquid.  I find it is helpful to use a sanitized strainer and large measuring cup so that only the whey is taken out and not the curds.



See the line where the whey level used to be?

Now, add back in just about the same amount of 170 degree Fahrenheit water as the whey you just removed.  I heat up 2 quarts of water at a time in the microwave, 3 minutes each time, and stir it in until the entire pot temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


 
Stir the mixture every 5 minutes over a 30 minute period and then drain the majority of the whey off the curds.



Break the curds up and toss with 3/4 cup of pickling salt.


Add in the hot pepper mixture and stir well.


Let sit for 15 minutes in a covered pot. 





Next, put the curds into a large tomme mold, with natural cheese cloth and put the mold into a cheese press on medium pressure for 1 hour.


 
After an hour, take the cheese out of the cloth, turn it upside down and re-wrap it with a poly cheese cloth - it is much easier to remove the final cheese from this type of cloth then the traditional cloth, but I do use the traditional cloth for the first step because it is bigger and it makes wrapping and moving the curd a much less messy process.

 
Now the cheese, in the mold, sits on my counter under medium pressure for 6 to 8 hours.

 

In the morning, I take the cheese out of the mold.  Cut it in half (it is the only way I can shrink wrap my cheese since the full round is too big), place it on a sanitized mat and put in the refrigerator for a few days to dry.  Then flip and dry for a few more days.

 
The cheese, when completely dried, will be ready to eat or store.