Garden Gnome Ecosystems

Creating a sustainable system for gnomes to play in.


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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Late last year, I posted one photo about making bread.  Last time we went grocery shopping we bought bread.  It was time to make bread – that grocery store stuff scares me.  How can 100% whole wheat bread be fluffy?

Yesterday, I made bread. Four loaves: three in the freezer, on tempting me in the fridge. If I don’t give in to the temptation of gluten-y, yeasty, nom-y bread, this should last us another three months. Just to be clear, I love bread, but my gut does not. My husband, on the other hand, eats bread sandwiches three times a day – two pieces of bread, one on top of the other – and doesn’t feel a thing.

Molasses in wintertime

First mix honey, molasses, salt and butter. If it’s wintertime. In summer, I’d start the yeast first, but since the butter, molasses and honey did not want to move, I started with them.

Bubbling yeast

Mix yeast and water. Let sit for a little while. (I was still pouring molasses).

Combine the yeasty mixture, and the sugary/buttery mixture. Stir, stir, stir. Not pretty. No picture.

Dump bread onto counter. Knead the bread. I have to stand on tippy-toes to reach my counter. A dream house would have a baking counter, designed for short people. I stand on tippy-toes. Also, my abs still hurt today. Kneading bread is a full body work-out for a short person like me. That and I’m out of shape. So yeah, no picture of me kneading dough in my pajamas.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread rising

Pour some oil in the bowl, plop the bread back in the bowl, and turn a few times to cover – this way, the dough doesn’t dry out. I usually cover with a damp tea towel too, because my cat really likes bread. And beer. Anything with grain and yeast. Not sure why, since they’re supposed to be carnivores.

Let it rise until doubled in size, or when you stick a finger in half an inch or so, the dough doesn’t spring back (slowly, but springing just the same). Start supper.

Punch it down. This part is fun. Rip the dough into four equal parts. You could weigh them, but I just guess. Let them sit for a few minutes. Manically finish making Pad Thai. Shape into loaves (tuck the edges under, until you have a smooth top).

Second rise

Let them rise again, for about an hour (longer if your house is cooler, less if it’s warmer). Somewhere along the way, preheat your oven to 375 (F). Discover husband doesn’t like Pad Thai. Proceed to eat entire pan of Pad Thai, in hopes that this will keep me from eating fresh bread.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. Cool for a few minutes in the pans, on a wire rack, then pop them out and leave them to cool. Allow husband to feed me pizza and beer. ANGRY gut.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Slice bread for a pretty picture, and give in and eat a slice. Nom nom nom. I will regret this.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 4 cups water (lukewarm)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 lbs, 4 oz. whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 lbs. white flour

Directions:

  • Combine yeast and water.
  • Combine butter, molasses, honey and salt.
  • Mix yeasty water into butter, molasses, honey and salt.
  • Gradually add flours (depending on altitude and time of year, perfect amounts might vary)
  • Dump onto counter, and knead, knead, knead.
  • Coat bowl in oil, return dough to bowl, cover dough in oil.  Let rise until doubled.
  • Punch down, divide into 4 even parts, let rest.
  • Shape into loaves.
  • Let rise for approximately 1 hour in buttered pans.  Preheat oven.
  • Bake at 375°F for 35-40 minutes.

adapted very slightly from: http://www.food.com/recipe/wholesome-homemade-honey-whole-wheat-bread-32607


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Rain in Late November

That sounds like a heartsick song to me, but the weather today was certainly melancholy enough to warrant such miserable writing.

The rain though, was a strange thing to see; by now, it’s generally snow or nothing here.  Today it rained all afternoon, leaving tiny icicles on the tree in my front yard and a slippery sheen on the roads, then switched to snow, and covered the glossy streets with a deceiving, pretty layer.

Almost two weeks ago, it was ten inches of snow keeping us inside and off the roads.  Instead of gardening we made bread.

And took pictures of the evidence that some animals don’t seem to mind the snow.

Discussions of workshops on gardens in the spring persist through winter, but that much snow has me thinking about finals, finishing up a semester, and Christmas break.  Jack, ever the helpful animal, thought he could pitch in with the last few essays.