When failures turn delicious and more about bread…

Funny that someone told me the other day that they enjoyed my food blog. This intrigued me, since I never planned this to be a food blog, I guess though that a big part of homesteading (or our version of it) for me is the food end of things. Not buying much food at the store means a lot of cooking, planning, making what we have work, and doing lots of food preparation. This point is driven home in the Winter, when much more time is spent indoors, and meals need to be a bit more creative with less fresh items available. A warm belly is more important, at this time of year too, than at other times of the year, so I guess in the Wintertime, this blog does become even more food focused.

I have been creating more and different kinds of bread this Winter. I have left behind my yeast in a jar, and am working just with sourdough starter at this point. This picture above came out of a sourdough failure. The bread that I made did not cook as long as it should have, and the resulting outcome was very moist dense bread…BUT the crust was crunchy and chewy and fabulous! I ended up making pizzas on, what were basically, sourdough crust heels. I cut off the outer layer of the round loaf, which made use of the crunchy chewy crust. The pizzas were some of the best I have made! The rest of the loaf I diced and dried in the oven to be used as bread cubes for making stuffing.

Here is another “failure”, and where I learned, you cannot rush sourdough bread, or probably any bread for that matter. Here I made a nice fruited sourdough pumpkin bread and a regular loaf of sourdough. I wanted to bring them to someone’s house for dinner, and I didn’t get my timing right, so I had to rush along the rising, and the baking. These loaves were not edible as they were baked, (I kind of knew it would happen), so…I sliced them thinly and put them in the dehydrator. They turned out to be really nice crispy, snacky crackers, in fact they were good enough to try making again, if I can recreate it.

Here they are sliced and going into the dehydrator.

Drying…

Crunchy new snack food, that I broke into cracker sized pizza.

These are what my breads usually look like. One is the sourdough pumpkin bread with dried fruit in it and the other is a simple sourdough bread, great for sandwiches and toast. Getting bread to rise well in the Winter is not the same as Summer bread that rises quickly with the warm temperatures. Our wood stove is in the basement, so sometimes I bring my bread down there to rise in a warmer place!

I’ve made various cracker recipes over the last years, but keeping us stocked on them, as in not buying crackers at the store at all, meant making larger batches. Hubs loves having crackers to snack on at night, and this particular recipe, using sourdough discard, goes super quick.

I use my pasta machine to roll the dough out, and I even have a new tool, a wonderful Christmas gift, for rolling across the crackers before baking so that I don’t have to poke those little holes with a fork anymore. That and a pizza cutter to slice them really streamlines the whole process! They are easily flavored with cheese, or garlic and pepper, or sometimes just dill with a bit of salt.

These were my first sourdough pull apart dinner rolls that I served to company. They came out great, definitely, a make again recipe!

It’s been record breaking cold out for days, and Hubs went to check in on his parents and bring them a resupply of our soup, bread, eggs and these Scuffins! Scuffins are muffins where the batter came out to thick, and turned out a bit more like scones, than muffins, therefore I named them Scuffins! The blueberries from last Summer made them an especially delicious treat!

This here is a big deal! We are adding a room with a fireplace AND a root cellar below it! The circled area will be the root cellar. It will be so great to have it and the wonderful family space above with a toasty fireplace. Having a root cellar will change what we can do here with our garden. We will now be able to try and grow enough potatoes, onions, carrots and squash to last from Fall through Winter and until the next season’s food comes from the garden again. Next year we will sit around the fireplace in the Winter, I can hardly wait for that to happen. These are all exciting changes here!

Things continue to look like this outdoors, which is just fine with me, as always, I continue to enjoy the shorter days, and the “holing up” aspect of Winter, it’s my human version of hibernation.

Why did I think this was so scary and so difficult?

Here she is, my first pressure canner. I mentioned in a recent post that I had gotten one. It was something I was afraid to do for a while, for some reason it seemed complicated and dangerous and turns out it really can’t be dangerous unless you do it wrong, and since it is a super easy process it’s pretty tough to do it wrong!

Raising beef, pork and chicken, we end up with so many soup bones and they take up a huge amount of space in the freezers due to their bulkiness. When I make them into jars and jars of bone broth it helps get more space back in the freezers, but if I then freeze all the bone broth I have a space issue again. Enter the pressure canner. This pressure canner means I can make the broth shelf stable and it’s so nice to be able to pull a jar off the shelf and pour it in a pot and heat it up, rather than thaw it from the freezer. Having this on the shelf I can use it as a soup base, and make all kinds of soups from it. It’s also nice when someone is not feeling so great and there is homemade broth that can be warmed right up.

Bulk bones ready to be roasted and then go into the pot for a 36 hour simmer.

Ready for the maiden voyage.

This gigantic warning looked pretty scary, especially since it’s secured on, and you are told not to remove it!

It was totally easy, and turned out such a pretty color too.

I can see that this is only the beginning!

This day here, was what I call a “kitchen day”. I set these days aside for when I have the time to really enjoy creating. This day yielded, 14 jars of beef broth, 3 jars of beef tallow, 2 dozen sourdough English muffins, 4 quart jars of sourdough cheese crackers and one loaf of sourdough bread. I am working on my scoring, on the bread, and this one I knew did not go so well, ha ha, when Hubs asked, “is it supposed to be a smiley face?”

This is the gold. After I cooked the beef bones and put them into the soup, I scraped every bit off of the sheet pan and put it in the fridge…

After removing the fat, I had this beautifully jelled beef bouillon. I save these in the freezer to add to soups, or use in rice. It makes the flavor of everything I add it to, so much richer!