July 15: Today was pretty busy.
- I fed my ginger beer by adding another tablespoon of ginger and a tablespoon of sugar. No signs of fermentation yet.
- I started soaking fruit for Christmas Bread. It needs to soak for 4-5 weeks in brandy and sugar. I used fig and plumes that I dried last summer, raisins that I made over the winter and some purchased candied fruit and citrus peel.
- I cleaned out the vinegar crocks. The red wine mother had molded as the level of the wine had gotten too low. Luckily there was a baby underneath, so I started with a new bottle of wine and added the baby.
- I’m still cooking down the peach/fig mixture left over from the wine to make peach butter.
- I picked up some more of the free Dove beauty bars from Albertson’s. I stopped by and the special is not marked anywhere so they aren’t moving even though they’re on clearance. I picked them up to don’t to next years food/toiletry drives for all of our schools.
July 14: The kitchen’s back to normal, so Joe’s brewing a batch of beer. Our first attempt without the kit.
- First he’s steeping the grains (crystal malt) at 158 degrees in 3 gallons of water for 45 minutes. (We cooled the grain and fed it to the chickens.)
- Then add 7 lbs of malt extract and boil for 5 minutes.
- Add 1.75oz of bittering (Northern Brewers Hop) hops.
- Cook for 30 minutes and add .75oz flavoring hops and 1/4 t Irish Moss.
- Cook for another 10 minutes and add .75oz aroma hops and finish boil.
- Cool in an ice bath.
July 13: Not much exciting happening the last few days. The pipe that broke last Friday is apparently a little more extensive than we had hoped. This as I am sitting here with a giant plastic bag (9′ high x 8′ wide x 7′ deep) in my kitchen. Inside is a giant machine that dehumidifies the area above the ceiling and another that is pulling moisture out of the floor. It is very loud, so we’ve had to go on outings quite a bit. I would take a picture, but my camera is broken again. I’ve got to get a new one.
I did transfer the peach/fig wine to a carboy and add the yeast this afternoon. I adjusted the sugar because the reading on the hydrometer was a little low and it chugging away. I didn’t want to waste the solids; they smelled so nice so I ground them up with the food processor and put the into a crock pot. Peach/Fig butter sounds nice.
July 11: Joe (my fantastic husband) found an 8 bottle wine cooler on Craigslist for me to use as a cheese cave. I can regulate the temperature to 55 degrees and put a bowl of water in it to help with humidity. Now I just need the cheese to finish drying so I can wax it.
July 10: This morning I’m starting another batch of “clean out the pantry” wine. I have some applesauce that no one seems to love so I will throw it into a carboy with some extra water and some champagne yeast to see what happens. I’ll put up some pictures later – my camera is broken again. The lens won’t go in and out.
Very fun news……while I was cleaning out the pantry, I came across my Christmas gift from the family from two years ago. Two sets of Weck canning jars (They are so beautiful) and heirloom spinach, lettuce and pumpkin seeds. I’ll try to plant some of each today after I start a loaf of bread for tomorrow.
No Knead Bread from the New York Times
(mine needed a little kneading)
- 1 5/8 cups water
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (I added at least an extra cup the second day)
- ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended; the dough will be wet and sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature.
- The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. I had to move the dough to my mixer, add enough flour to tighten it up into bread dough and work it for about 5 minutes using the dough hook (so maybe mine isnt “no knead”). Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
- Shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour and put the dough seam side down onto the towel, dust with more flour and cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
- At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven, with the baking stone in it to 450 degrees. When dough is ready, carefully transfer it to the baking stone and cover it with a bread cloche. Bake it for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.