Monday, April 20, 2009

Carb Loading

I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver this past week. She and her family move to a farm in Virginia and grow/raise ALL of their food for one year, essentially eating locally and reducing their carbon footprint. Bananas and pineapples, for example, are a huge strain on the environment--having to be trucked/flown in to climates and regions where they don't normally grow, and ultimately proving the destruction of farmers. They eat only what's in season, canning and storing their harvest for the winter months.

While I don't think I'm ready to swear off bananas and pineapples, I do think eating locally is a smart idea. People who eat local produce, dairy, and meat are now called "locavores". They support local agriculture and the local economy. Plus, you get WAY fresher products than what you get in grocery stores. Personally, I find most of the produce at Pick N Save and Wal-Mart to be generally gross, and the produce at Whole Food to be grossly expensive. Trader Joe's I can live with. But I can't wait until Farmers' Market season starts up-I'll be hitting it up every week. Unless anyone knows of a local veggie co-op that I can join...which I desperately want to do.

Besides inspiring me to want to have a huge bountiful garden, this book has inspired me to made my own bread, sauces, and even cheese. Supposedly mozzarella is super easy, and I love fresh mozzarella. Who wants to come over for a cheese making party???

Anyway, I decided to make bread tonite. My first attempt was for dinner, where I pulled out some frozen Rhodes rolls. After the proper rise and bake, I realized two things: 1) you can't consolidate two bags of rolls into one, especially if one is signifcantly older than the other, and 2) they're not nearly as yummy as fresh baked rolls. Look at this debacle, 4 lovely plump rolls, and 5 little duds.

My second attempt was to use my friend Allison's bread recipe. I have no idea if this is a super secret recipe or not, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this blog, heck, she never checks her email, so I'm sure she'll never find out. And none of you will tell her, either. Right?

It's a super easy recipe, and really yummy, especially with the Lion House Honey Butter I whipped up to go with it.

Mix together in a bowl or 2 cup measuring cup:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
In mixer, mix together:
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 Tbsp. salt
Add 5 cups flour to the mixture in the mixer. Mix well. Add the yeast water and 2 1/2 - 3 cups more flour until it starts to clean the sides of the bowl, but is still sticky.

Let it rise 15 minutes, then mix again. Repeat this 2 more times.

Shape into 3 loaves. Let rise again.

Bake at 370 until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 20 minutes.

I guess I'm not very good at dividing by three evenly, because I got two loaves that looked like this:

and one giant behemoth of a loaf that looked like this:

I only had 2 loaf pans....that's my excuse. And yes, Derrick and I ate practically an entire loaf in about 10 minutes.

Hooray for carbs!


Emmy said...

Well I am sure with more practice you will get better! ;) j/k I always think I should make my own bread to as we eat so much of it around here. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jodee Luke said...

I love fresh bread and I'm trying to get better at making...practice practice practice oh and btw I would love a cheese making party hint hint!

J.R.G. said...

Erica and I joined a vegetable co-op a couple of summers ago. We ended up having enough kale each week to feed the Bronx zoo animals for an entire summer. So our attempt at being healthy and friendly to local produce turned out to be somewhat wasteful. Do you want to eat kale every day in the summer?

Sarah said...

Lol. I've been in your apartment Karen. Perhaps you should stick to the Easy Bake Oven before you start up your own bakery.


whitandjoel said...

Thanks for the 'secret' recipe! I am so making this tonight! :)