Check out Flown the Coop Blog

My friend Emily has a collective blog that I also try to post to from time to time.  It is called Flown the Coop:  A collective and can be found at http://flownthecoopcollective.com.

Flown the Coop (v1.1) is an informal collective based in Wyoming, USA. We share skills, knowledge, goods, and good times. The initial emphasis of this website is to create a place where the group can contribute what we know, what we thought we knew, and to provide insights and inspiration for projects. We also share our adventures and what we’ve learned (even if it was the hard way).”

Come and check it out for ideas, inspiration, and community!

Postnote:  My forays into making Mascarpone cheese was one of my recent posts: http://flownthecoopcollective.com/2012/03/31/homemade-mascarpone-cheese/

One more thing off the list.

Invitations are finally sent after a long process of deciding we (a) weren’t going to buy them from a manufacturer (excuse me, $3 for an invite?) and (b) we weren’t going to make every piece of the invite by ourselves.  We did the conceptualizing, printing and assembly over a couple weeks and we’re pretty thrilled with how they ended up.

For all you crafty people out there, we manufactured them with seed paper (from the Seed Paper People out of Colorado:  http://www.bloomin.com/), vellum, twine, and our printer.  Originally we were going to make our own seed paper.  We prototyped a couple sheets before realizing that if we wanted to send these out before the wedding we would have to forego doing everything ourselves.  We came up with the design through multiple edits and help from friends and family.  The drawing is a photo of our home that we sketched over with tracing paper and scanned.  We then printed out the text on vellum and attached the vellum to the seed paper with some twine.  The result surprised both of us in being an invitation that was personal and something we both loved.  We choose not to include RSVP cards and instead ask people to contact us directly.  For out of town guests, we included some specific directions on an additional sheet of cardstock attached to the back of the invite.  We also included direction on how to plant the seed paper.

A couple of afternoons of construction

And more of addressing gave us a hefty stack to send:

It was definitely time consuming to do all this ourselves, but it was actually kind of fun to just sit and construct.  We used the time to talk… about more wedding plans of course, but also of our other hopes and dreams, frustrations and complications, and to share stories.  And now we have another fabulous memory to add to the stories about us.

Postnote:   A few of these have already gotten lost in the mail or returned to us because of wrong or outdated addresses, so please let us know if you haven’t received one and were hoping to come.

9-grain cereal no knead bread

 

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with no knead bread over the last couple of years.   It’s a great way to make good tasting bread with minimal work. Last weekend I played with the typical recipe (that I purloined from one of my favorite blogs: Onestrawrob’s Cranberry Pecan Bread: http://onestrawrob.com/?p=1755). Using Rob’s recipe as a base, I’ve made a lot of different versions of no-knead bread. This time I had some of Bob’s 9-grain cereal and decided to see how that would work. Here’s what I did:

4 cups water, room temp

4 cups whole wheat flour (I love Wheat Montana Prairie Gold)

3 cups white flour (once again Wheat Montana makes a great all purpose)

1 cup 9 grain cereal

½ tsp dry yeast

½ tsp sea salt or 1 tsp kosher salt

3 Tbsp honey (optional)

Mix water, flours, and cereal together in large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Let sit for 10 minutes (this is called autolyzing which allows starches and gluten to expand and fully absord water, it’s not a necessary step but I like doing it with most of my bread recipes as I like the results-high rise).

Add in yeast and mix well. Sit for 3-4 minutes.

Add salt and honey and mix.

Dough will be very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and put it in a coolish (60-70 degrees) place for 12-18 hours. Or leave out for a couple hours and put in refridgerator for up to 36 hours (If you do this, make sure it comes to room temperature before moving onto step 5.)

Dump out dough on a floured surface and roll/press flat, removing excess CO2 from the dough. Then form it into a ball and let it rest 15 minutes.

Do a second press and form the dough into a loaf (you can do this free form or loaf pan). I like to put it on floured parchment paper at this time so it can be moved easily into it’s vessel.

Let the dough rise for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, about 30 minutes out, Preheat oven to 450 F and place covered container (pyrex, dutch oven, bread cloche) inside oven to heat up.

After dough has risen and oven is at 450 , remove baking dish to stovetop and move dough into the hot baking dish (this is where having it on parchment makes it super easy to move).

Cover, put back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the cover, reduce heat to 425 and bake for another 15-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the crust is hard and deep golden brown.

Cool for as long as you can, at least 10 minute. Remember the bread is still baking at this time and cutting into it will cause steam to escape and may lead to doughy centers. Take this time to gather any topping you want for the bread (I personally love unsalted butter and some homemade jam) and to make yourself a cup of tea.

Enjoy a couple minutes of peace and luxury as you bite into the bread and sip your tea. Be in the moment.

This recipe makes a large family size free-style loaf or two loafs in a loaf pan. If you don’t have a covered container or want to make this in a loaf pan, no worries; just cover using aluminum foil… the bread crust will turn out softer and the crumb tighter than if you steam the bread using a closed container.

There you have it. The bread was a pretty tight grain and dense but definitely good eating. Next time I may reconstitute the cereal before with ½ cup to 1 cup of water and add that to the rest of the flour and water. By adding the cereal dry, I could definitely pick out bits of grain. Or if you have leftover cooked grain cereal, this would be a great way to use it up. I’d also like to try adding an additional cup of the grains and cutting down the white flour to 2 cups.