Monday, August 2, 2010

Primitive Skills!

I very much enjoy primitive skills!
They're like therapy, providing a sense of challenge and accomplishment--inconsequential as it may be, it's so rewarding and such a joy to stand back and say "Yes...I did that"!!

I remember being at Rick's College in a Sociology class with my favorite Professor Hal Hunter.

He had such a zest for life

and also a yearning to "Get Back to Basics".
He commented time and time again about how
"We Need to Maintain our Primitive Skills".

He and his wife Marilyn,
took "maintaining primitive skills" to a whole new level.
He had taken apart the log cabin he was born in and moved it log by log and reassembled it on his property.
The two of them would take one week each summer and live in their cabin. Their cabin had no power, no plumbing and no running water and they had a wood burning stove.
They would cook all week over a fire and in their stove, use lanterns or candles for lights and even used an outhouse.

I still remember the enthusiasm he had for this one week out of the year that they experienced this to "keep up on their primitive skills". This enthusiasm carried over into giving me the desire and excitement to Maintain my Primitive Skills as well.

I have had many people comment to me that
"I can't bake bread because I don't have a Bosch, or a Kitchen Aid or a Bread Machine".

I made bread by hand for over 12 years.

I didn't let having a tiny apartment with little counter space and not having fancy machines keep me from baking healthy bread for my family.

HELPFUL TIP about Wheat Flour...
when I was first married, I didn't have a grinder and so I would buy 5 pound bags of wheat flour, HOWEVER, my loaves were really heavy and almost tasted a little rancid.
We were in a Preparedness Store looking at wheat grinders and the lady told us that wheat flour needs to be ground up fresh in order to make the best bread and if you do grind up extra it will keep for a few months in a sealed container in the freezer.

SO, I always grind up plenty of flour, bake a batch of bread with the fresh flour and put the remaining flour in the freezer (double Zip-loc bagged in gallon freezer bags) and use it up within the month.
Grinding up fresh flour and not using store bought wheat flour has made my bread light and absolutely delicious.

10 years ago we bought
250 pounds of Hard Red Wheat (in preparation for Y2K...LOL) the bread I made from this was really quite dense and so we were talking with family and friends about wheat and they told us about Hard White Wheat and how wonderfully this grinds up.
So we decided to buy 100 pounds of Hard White Wheat to try out.

I grind up half Hard Red and
half Hard White each time I grind up wheat

and this seems to be the perfect blend to make perfect loaves of bread.

Every few months I like to have a
"Primitive Bread Making Day"

to keep up on my skills of making bread the good Old Fashioned way...mixing and kneading it all by hand.

SO, here is how I do that and as you can see it is SO easy!

Kimberly’s Homemade Bread
(our family’s staple)

In a large metal bowl mix together the following:
3 cups HOT tap water
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp. Salt
Stir above ingredients until dissolved.

1 ½ Tbsp. SAF yeast (from years of experience this is by far the best yeast you can get...I have yet to not have anything made with this yeast turn out perfect!)


Let sit until bubbly. (about ½ hour)

Then add 1 more cup WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR and 2-3 cups unbleached white flour (or enough to make a nice soft dough). This recipe can also be made with ALL whole wheat flour—if you have “High Protein” wheat. If your wheat is low in protein you will need to use the “unbleached white flour” to make the loaves rise and not be so dense.

(you may also substitute 1 cup fresh ground oat flour for 1 of the cups of flour—this is exceptionally tasty)

Roll dough in oil in another bowl.
Let rise until double.
Shape into 2 or 3 loaves and let rise.
Bake at 350* for 42 minutes.

This bread FREEZES well and is GREAT for toast, French toast and sandwiches.

It's very fulfilling baking bread for my family and I enjoy it so much!
Mixing, Kneading, Rolling, Shaping and Baking's therapy to me. (kimmie)

Feeling SO grateful
to have the knowledge and skills to be able to take care of my family and for having such wonderful examples in my life that planted seeds when I was a young college student of the FUN it is to "maintain my primitive skills"!


Garden of Egan said...

That's a cute post Kimmie.

When we had dairy cows, we lived in Darlington........the middle of nowhere. That was probably the best thing ever for me. I was forced to shop wisely, buy in bulk and make bread. Of course by hand. I learned such valuable lessons.

You are wonderful and I count myself lucky to call you a friend.

Small House said...

Kimmie....catching up on your last two posts, and you know, you totally kill me!!! Maybe AMAZE me is more like it. HOW DO YOU GET IT ALL DONE?????? SERIOUSLY???? I get home about 4:00, and after 8 hours of work, I'm so darn tired. Write a book, I'll purchase one.

Everything looks delicious, and yummy, and goot to eat.

I threw out soooo much food from our fridge the other day, and I thought of you. Thought that maybe I needed to jump on your band wagon. Such a good thing.

Thanks for always inspiring.
Have a great day.

Connie said...

Your bread looks so much better than any homemade loaf of bread! I agree that it's therapeutic to make bread by hand, but I still enjoy using a mixer too. I made 2 batches of the Lion House rolls recipe today. For my sons' wedding next week, we're having chicken salad sandwiches, which I'm making but I can't bear spending $60.00 for croissants so I'm making larger rolls and putting them in the freezer. I must admit, I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for this project. I'll make rolls every day until I have 150. Not sure why I told you all that.
You are an amazing lady!