Archive Tag:baking

Delicious Graham Crackers Please!

Summer camping is in full swing, and the traditional s’more is always welcome fireside.

Setting up our tent in the front yard

Four boxes of graham crackers in one is a bonus of having our Sam’s Club membership. My son loves graham crackers (and so do I), but the day came when I had to tell my 2 year old that we were out of crackers! After the disbelief and tears of a cracker-less kitchen passed, I though “well gosh darn it, why not make them from scratch”. Entering stage left, Pinterest, with its wonderful pins of graham cracker recipes.

I chose two rather popular pins (see them on my pinterest board here). There are the basic ingredients that are the same for both recipes, however here’s the lists of differences:

Homemade Honey Graham Crackers

This recipe has: nutmeg, butter, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and baking soda.

 

https://www.craftsy.com/baking/article/how-to-make-homemade-graham-crackers/

This recipe has: egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and milk.

After completing both recipes a few times, I had my trusty taste testers choose our go to recipe.

Overall, we decided on the recipe from Completely Delicious.  We especially think the dough taste great baked or raw; and for those parents who don’t want their kids eating raw egg, this recipe is also a bonus.

Three  tips I have are:  (1) make sure you roll out thin, thinner than you think you should,                                     (2) check them in the oven at the shortest bake time to make sure they don’t over bake. The edges can get rather crispy quickly.

(3) Even with my Kitchenaid mixing bowl, a double batch was a bit too much at one time

With one batch of graham cracker dough and rolling fairly thin, I was able to get 55 crackers (minus a few that were eaten raw by the family).

Leave a comment below if you have a different graham cracker recipe you like!

Wow! 25 pounds of flour!

Upon moving to a remote little town, one bar- two churches- a post office, we had to rethink our grocery shopping strategy. Even the nearest fully stocked grocery store is about 20 minutes away. Shopping in bulk became a necessity.

If you told me a few years ago that I would be going through 25 pounds of flour every month, I would have thought you crazy. But here we are, on our way to become more self-sufficient! Not only has our quality of food improved, but also the cost of groceries have gone down. Although it may seem like mere pennies, the cost of sandwich bread ($3-4), hamburger buns ($2-3), brat buns ($3-4), and pasta ($1-3) add up.

Here’s a list all of the things I made with this particular sack of flour.

3 Pizza crusts

4 Pasta Dinners

 

7 loaves of sandwich bread

48 cupcakes and 1 smash cake

2 double crust pie crusts

5 brat buns

7 Dinner rolls/hamburger buns

 

Having made all of these items, I have concluded that I can’t go back to buying certain baked goods from the grocery store. Hamburger and brat buns are especially ones that I can’t buy. The time it takes to make them (8 mins kneading, 10 mins rest, shape and rest another 40 mins, 15 in the oven), is well worth the freshness and flavor without added preservatives.

 

 

Bread Machine vs Oven

Companies are always finding new ways to make things convenient- especially when it comes to food prep! I am reminded of the opening credits to Stepford Wives– with Nicole Kidman- and the 1950’s women dancing around their kitchens because of all the new gadgets that make cooking huge, 50’s meals faster and easier. Flash forward to today, and meals can be delivered to you in a box ready to eat.

But what about fresh bread?
I was one to always go to the prepackaged bread aisle in the store.  But my husband had high hopes that if he bought me a bread machine, we would be eating fresh bread all the time! He thought it would be fast and convenient: you put the ingredients in- like a crock pot- and walk away. 7 years later with only a few uses, I have hence sold my dust collecting machine. The primary reason for selling it: I received the book below and supplies to make bread in the oven.

So how do you decide which method is best for you?

  1. Give yourself a reality check: Are you really going to use the bread machine, or do you like baking (maybe a stress reliever)? I do more baking with this method now than I have in the past 7 years owning a bread machine.
  2. Quality: Had I used my bread maker more often, then maybe my bread would have been better. However, most of the 2 lbs. loaves I got out of the machine were dense and really too big for grilled cheese sandwiches. Now making my sandwich bread (still 2 lbs.) in a loaf pan with the recipe from the book above, they are airy and a great size (loaf like instead of a box shape). And my husband says the bread I make now tastes a lot better!
  3. Time/Effort: The lady that bought my machine said this was her third machine -she kept burning out the motors- and she uses it just to make the dough not bake it. The time it takes me to whip up a batch of dough is minutes….and if you have a stand mixer, you don’t have to do the stirring. Then I just set the container on the counter to let it rise for 2 hours (which if I remember correctly, is how long the bread maker takes to rise as well?).
  4. Quantity: The main recipe in this book gives you enough dough for almost 4 one pound loaves. Whatever dough I don’t use right away, just stays in the container and lives in the fridge. The next time I get dough out, it is ready to go! I have made one larger free-form loaf and a few rolls or two sandwich loaves from one batch of dough.


    So from my personal experience: I prefer oven baking over bread machine baking, and I think my bread baking skills have increased greatly since switching to the oven!