Bagels Anyone?

(Bryan’s Homesteading Level 2)

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We love bagels! Bryan spends way too much money on the pepperoni bagels at Wawa, and decided to make them himself. He used to just buy the bagels, provolone cheese, and pepperoni which in itself was a huge cost savings. But, of course he always wants to go a few steps farther. Since he has already mastered the cheese making, (I know, I know, we still haven’t shared that with y’all yet. I promise it is coming.) he planned on bagel making as his next project. He found this recipe on Jill’s blog, theprairiehomestead.com. If you have never read any of her blogs, you must check her out. She’s a rock star of the homesteading blog world!

Homemade Bagel Recipe

Dough:

  • 1 T instant yeast
  • 4 c flour (we used our fresh milled)
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 ½ c warm water (we used whey)

Water Bath:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T sugar

Instructions:

Mix all dough ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. We used the stand up mixer, because I don’t do vigorously for 10 minutes. The dough will be stiff. (I’m glad she added this, because I would of added more whey for sure.)

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 1 ½ hours. This is more to relax the gluten, than to let it rise. It will rise some, but not like other yeast dough. (Our dough rose a ton, so we may have done something wrong here.)

On a floured work surface, divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest again for 30 minutes. Note: The more round your balls are, the easier it will be to get a round bagel. I have a horrible time getting anything into a perfectly round ball, so some of ours were a little off.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water and brown sugar to a gentle boil in a wide pan. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Use your pointer finger to poke a hole through the center of the each ball, then twirl the dough on your fingers to stretch the hole until it is about 2 inches in diameter (we didn’t spin them …. picture letting a 9 year old and a 44 year old spinning dough on their fingers, not gonna happen in my kitchen. We poked a hole with our fingers, and gently pulled them apart to look like a bagel). These will puff up quite a bit once you boil them.

Transfer the bagels to the simmering water gently. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip then cook 1 more minute. Remove bagels from the water and place on your baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels had their chance in the hot tub.

Bake the bagels for about 20 -25 minutes, or until they’re browned to your preference. If you want to top with seeds, you would do this after about 15 minutes in the over, remove, brush with water and sprinkle with seeds. Finish out the baking. Cool then enjoy!

We tried our store bought bagels compared to our fresh bagels in a pepperoni and cheese test. Surprisingly we both agreed the store bought was better. I think our fresh made bagels had too much flavor of their own to be paired with the pepperoni and cheese. (I know crazy right?) I think our bagels still had a little bit of a “breadish” texture inside them. Our favorite bagel in the cream cheese and homemade jelly test was absolutely our fresh bagels. I can’t wait to try this recipe again, maybe knead the dough longer to see if that makes a difference in the texture.

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Whole Wheat White Bread

(Bryan’s Homesteading Level 2)

This is the most basic bread recipe I have ever done. So many people has asked for this recipe, I’m almost embarrassed to show how easy it is. But here it is! This is easier than it sounds, just try it.

This is a picture of Bryan’s “bread cart” and our mill.

First off: We always use fresh milled Hard Winter White berries for our flour. Also, we use coconut oil for just about all our oil needs. With all the cheese Bryan has been making, we have a ton of whey in the fridge, so we change out whey for water anytime we can. I must say this is a huge game changer!! (Try it!) If you need some, let us know. I hate to pour this liquid gold down the drain, but it’s taking over the fridge and freezer. Lastly, we use honey instead of white sugar, but that’s just me. I have baked this recipe using store bought flour, olive oil, and sugar for a taste test at the fire station. All the guys liked my variation over the regular one. I’ve actually been threaten to be banned from the station, because everyone is trying to be healthy. But the fresh milled flour is healthy, at least for your gut and intestines.

Heat your whey to 95 degrees, stir in honey and sprinkle yeast over top. Stir yeast for about 10 seconds, then let it sit for 10 mins. Trust me, time and temperature make a huge difference. Then add your oil to this mix.

Mix your liquid ingredients into your bowl that has the flour and salt in it. Once this is mixed well, I kneed it in my stand up with the dough hook for about 6 – 10 mins. until dough is smooth, elastic and pulls away from the bowl. Add more flour if needed.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise about 30 mins. Use the poke test – when poked a half inch with a damp finger, dough should feel firm and keep it’s shape, not fill back in. (Sorry, I forgot the after picture of the first rising. Still working on this whole blogging thing.)

Punch the dough down, divide and place into well oiled bread pans. Cover and let rise again. Use the poke test again, but this time when poked a half inch with a damp finger, dough should slowly fill in. (we are still figuring out this “poke test”)

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Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25 – 28 mins.

Slice, butter, and enjoy!!! Now just try not to eat the whole loaf today. I hope you and your family love this bread as much as our family does. Please leave a comment down below and tell us what y’all think.

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I will warn ya, if you used the fresh milled flour like we do, this will help your regularity. (or as my sister in law said, It’ll make you poop!)

White Bread

  • 3 c warm water (whey)
  • 1/4 c sugar (honey)
  • 1.5 T yeast
  • 1/2 c oil (coconut)
  • 1 T salt
  • 6-7 c flour (I always start with 7 c if using fresh milled, start with 6 c if store bought)
  1. Dissolve sugar in water, add  yeast. Let sit 10 min.
  2. Add oil.
  3. In a mixing bowl add flour and salt.
  4. Pour in water and oil mixture into mixing bowl.
  5. Knead until dough is smooth, elastic, pulls away from the bowl. (6-10 min)
  6. Cover, let rise until doubled. (or poke test)
  7. Punch down, divide and form into 2 loaves. Place in oils pans.
  8. Cover, let rise again. Back at 375 degrees for 25 – 28 mins.

Snow Chilled Wine

What do you do when you’ve been snowed in for 4 days, need wine, and the cork remover breaks? I thought about crying, but I’m not much of a crier.

This was the last bottle of wine in the house, and was properly chilled outside in the foot of snow and ice we have on the ground. We broke mom’s cork remover thingy, that I was so rudely told is called a corkscrew, while my mother laughed at me. Yeah, I guess I’m more of a liquor girl, those bottles don’t have stupid corks that need specialized tools with specific names to open them. You just twist and drink. Sorry for the rant.

Googling we go, to find alternate ways of uncorking a wine bottle. We tried bottle in the shoe method, didn’t work for us. Then we tried using scissors to stab and pull the cork out, yeah, that was a mess. About half the cork came up. We tried pliers and the broken screw part, that finally chipped the bottle. Now we have tiny glass and cork pieces all over the counter and floor. In the end, we just pushed the rest of the cork down into the wine. Yay, wine is happening, I need it more now than the hour ago when we started this process.

I know what you’re thinking, what about the glass and cork pieces… we are smart, we strained the wine through a dish towel into each wine glass. We use the dish towel trick when we make cheese and jellies, wait until you hear about that fiasco. This is the best tasting wine ever, maybe it’s just all the work that went into opening it. It really shouldn’t take an hour just to have a glass of wine after dinner.

Come on Spring, or at least temperatures above freezing!

Chicken & Dumplings

We have major cabin fever, still snowed in at my mom’s house. I have so much at home we could be doing around the house. But it may still be a couple of days before we go home. We live down a two mile dirt road, which may not sound like a long drive to the hard surface road, but it winds like a snake. Not to mention the up and down hills, and ditches on both sides. Also there is only four homes the last half of the road, and we are the very last house. Needless to say, no one comes down our road. If you don’t live there, it’s one of those roads that you’re listening for banjo music coming from the woods.img_4632

Back to the Chicken and Dumplings: We have been trying to come up with something to make for dinner, but my mom’s kitchen is not stocked like our own. She did have a rotisserie chicken and a quart of Rachel Ray’s chicken stock which made me think of chicken and dumplings. Yum! Talk about warm comfort goodness. I must warn ya, I’ve never made dumplings from scratch. I’ve always just cut up biscuit dough and used that. (don’t tell anyone) So after my google search, I found an easy looking recipe for Cracker Barrel Copy Cat Dumplings. Score! We don’t have our wheat berries or mill, but she does have all purpose flour, so that worked. I added the recipe we used below, but we modified ours of course. We hardly ever follow a recipe exactly. Bryan says this is a level 3 homesteading attempt.  (He will have to explain his levels later, I won’t even try to. Mostly because I don’t understand them myself.)

After shredding up mom’s rotisserie chicken, I added all the extra parts to another pan with water in it to make up another quart of chicken broth. While Bryan mixed the dumpling dough up, I poured the quart of broth into my stock pot of shredded chicken. Let me just add that the recipe says a pinch of salt, use about a teaspoon instead. We kept adding salt, and still had to add some at the dinner table. Us being the lazy homesteaders we are, we decided to make drop dumplings like Grandma used to instead of the rolled out pretty ones that Cracker Barrel has. Let me tell you, they are just as great, without all the work and messy clean up. In the end, we added the extra broth I made to the stock pot, and brought it all up to a boil. Then dropped our dumplings in, and cooked for about 20-25 mins. It was serious goodness in a bowl.

This was super easy, if you have never made dumplings, you really need to try it. People will feel super special because they will think you slaved all day for them.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 quarts Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups Cooked Chicken

Instructions

  1. Boil chicken first. After chicken is completely cooked, removed the cooked chicken and shred it into smaller pieces. Set it aside to make the dumplings.
  2. You can use leftover chicken for this recipe also. If you don’t boil your chicken, or are using leftovers, you can heat up 2 quarts of chicken broth you purchase from the store.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl.
  4. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.
  5. Stir in the milk with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
  6. Heavily flour a work surface. You’ll need a rolling pin and something to cut the dumplings.
  7. Roll the dough out thin with a rolling pin. Be sure to dust your rolling pin with flour before you use it to prevent sticking. Then cut into strips or squares. These do not have to be perfect by any means. You want them all about the same size so they will all cook the same.
  8. Next, use a spatula to put them back in the bowl the dough just came from. Dust any with flour if you notice then sticking. Don’t worry about using too much flour though. The extra flour dust helps create the thicker soup sauce.
  9. To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in a small amount at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and Voila!  Yum!