Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shells, Chicks and Rustic Bread



Carl's Shells
My Blogger Friend Carl, (who won my Lucky Horseshoe Giveaway), was very kind and made a special trip out to an island near his home and played Beachcomber. He gathered enough shells for all of my third graders (and Ruth and me) to create a cool project. Stay tuned for the project!
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(Carl also sent some other very cool items, and I am saving those for another post.)



Sauteed Scallops anyone?

Chicks Update
Broody has done a remarkable job of keeping her brood alive and kicking. They will be four weeks old this week. The white chick started sprouting some head tassels. She must be half Polish Crested!






Italian Rustic Bread
I have never made a loaf of bread from scratch before, except when we used to have a breadmaker and I would toss in a mix. Well, yesterday I bought some yeast and some bread flour and scrounged around for an interesting recipe. This one used a "Biga" that I made the day before. This bread did taste so good, it made us want to make some every weekend! I am no bread expert, and maybe some of the bubbles are a bit too big, but I think I have just found a new hobby.


Fresh Bread and Fresh Eggs

These are the good old days!



Ruth and I were talking about bread today and we wondered how did we Americans get so far away from great bread. Growing up in the 1960's we would buy ten loaves of white bread for a dollar, and toss eight of them in the freezer. They would all be gone by the next shopping day. Yummy!, white bread with oleo. A side note on the oleo: We lived in Wisconsin back in the 60's and oleo was white and it came with the yellow food coloring if you wanted to make it look like butter.


In 1928 the automatic bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder, in Iowa. This invention, coupled with the need for speed, allowed housewives extra time each morning as they juggled making toast and making sandwiches for growing families on the go. Believe it or not, in 1943 there was a short-lived ban on selling sliced bread! Apparently the need for heavier wrapping and the extra cost for labor made it a target for cost-cutting measures during World War 2.


White bread has been considered a sign of luxury since the Middle Ages. The color of your bread was directly related to your social standing. The lighter your bread, the richer you were! Today, it is the opposite. We are willing to pay premium prices for whole grain breads.


If you Google French bread, or Italian bread, you will undoubtedly find loads of great-looking breads. If you Google American bread, I think you'll see the difference.


We used to live in Istanbul, Turkey (1985-1988) and our door man delivered two loaves of piping hot bread, directly from the bakery one building away for a whopping ten cents per loaf. Each morning, we would have the butter and honey, as well as the Turkish Olives ready for a delicious breakfast.


I think the winds of change are a-blowing across America in more ways than one. I think we are discovering good bread, and perhaps we will start to expect that our bread is not just filling, but also that is delicious!

54 comments:

ChristyACB said...

Oh the bread in Turkey...I remember it too. And don't forget a nice big slice topped with some of their white cheese and a fresh tomato slice.

You're so right..winds of change.

Don said...

Christy: I forgot about the white cheese! The food in Turkey is so incredible. Just thinking about it makes me want to go for a visit.

Iskender Kebabi!

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Oh how much have those lil chickadees grown!
Your bread making looks very successful and would be filling the house I am guessing with that fresh baked bread aroma...Mmmmmmm

Lanny said...

Congratulations on the shells.

I love the chick's top knot she is adorable!

And welcome to the world of hand made bread! We love creating all sorts of lovely bread, rolls, buns of absolutely every sort. You will too! By the way, about the whole, "no bread expert" thing, your palate is the only expert you need. Unless you plan on entering a contest!

Stiggy said...

Is there nothing you can't turn your hand to Don!?

That bread looks delicious! Don't worry about the bubbles - makes for more interesting bread eating!

Your chicks look GREAT matey - but then they ARE being brought up by you and Broody - what a team!

:D

Ali said...

The chicks are looking great! Someday I want to have a hen that will hatch out her own chicks...

Homeade bread, YUM Try the no-knead bread, it is delicious! The recipe was in the NY Times a year or so ago, and recently the Times posted a no-knead pizza dough recipe, too. If you Google it you'll find lots of recipes, including one on Henbogle http://henbogle.wordpress.com/2006/11/19/beautiful-bread/
Have fun!
Ali

Susan said...

Don, that bread looks fantastic! And not too many holes, just more space for the EVOO or butter to soak in! Yum! I'm going to try the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day loaf this week. I finally got a pizza stone which is required for the baking of it.

I remember in high school, they always offered a choice of white bread or "brown" bread. Brown it was. Food coloring and caramel flavoring. I didn't know any better then, but I chose it anyway. I think I was the only one who ever ate it!

I love the shells, but tell us about the table they're sitting on. That is gorgeous! Did you get it in Turkey?

The chicks look so cute and healthy! Broody is an excellent mama!

warren said...

We had an "ah ha" moment about a year ago and I've been baking bread since...it's hard to beat and you'll get a rhythm such that it won't take long at all to keep yourself in bread!

Cool shells btw. Can't wait to see the project!

VioletSky said...

I do love a good tasty slice of dense, laden bread. I was commenting to a friend the other day about how small the bread loaves had become, and then remembered that she wouldn't have noticed, because her husband bakes bread every week and has done so for over 20 years. Their kids were surprised to learn no one else's daddy baked bread!

And you really got quite the cache of shells!

Hot Belly Mama said...

what an interesting tidbit about white bread! It used to also be that if you were overweight, it was a sign of weath since it signified to everyone around you that you had plenty to eat! Now people say they can't afford to buy healthy foods to stay thin.

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Well you know I came to check up on the chicks, wow they are really growing, but I also have to say I really enjoy fresh baked bread almost as much as any cake or cookies. You are right, when did we let ourselves get to the point of eating bread with no flavour.

Don said...

Cupcakes The little chicks are getting frisky, I'm wondering when I can put them into the coop with the big kids?

I am definitely a bread guy

Don said...

lanny: I am going to scour your blog for bread recipes. I'm sure you have tons there,

I think the only contest I will enter is to see how much bread I can eat without getting FAT!

Don said...

stiggy: good recipes are key for me! I love to dabble.

Broody is a great mom, I just add food and water, and some other treats.

Don said...

ali: that bread does look delicious! I may have to try the enamel pan baking method

Don said...

susan: I have several pizza stones, and haven't used them for a while. I will use them onmy next loaf.

That's funny about the dyed bread we think is healthy.

That table is actually a dresser we found in old town lansing. it was made in Italy and I don't know how old it is.

We had a blue and gold guest room at a former house and this fit in just right.

Don said...

warren: I'm glad to find another baker man! We'll have to share some recipes, as soon as I get more than one.

Don said...

violetsky: Yea! Another baker man! A good slice of bread can make any day brighter.

I agree, Carl did a great job gathering shells.

Don said...

hot belly mama: isn't that ridiculous that healthy food is the most expensive!

Major garden plans for this year coming!!

Don said...

Nobody but us chickens: Thanks for stopping to check out my chicks!

I agree, good bread is right up there with any other baked good.

Don't forget the butter!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don, Your Turkish breakfast of olives, butter, honey and homemade bread makes my mouth water..!!!

Don said...

gwen: I forgot to metion the chai. The turks are huge tea drinkers and they use the cutest little glasses. The villagers put a chunk of raw sugar in their mouths and drink their tea through the sugar. As you can imagine, many of them are missing their front teeth!

Eliane said...

That is a seriously good-looking loaf and I don't think the bubbles are too big. Never been to Turkey but I used to live in an area with lots of Turkish shops and restaurants I miss them - the bread, the herbs sold in huge bunches.

GardenGirl said...

You refer to the little white one as 'she'. Can you sex your chickens yet? Do you know what you've got? They are so cute...

I wonder what colour their eggs will be. Marbled? Blended? Or is there a dominance for egg colour? Hmm...

Don said...

Eliane: I am going to try this recipe again and knead it a bit more, and also divide it into two smaller loaves.

Turkish food is really good...

Don said...

gardengirl: i don't really know what sex any of them are yet. I am guessing that the white one is a hen. I can see mini spurs on 4 of the chicks, and am kind of assuming that those are roos. The other three don't have those. I do have several hens with spurs.

Egg color will be interesting I have read that the easter eggers green/blue is a dominant gene and hens will lay green/blue eggs. The maran rooster has the chocolate egg gene in him, so the eggs will be interesting. I'll let you know in about four months!

rhonda jean said...

Hi Don. Bubbles are good! and that bread looks absolutely delicious. It's always nice to see chicks with their mother. Looking forward to seeing your shell project.

Farmgirl Susan said...

That's a gorgeous loaf of bread - especially for your first effort! Welcome to the wonderful world of bread baking! May you never go back to storebought. ; )

Farm Chick Paula said...

Well, we won't talk about my adventure in bread making last week, Don.... *ahem*... but yours looks wonderful!! Hubby and I love loaves of bread like that with Marinara sauce for dipping- I could make a meal on that!

Love the pics of Broody and her brood!
(Hmmm... sounds like a good name for a country music group- Broody and the Brood...LOL)

Kanani said...

Gorgeous photos! Came here through Lanny!!

Sandy said...

Great photoso and I want some of that bread! Looks delicious. Your little chicks are getting big!

Loring Wirbel said...

Those bread bubbles are NOT too big. Looks delicious! I'm mixing the olive oil and wine vinegar now.

Janine at Rustic Kitchen said...

I just discovered your lovely blog. I'm in Fennville, in southwest Michigan and blog at RusticKitchen.com Looks like we're kindred.

Denise said...

Oh shucks, I hadn't been able to keep up with my favorite blogs in a while. So glad to see you have some beautiful chicks. Can't wait to watch them grow up.

Bob Johnson said...

Ruth's food pics are to die for, love them and your chicks are too cute. Sad I didn't get the horseshoe though but your friend did collect some neat shells.

carl h. sr. said...

Hi Don,
Sorry it takes me so long to get back to you with a comment.
I'm tickled about the shell post!
I really enjoyed the whole project.
That bread would sure be good with some baked chicken and gravy!

julie king said...

i so love visiting your blog! i think i told you before that i grew up in indiana farm country and even though we didn't live on a farm we were farmers (my maiden name). hee hee
with the turn in the ecomony i've been trying to convince my hubbie to buy a few acres in the country and try to live at least partially off the land -- our own chickens and eggs, a milk cow, a big garden. sounds gret to me. to him, not so much! keep doling out the country inspiration, don!!

Don said...

rhonda: I agree with you pn all counts! Broody is a gret momma, the bubbles in the bread are all gone now. Did I actually eat the bubbles? I believe I did, with some help from Ruth.

The shell project is coming soon.

Don said...

farngirl susan: I love making bread, even tho I have only made a few loaves. I made some whole wheat bread today. It turned out OK. I was not as impressed with this recipe as I was with the rustic one.

Don said...

paula: I am going to go and check out your blog and see if you posted any pics of your recent bread making. I think a contest of who makes the worst looking loaf, not on purpose, should win some sort of ugly loaf award. I had one today that looked like molten lava.

Ginnie said...

I have never for the life of me understood WHY we Americans have liked white bread, Don! One of the things I MOST like about Europe is the GOOD bread (the darker the better) and that usually does NOT have preservatives and can spoil quickly...but is SOOOOOO good! It's the kind of bread you think you COULD live on alone! Good for you. Just what you needed...another hobby. Are you sure you're not a Gemini?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Yikes Don, I better cut down on the sugar!!!

Don said...

kanani: thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed a few moments looking through your interesting blogs. I'll go back and be more thorough!

Don said...

sandy: homemade bread is verey addicting. I think I'll have another slice.

THe chicks may be heading to the big coop next week to play with the big kids. New batch on the way to the brooder.

Don said...

loring: toss in some tuscan spices and I'll be right with you!

Don said...

janine: You're just down the road a piece from us. You sound like you have an interesting life. I need to check out all of your recipes.

Don said...

denise: I have a hard time keeping up with blogs these days myself. It seems like I am either too tired, or have too many papers to grade.

Don said...

bob: Ruth lets me play with the 3d glasses! I think i had a headache for two days after wearing them around the house looking for anything that would look cool through them.

Don said...

carl: you're becoming famous around here for your shells! I am ready for some of that chicken and gravy right now!

Don said...

julie: hey, I''m not talking to you. I was so positive I was going to win your giveaway that I opened an art gallery in which to display my prize! OK, not really.

The more involved I get with self-sufficiency, the better I feel. Gardening is next on my agenda.

Don said...

ginnie: I so agree with you about Euro-bread. I think we Americans get so caught up with convenience that we leaveimportant things behind.

I love good bread!

Don said...

gwen: your closed-lip smile gives it all away.

pass the sugar please

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