Monthly Archives: July 2010

  • Rolling In The Dough

    By Angie Sullivan

    Do you think that making fresh homemade whole wheat bread is out of your reach? Think again! With a few simple tips and this straightforward recipe, you’ll soon be rolling in the dough!

    If you are like me, homemade bread is one of the most intimidating things about food storage. For those of you who grew up making bread, this may seem a little ridiculous to you, but there was a time when I was mortified of yeast. It’s true! Any recipe that called for yeast, and kneading, and heaven forbid, “rising”, was seemingly out of my reach and usually sent me out to buy the store-made equivalent. Then, one day I decided it had been long enough, and I began to “rise” to the occasion!

    A few internet searches and several botched loaves later, I found a recipe that works for me every time. It’s simple, requires only a handful of ingredients, and makes a whopping 6 loaves. (After all, who wants to put all that effort into making bread if you can’t send a loaf over to your neighbors and then bask in their praise?)

    I wish I could credit someone with this recipe, because I’m sure they deserve the glory, but I simply wrote the recipe on a grocery list scrap paper many years ago and it has been in my recipe index ever since:

    6 cups hot tap water
    3 Tablespoons yeast
    2/3 cup oil
    2/3 cup honey
    2 Tablespoons salt
    3 Tablespoons Dough Enhancer
    16-20 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

    I use my Bosch Universal Mixer for this recipe, but it can be done by hand. Obviously, you’ll be doing a lot of kneading if you do it by hand and it will take more time, but the results will be worth the effort! Begin by combining the 6 cups of hot tap water with 3 Tablespoons of yeast and only 2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Mix and allow to “sponge” for 15 minutes. If your yeast is good, the mixture should be foamy and smelling “yeasty”. At this point, go ahead and add all the additional ingredients except the remainder of the flour. I always add my oil first, so the honey will not stick to the measuring cup. I use Dough Enhancer to help make the loaves lighter and fluffier.

    Once all the ingredients are in the mixer, you can begin adding the flour, one cup at a time. One of the biggest mistakes first time bakers make is adding too much flour. The dough should not stick to your finger if you poke it, but it should not be dry either. The fresher the flour, the less time spent kneading the dough. It usually takes 15 minutes or so in the Bosch at speed 1. You know the dough is ready when you can stretch the dough between your hands and it doesn’t break immediately. You should almost be able to create a “window” in your dough. This is very easy to recognize with white flour, but it is a little harder to see with wheat. Just make sure your dough allows you to stretch it a few inches without breaking and you should be fine.

    Once you’ve finished the kneading process, divide the dough into 6 sections. Take each section and shape into an oval mound. I like to pull the dough from the top and gather it at the bottom so the top is smooth and finished looking. Now lay your loaves in your greased bread pans and allow it to rise. I accomplish this by turning my oven on to warm. Then I turn the oven off and put the loaves in. I let them rise until double in size, this takes about 30 minutes. Once they are finished rising, I simply turn the oven to 350 degrees and allow them to bake about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread and enjoy the delicious aroma that will be wafting into the kitchen. The bread should be lightly browned and when thumped they should produce a hollow sound.

    Allow your bread to cool on racks for several minutes, and then slice and serve! I’m sure you can imagine the aroma and almost taste that tender bread! Go on, it won’t be as hard as you think. Just follow these simple instructions and before you know it, you’ll be rolling in the dough!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • The Daily Grind

    Ready to use all those bread recipes you’ve found? Then, you’ve gotta get grinding!

    Last week we discussed incorporating some of your food storage recipes into your family’s menu. You will find that many recipes call for grains that have been ground into flour. Whether you plan on using a hand grain mill or wish to invest in an electric mill you can use on a regular basis, we can all agree that in order to take that wheat from whole kernel to melt-in-your-mouth bread…you may need to submit yourself to the daily grind!

    For preparedness purposes, many choose to purchase a hand grain mill. It is a simple machine that uses your own elbow grease to make wholesome flour and even cracked cereals. It does not require electricity, which makes it a smart choice for your food storage pantry. As you shop for your mill, be certain you are purchasing an easy-to-use, quality machine. An emergency is no time to be wishing you had a mill that worked better or was easier to you! Once you have your mill, don’t leave it sitting in the box- get crankin’! See how much flour you can produce in a minute, make sure you are comfortable with how the grinder works, be certain it produces a flour fine enough for bread dough, and most of all, make sure it is easy for you to use!

    As we have previously discussed, many of us will use our food storage during times other than emergencies. Illness, unemployment, and other financial distress can be the reason why many will turn to their food storage for help with the budget. Or, if you are like me, you are interested in making homemade bread, fresh and healthy for your family.

    As you consider the options for electric mills, take the time to research a few things. First of all, find out how many cups of grain the “hopper” (the top of the mill, which holds the whole kernels before they are ground) can hold. You don’t want to be constantly feeding the hopper if you don’t have to be! Find out how many cups of flour the mill can grind per minute. Electric grain mills tend to be quite loud, so be sure to use this as a factor in determining which mill you purchase. Be sure the mill you are purchasing allows you to vary the flour’s consistency. Lastly, consider how the mill is cleaned and whether the milling process will leave you in a big mess. Some mills are messier than others. (Just like some of us!)

    If you are like me you will want to try your grinder before purchasing it. Emergency Essentials store locations have grinders “on hand” for this purpose. Try before you buy!

    Acquiring your own grain mill is a big step towards preparing your food storage grains for use, and if you choose wisely, your mill will prove a blessing for years to come. After all, having a mill that does most of the hard work for you will certainly help you cope with “the daily grind!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • Recipe For Success!

    By Angie Sullivan

    Want a recipe for food storage success? Make sure your family gets to sample your food storage menu!

    Last week we discussed taking the time to research and gather important information for your food storage. I suggested you find food storage recipes, maybe even purchase some books on cooking with food storage. Now, I’m asking you to try a few of those recipes out!

    Think of it this way, if you were planning on trying out some new foods on your family, what would you do? You’d find the best recipes you could, and then you’d give them a try. Why should food storage be any different? Do you have buckets of beans and wheat, yet your family has never even eaten a meal with those items incorporated? Well, now is the time to put on your chef’s hat and get to work!

    Here are few simple suggestions on how you can begin to cook with your food storage:

    - Choose one night a week that you will incorporate a food storage item. Begin with something simple like soaking beans instead of using a canned chili bean.

    - Choose one family night a month where you will cook an entire meal from food storage! Get the whole family involved.

    - Go to your local library and check out recipe books, or go online for new recipes or even video’s on how to use your food storage.

    - If your family enjoys camping, use that as an opportunity to try out a few of those MRE’s you purchased, or a freeze-dried meal.

    - If you have never learned to make bread, schedule time with someone who can show you hands-on how to achieve a wonderful loaf of bread!

    - Get together with friends who are interested in food storage and plan a food storage potluck! That way, you get to try several different food storage dishes all at once without having to do it all yourself. Make sure you swap those recipes afterward!

    Now is the time to incorporate more food storage recipes into your family’s daily life. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that making your own bread is a wonderful family activity, or that you make a mean three bean soup! Whatever your situation, or wherever you are in your food storage process, you can put some of your recipes into action! You will have peace of mind knowing that you can make a wonderful meal should hard times arise, and your family will appreciate the familiarity of recipes tried and true. So, get that apron on and try this recipe for success!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • Hit the Books!

    By Angie Sullivan 

    There is a test that you might need to take any day now, have you taken the time to gather the information you need to ace the big exam?

    My husband is currently in college, and I watch him pour over his books in preparation for a test. He tries to commit to memory everything he reads. He spends countless hours reviewing, and hopes in the end that everything he has studied will sink in and he will be able to recall it when test time comes.

    We’ve spent many weeks discussing food storage and preparedness. But, if an emergency situation occurred tomorrow, would you be ready for the “test”? Don’t panic, here is the good news: This test can be an open book test. Yes, you can use any and all the information you’ve collected to help you. You just have to have it on hand!

    Want to know how to prepare those dehydrated foods you’ve stored? Make sure you’ve collected in hard copy form some of the recipes you love. Consider purchasing some of the amazing food storage cookbooks available. Peruse the internet and print off the articles you find helpful and keep them in a binder. Consider sources like FEMA, the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, and companies like Emergency Essentials for extra information you might need. Most likely, our good friend Google won’t be available should an emergency take place, so get it down on paper now!

    Does your emergency kit contain information on how each item is used? What about the tools you have stored? Do you know how to use the bung wrench and siphon pump or hose you have stored with your water barrel? If you do, that is wonderful, but having a short explanation on hand for others in your family would certainly be helpful. My husband and I own a portable propane stove for an emergency, but I realized just recently during a camping trip that he is the only one who knows how to use it. What if he is injured or is needed to help elsewhere and I am left to cook for the family? I need to learn how to use it, and even make sure the owner’s manual or an explanation of how to use it is easily accessible to me.

    Consider putting together your own personal library of resources. A binder with the printed information you’ve found, a collection of owners manual’s for the tools you have on hand, information on how to shut off gas lines and other home safety guidelines, a first aid manual, and cookbooks are just a few of the items your library should contain.

    Now, imagine that the time has come for your preparedness “test.”. Not only do you get the open book version, but you’ve got an entire library for you to glean from! Imagine this scenario and you’ll be glad you’ve taken the time to “hit the books!”

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan