"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today's Bread

Our "go-to" recipe is the American sandwich bread - we add two cups of rye or whole wheat
and adjust the liquids. Today, Freckles is making crackers from this dough. His first batch is puffy. But delicious, I think with a little baking they'd make some really yummy croutons. To his second batch, he added grated cheddar and rolled smashed them out paper this, poked a hole with a tooth pick and baked them. Very nice, crispy, cheesy cracker. Nice job, Freckles!

Holy Week

It's Holy Week:

"Holy Week, which for Christians is the most important week of the year, gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the central events of the Redemption, to relive the Paschal Mystery, the great Mystery of faith." -- Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, April 8, 2009
We'll read the Gospel's. We'll read Tomie DePaola's Book of Bible Stories. We'll watch The Passion of the Christ. Hopefully, we'll be somewhere near a church. It appears Bud will finish up his duties here. As of this morning, no news on where we are going next. Bud works for a contracting company that does maintenance for railroad companies. He is the guy in the top right corner on this page. So if you are in need of some track scanning...LOL  Anyway, it would be good to be close enough to walk to things like Mass on Holy Thursday, Adoration and Stations or Three Hours events on Friday. And we are really looking forward to Easter Vigil and Easter morning. This Easter morning's feast will include some ABin5 brioche dough made into beignets and then transformed into this Goop of Gluttony, Cadbury Eggs Benedict. Um shared between 7, perhaps we will not exceed the monthly allowance of sugar!

Pizza Party

So my sweet friend, Christine, tells me that once again we have *discovered* the same thing at the same time. She's had the ABin5 book for a few months but because she's got a brand, new, little Darling to love, nurture and bring amusement to her world, she hadn't had time to delve into the world of bread baking.

She's baking bread like crazy lately. She's made the bagels and ciabata. And yesterday she wrote on my FB wall that she made the Olive Oil recipe for pizza dough.

"Oooohhh," my kids cried. "PIZZA! Let's make pizza for lunch, too!"

So we made the dough, and they walked a mile to Walmart (after earlier walking 2 and half miles home from Mass) to get some more mozzarella. I cooked some Italian sausage for the topping.

We thought maybe we'd Skype Chris's family and we could have a big, rowdy lunch together, maybe next time!

The crust was so what we love. Even without a stone, this crust was by far the best homemade pizza crust we have ever made. And I have been working on pizza crust ever since I discovered in 1986 that there is no such thing as a real pizza in Alabama (Born and raised in Philly. Over the past 24 years, I've found Alabama has many culinary delights, but pizza and cheese steaks don't translate well in the South.) I've come close, but have never had the patience or organizational skills to begin making dough days in advance. If I had that much patience, I'd mix up a batch of dough and leave in the cooler for a few days to let it get slack like Jeff has on the website. We may never get try this dough for naan or pita!

Next time, I will roll some out much thinner for one of the pizzas anyway. I suspect that a stone is in my future for sure since Bud really, really, really liked this pizza crust. I want one that I can leave in the oven. Any thoughts? Or just go with the super thrifty method and get a tile from Lowes?

I made one in the thick, puffy, Sicilian style that many of my family love and it was G-O-N-E. Brushed the raw dough on both sides with olive oil and sprinkled cornmeal on parchment. Baked it in a hot oven. It was really, really good.

There are pictures of the weekend's cookery over at College-in-a-Camper's blog.

What a difference a Bishop makes

For us, sometimes, Sunday is a day of stress. We are in a different city or town almost every week. We have to make two trips to get to the Church and that can take over an hour. Sometimes we walk. That can also take over an hour. It requires advance planning. Sometimes we are in places where we know in advance that things are weird, sometimes it's a surprise. Rarely, sadly, are we in a town or diocese where the Mass conforms to the GIRM!  Three Sundays ago we were in Falls City, NE and the past two weeks we've been in York, NE. Usually in Nebraska we are in the far western part of the state in the Grand Island diocese.  Both towns are in the Lincoln diocese. The parishes in both these towns seem to be robust and wonderful. No frills, no nylon net all over, no sand and sticks for Lent and real, wet, holy water in the holy water fonts! Joy!

(An aside: Could I tell you stories! But it's Lent and I'm giving up complaining for Holy Week. Let's just say this, the Tabernacle ought to be in the center of the Church because when a *presider* has his *chair* up there, well, maybe it's a little harder to remember exactly Who is the center of the Universe, the Source and Summit... In a "gathering space," that shows.)

So back to St Joseph's in York, NE. Simple purple cloth covering the statuary. Green plants.  Boys on the altar. (Even though at our first parish in Alabama, my daughters served at Mass, I've come to understand that this is not ideal. My girls can't be priests - and frankly none of them has ever said they want to. And girl servers sometimes make boys reluctant to serve. 'Cause, ya know, for ten year old boys - girls have cooties! LOL) Lots of families with dads. No offense meant and no judgment of single parents, none at all, I have spent many a Mass without Bud there - mostly because of his work schedule. But if a family is intact, it is nice to see the dad at Mass with them. And sometimes one gets the distinct impression that men are missing because maybe the women have it all handled. You've seen it - bows everywhere, half a dozen women ministers of Holy Communion, a choir with several ladies and one or two men. And very few dads in the pews. Why should they show up? Women got it handled. I digress, again.

Mostly though, I just want to thank God for the pastor and associate priest at St Joseph in York  for  peace-filled, soul-renewing  Masses. And for Bishop Bruskewitz for really being a Bishop in union with the Bishop of Rome. It is a relief and a renewal to be in a place where one can simply worship the Lord.
It would be nice to be here for Easter Vigil. But that doesn't seem likely.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bread for today

There's some of the Boule dough in the cooler for tomorrow. Today we will eat yesterday's rye loaf and white loaf. No new bread? Nope, we have run out of yeast. That's some feat actually as we had about a quarter pound when we started this endeavor. I don't even want to think about how much bread we've actually made (and eaten!) in the past week or so... But we needed so many different breads this week...cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls and ciabatta panini for Saturday dinner and rolls for meatball sandwiches for last night's dinner and hot dog rolls. And every day bread. We would have probably not had meatball sandwiches and cinnamon rolls if we hadn't bought this book, but we love panini on Saturday and store bought ciabatta cost mucho dinero. So we're buying fewer loaves of processed bread - only one this week for Bud's breakfast sandwiches. And that is a step in the right direction. (Especially since we throw in whole wheat and don't tell him...hahahahaha. Shhh, now, blog, don't you blow our little secret!)

So instead of bread, today must need include completion and filing of tax returns, and some schooling for these children. What can we do on rainy, breezy (we are currently in Nebraska where "breezy" is defined as winds in the 10 - 20 mph range!), chilly Spring day in Nebraska?
Oh, I know! MATH! And some spelling. Like Scrabble and Yahtzee... Or maybe Family Farm...

More rye bread.

So I made the second loaf. This time I baked it in a parchment lined pan de mie pan without the lid, because as I said in the other rye bread post, I added honey and potato flakes and I think the dough was too slack. (My freeform loaf was kinda flat, perhaps I didn't slash deeply enough?) I baked it in the pan for 20 minutes then removed it from the pan and let it finish baking on the cookie sheet. Success. Bud wanted his lunch on it except he preferred the bottom crust be cut off. A major achievement as he has hitherto scorned rye bread. I like in the pan as it is more sandwich-friendly. And as I am not making bread merely for the aesthetic experience, I think I may do it that way again. (Bud needs to eat more whole grains and whatever it takes, right?)
So next time, I will keep the honey, lose the potato flakes and add a little more flour to achieve the consistency of the other doughs we have made with this method. But this is a keeper.

I have been reading recipes for unseeded ryes and they seem to have some kooky substitutes for the caraway seeds - dill pickle juice or sauerkraut. I think I am going to boil a few caraway seeds in a little bit of water and see if that produces a sort of caraway tea that I can use for flavoring. If not I will probably add half the amount of caraway seeds to the next batch. I just don't love the seeds.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Peace be the Journey Roadschool Blog

I had this blog and never really kept it up. I loved the name and the idea, but perhaps I needed to be nailed down to something less nebulous than just every single thing that happens in our days on the road. Bread is more focused and it's real.
I can only keep up with this blog and this one - which I don't do as regularly as I ought.

This was my first and only post on that blog. I do hope to do better this time:

One of our favorite movies is Cool Runnings, an old Disney flick starring John Candy and Doug E Doug about a Jamaican bobsled team. When the team is shown their "new" sled, the guys immediately decide to name it. They consider "Tallulah" which is what we have named our RV. After discarding Tallulah, they decide on "Cool Runnings," which they interpreted as "peace be the journey."
We liked it. We always have.
Even though our lives haven't always been peaceful, we still pursue it as the Psalm instructs. As the children grow up and we become older and more accustomed to the twists and turns that come unplanned, we find that peace is still often elusive, but less often than it was when we were pursuing more worldly things. When we thought *we* had control over our lives, peace fled.

"Turn away from evil and do good: seek after peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

ABin5 Deli Rye bread with Variation

I would put up a picture, but it didn't last that long. The hungry horde had hovered hungrily hour after hour until the loaf was extracted from the oven! So what I did was opt out on the caraway - I know, I know, but I don't like seeds in my rye bread. I added dark honey, about a tablespoon and about 2 tablespoons of potato flakes. It was good. The dough was slacker than the result I normally get and I only blame myself for neglecting to adjust with a little more flour to compensate for the honey. College-in-a-Camper claimed that she had no idea that a nice, brown rye loaf could taste so delicious. I think if left to its own devices for another day or so, the sour would develop deliciously. Alas, the next loaf is headed into the oven as we have run out of fridge room.

Now you might wonder how that could happen.
If your kids go on a hunger strike and refuse to eat the last of the store bread, then they decide to make the nice white sandwich bread and decide that meatball and sausage sandwiches should be on the dinner menu ("Well, you asked us what we wanted, Mom.") therefore, the Boule recipe must also be mixed up...you can easily see how one can have a fridge full of dough in a hurry.

Notes on the rye: no discernible benefit from the potato flakes, in fact, this may be the reason the dough is very moist; will put caraway seeds on top of next loaf, that way I can unseed by knocking the seeds off and still retain the caraway flavor. Other persons are skeptical of this claiming not to like caraway very much.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On Healthcare.

I'm no genius about these things. And I'm no expert on American history. What I love to read with a passion is philosophy, particularly Catholic philosophers, and especially Peter Kreeft, JRR Tolkien, Dietrich and Alice van Hildebrandt, Chesterton and Pope Benedict XVI. I also get a good brain fix from C.S. Lewis.
Just so you know my "slant."
When in doubt, ask the Catechism. I learned that from a dear friend.
So today there's a new law awaiting the President's signature. It's a doozy and no one is really sure of the reach of its tentacles yet. But the one thing this bill seriously lacks: protection for the unborn.

Ask the Catechism:
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."

We already know the USCCB has issued a statement against this bill. For those of you who are skeptical of the American Bishops, this is clear language, they rarely speak out against anyone or anything anymore - even when they should.

Anyway this is what I think.

Sure it's easy to see this as some kind of commie/socialist plot. What's more important though is the potential loss of life - from the womb to the nursing home. The exec order (which Kathleen Sibelius would not even address this a.m.) won't mean much after *elective* abortion is defined. As if there is not enough death for which we must account...
I would live in a totalitarian society if it saved the babies.
Our country was not founded on Catholic values - it was founded by those who lived the prejudices of their sects. And Catholics like those in Congress have lost their way trying to conform to the "tyranny of caprice" (BXVI) of the founding fathers. They meant well, they were most certainly sincere in their beliefs and in their love and understanding of the Lord and the Gospel. But their very Protestantism had flaws that we see as fissures now. The founding of their sects represents dissent from Truth.Founding something on dissent might not give you the best foundation.
A friend of mine, Tom Riello, once said that the worst thing for Catholic Americans (and the rest of America) was the election of JFK. (Didn't that make you think?) We have lost our purpose and forgotten our mission. And, yet, God is still God. We are not guaranteed by God the privilege of a peaceful life lived like happy hobbits in the shire. Because of the Fall we can only aspire to and hope for happiness here. And any that we find will necessarily be fleeting. We will never be fulfilled unless we attain Heaven.

For His own good purpose, God has allowed this at this time.

Rediscovering Bread

Thanks to a book tip from a friend, The Bonny Glen, we're baking bread again. And lots of it. Find the miracle book here: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Then make yourself some bread. LOL
We live in an RV. We travel a lot. Padrecito knew that a person could make bread, but he's only seen the process occasionally. College-in-a-Camper and The Soprano fondly recall years of mainly homemade bread. Bud sighs happily in his sleep and agreed to eat bread with a little more whole grain in it. Boy Howdy and Freckles are happy that they can rustle up a recipe.
We're not using a stone yet as the place where we are parked doesn't have a store with such specialty items. Also we have made many of these recipes in pans.

So far we've had success with several of these recipes. We mostly half the recipes since our fridge is about as big as a bread box.

The Basic Master Recipe - Boule - used for pizza pinwheels.
Olive Oil Dough: makes a wonderful ciabatta for dipping or panini.
Brioche: Delicious as cinnamon rolls even if you forget the eggs.
Light Whole Wheat: Even Bud liked this and he generally forswears whole grains. Delicious as sandwich loaf and dinner rolls.
Challah -Almost Heaven. So glad that the Lord brought the Israelites to the Promised Land and that they could develop this bread instead of manna! Absolutely wonderful for cinnamon rolls and for herb and cheese dinner rolls.
Buttermilk bread: Tried this for hot dog rolls. I would have liked a softer texture, but they did enhance the taste of plain ol' dogs.

Up next: Deli Rye with variation. It's resting/rising so more tomorrow on that! The plan is to refrigerate this tonight and bake in the morning so it's fresh and ready for the lunch sandwiches. Now if I can just find some alfalfa or bean sprouts. Perfect.

About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.