While we’re stuck inside during this latest cold snap, I decided to try my hand at making bread without the bread machine. I’ve attempted to recreate a variety of German bread but was only successful in finding an alternative way to create strong building blocks that could give the conventional ‘brick’ a run for its money. I’m not ready to venture out into the world of sourdough/rye bread again without some much needed research, so I kept looking for something a bit simpler to make. I found a recipe for a no knead bread that sounded fairly simple. I’ll post the recipe below, but my only concern was placing the dough in a warm environment during the 2 hours it needed to rise. Our house is usually cooler than most, but someone suggested using the ‘Dough Proofing’ setting on the Excalibur dehydrator. I was dubious, but it worked! It was a long process, most of the time was spent waiting or baking, but the yummy crusty bread was a success and one I’ll make again soon. In addition to the bread, I made the Tuscan Chicken Soup recipe (also posted below). It was wonderful the first day and absolutely divine the second!
As far as our animals were concerned, they were NOT fans of the sudden drop in temperature. We weathered this cold snap just fine, but dropping 40+F in approximately 24 hours raises concerns for the health and wellbeing of everyone. The goats huddled inside, well, except Olaf (the angora) who thought these temperatures were more to his liking. The chickens didn’t even think of venturing outside. They stayed in their warm, straw-filled coop and expected to be fed and watered within (they were…spoiled girls). Even the two bee hives successfully came out of the bitter temperatures! The following days yielded temps in the 60F and the bees were out flying around looking for a meal and taking care of other hive duties (no bathrooms found in the hives…hold it until you can go out!). I placed a few pollen feeders around the apiary to help them with the winter time munchies, but I need to figure out how to get some sugar to them before too long. They need to hold on for a few more months before they are out of the danger zone…we can still lose hives up to (and including) April, when the flowers really begin to open again around here.
Recipes were obtained from the internet…I wish I came up with them, but I didn’t. Enjoy!!
No Knead Bread
This No Knead Bread (Dutch Oven Bread) is my favourite go to bread r
ecipe! It's incredibly easy to make, with a beautiful golden crust. It's soft and fluffy on the inside and tastes ridiculously delicious. It only takes 2 hours to rise and requires no special ingredients!
Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins Resting Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings 14 slices
Author Jessica Hylton
· 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour + some extra for flouring (570g)
· 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (about 1 packet) (7g)
· 2 teaspoons sea salt (12g)
· 2 cups very warm water (about 120°F/48°C) (472 ml)
· 2 teaspoons maple syrup, agave or granulated sugar (13.5g)
· 1 teaspoon olive oil or any oil (4.4g)
1. In a very large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the centre and add the warm water, maple syrup and the oil. Stir the water into the dry ingredients to form a dough. You want to stir until it’s all incorporated and the dough looks shaggy but mixed together, about 1 minute.
2. Lightly grease the sides of the bowl, and turn the dough over in it to grease the dough. Cover with greased plastic wrap, an alternative wrap or light kitchen towel and let it rise on your counter for 2 to 3 hours. If your kitchen is cold, place it in your oven with the oven light turned ON and the oven OFF for a warm, draft free area for it to rise. The dough will double in size so be sure to use a bowl tall enough to manage this rise.
3. In the last 30-40 minutes of rising, place your Dutch oven in the oven and preheat at 450°230°C. You want to add your Dutch before preheating so it preheats with the oven (this will ensure it doesn’t crack).
4. After two hours, the dough should have bubbles on the top. Flour a surface with at least 1 tablespoon flour spread out, then pour the risen dough onto it. Sprinkle another 1/2 tablespoon of flour onto the top of the dough and flour your dough scraper/knife/large spatula.
5. Using your dough scraper or large knife or spatula, fold the dough on top of itself. Do this by pulling the outer edges up and onto the centre. Rotate the dough and do it a few more times, about 6 to 12 times. You want the dough to feel a bit tighter and to start forming a shape. Feel free to lightly sprinkle more flour during this process. It should take you less than a minute.
6. Scoop the dough and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Using your hands, scoop/shape it into a circle.
7. When the oven is preheated, remove the dutch oven carefully with oven mitts. Take the lid off and place the dough (on the parchment paper) into the Dutch oven. Place lid back on (remember it’s hot!!) and place it all back into the oven.
8. Bake for 45 minutes. After that time, open the oven, carefully remove the lid and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is at your desired level. If you're using a gas oven/convection oven, only do it for 5 to 10 minutes so the bottom and tips don't burn. I love mine golden brown.
9. Remove from the oven, and set down. Lift up the edges of the parchment to transfer the bread to a wire cooling rack. If you want to test it for doneness, you can turn it over and lightly tap on the bottom. It should sound hollow.
10. Completely cool, then slice, serve and enjoy! If you can't wait, cool it for at least 30 minutes!
Dutch Oven Options
This is the dutch oven I use - a white Le Creuset 5.5 QT Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven. It is my baby! I also absolutely adore the Lodge version which is a lot more afforable.
Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg
Creamy Keto Tuscan Chicken Soup
Creamy Tuscan Chicken Soup is rich and satisfying, and packed full of wholesome ingredients. It's a keto comfort food meal the whole family will enjoy. Only 4.9g net carbs per serving!
Keywordtuscan chicken soup
Prep Time15 minutes Cook Time25 minutes Total Time40 minutes
· 2 tablespoon butter or olive oil divided
· 1 ½ lb chicken thighs cut into ½ inch pieces
· ½ teaspoon salt
· ½ teaspoon pepper
· ⅓ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
· 4 cloves garlic
· 1 tablespoon tomato paste
· 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
· 4 cups chicken broth
· 8 ounces cauliflower florets
· 6 ounces fresh spinach
· ½ cup heavy whipping cream
· ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a Dutch oven or stockpot set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter or oil. While heating, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
2. Add the chicken and the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Sauté until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate.
3. Add the remaining butter to the pan and stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning. Sauté 2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the broth.
4. Add the cauliflower and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.
5. Return the soup and the chicken and sundried tomatoes to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
6. Stir in the cream and Parmesan and stir until well combined. Serve with more grated Parmesan sprinkled over.
Serving: 1serving = about 1 ½ cups | Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.7g | Protein: 35.9g | Fat: 23.9g | Fiber: 1.8g