Craig Ponsford Bakes Whole Wheat Ciabatta

...r. You can incorporate ingredients by hand or with a stand mixer. Just don’t knead! Baking requires a scale. Ponsford is very insistent about this and with good reason. As he puts it, when he hears about someone’s bread disaster, 99% of the time it’s because they did not use a scale. Rather than dust flour on work surfaces in order to handle dough you’ll see Ponsford use water instead. He also wets containers that he puts...

Continue reading…

Mellow Yellow: How to Make Dandelion Wine

...I compost the spent flowers (thanks dandelion!). Then I add juice and zest from four lemons and four oranges, and four pounds of sugar (4-4-4 = E.Z.). Okay, now here’s what I think is the best part: I float a piece of stale bread, sprinkled with bread yeast, in the mixture. This technique is used in Appalachian and some European recipes. Then I toss a dishtowel over it so the mixture can both breathe and the crud floating around my house stays...

Continue reading…

Poached eggs and greens on toast with wildflowers

...ever you like. The greens can be spiced up with onions, garlic, hot pepper, etc.–or absolutely plain. At the same time, get some water going for poached eggs. While that’s heating, toast up some nice big slices of bread. Dress that toast how you like–with butter, olive oil, S&P, a rub of garlic, maybe a bit of some gourmet spread you’ve got in the fridge–whatever. (And by the way, just because it’s not par...

Continue reading…

Is Modern Wheat Killing Us?

...agriculture, have the unintended consequence of increasing allergic reactions? Are older varieties healthier for us? What have we lost in terms of flavor when we decreased the diversity of grain varieties? Is sourdough bread a pro-biotic food? Could some of the allergy problems associated with bread be related to commercial yeast strains and the way commercial yeast processes sugar? I’ll spend the rest of this week taking a deeper...

Continue reading…

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast

...e into a bowl and go and sulk in a corner, nibbling, until I wake up enough to face the world. 2) I’m trying to avoid processed carbs. And that’s hard when you’re married to the co-founder of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers Club. I could live on sourdough bread. I’ve resolved to ban toast from breakfast. Oatmeal and muesli aren’t overly processed, but I’m awful tired of them. 3) Sweet potatoes are a much vaunted &...

Continue reading…

Passport to Survival

...nd #73, thin sticks #9, wheatburgers #36, oven-cracked wheat #46d, soft ice cream #83 with caramel syrup #84, barber pole sticks #90, cold milk.” “Monday dinner: green drink #73, emergency stew #20, noodles #27, bread sticks #38, criss-cross cookies #91.” Dickey slept outdoors into her 90s and passed away in 2008. From her obituary, “Nobody could say Esther had not practiced what she preached. As a young couple, Russell...

Continue reading…

Making Salves, Lip Balms & etc.: Close of the Calendula Series

...e mix starts to cool. I find that the lip of a liquid measuring cup gives enough control to fill even those fiddly little plastic lip balm tubes. Let the containers sit, open, until they are completely cool. Then lid them and label them. Clean up: The best way I’ve found to deal with the waxy grease residue (since I stopped using paper towels) is to shake a generous amount of baking soda into the dish and then rub it around. The soda lifts...

Continue reading…

Harvesting and Drying Calendula

...rd are older than that. I think some herbs keep their properties longer than others, but in general you should try to use them in a year or so. Like spices, the are best fresh, but usable, if not as potent, as they age.  Label and date all your herbs. Even if you think you’ll never forget, somehow or another you will, and at some future find yourself standing at your cupboard, holding a jar full of strange plant matter and saying to yo...

Continue reading…

Noodler’s Ink Reusable Fountain Pen

Julia just wrote a post on Ramshackle Solid about our newest solution to the frustration of disposable pens: Noodler’s Ink and fountain pens. From the Noodler’s website: Why Noodler’s? “Noodler’s Ink” has the lowest cost per volume in stores that carry it and it’s 100% made in the USA from cap to glass to ink. The ink with the catfish on the label symbolizes a southern sport that attempts to equalize the struggle between man a...

Continue reading…