Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bratwurst...lots of Bratwurst....

So this weekend,  I joined my Laurel, Annectje and our friend Penni and produced 50 lbs of Bratwurst for an event in December.  Here's the recipe:

Many thanks to the people at Wegman's, who gave us a discount on the bone-in pork shoulders.  I picked them up on Saturday morning, drove them to Annectje's and we boned and portioned them, bagged them up and put them in the freezer overnight.

Today, I took the toys down to Annectje's and we ground the pork coarsely and seasoned it with marjoram, thyme, parsley, cumin, nutmeg and salt.  After we fried up a sample and confirmed it was seasoned correctly, we then ground it a second time through a finer plate.

First grind, with seasoning

Second grind, 

Gloves to keep my fingers from going completely numb... 
To the right (my left) is the cylinder of the stuffer...

After the meat was ground and seasoned, we used a stuffer to put it into casings.

Casings being washed before use.

Stuffer with casings attached.

The final product.

Now safely tucked away...

December 13th 2014. Bhakail. Be there.......

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Butter! Part One

Well, you have to have something to put on the bread, don't you?

I've taught a butter class as several SCA events this season, and this weekend I taught it to a bunch of Cub Scouts.  They were a great bunch of kids and I enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would.  So I figured it was time to post about it.

My class handout for the Making Butter class is here:  Making butter

There are several ways to make butter.  One that I've never had success with is to put cream in a mason jar, with or without several marbles in the jar, and shake it.

The next is the time honored butter butter churn.

This is my churn:

This was at a cheese/butter class I taught in the spring at Cooking Schola in Mass.

The name made this the churn for me!

We start with a quart of supermarket heavy cream.  Unlike cheesemaking, you can make butter with any pasteurized dairy, including ultrapasterurized.

The dasher is a length of dowel with two short pieces of wood attached at one end.

On Dasher...

You (or your audience) then move the dasher up and down fairly quickly, twisting slightly on the downstroke.  After a suprisingly short amount of time, the sound changes and starts to sound like splashing, which means it's working.  Another minute or two to get everything firmed up, and it's about a pound of fresh delicious butter!

And step one is complete.  

Next post:  Finishing the butter...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

From Milk to Meal - a few thoughts

So, having now taught the From Milk to Meal class several times, I've decided that some changes need to be made.  While the (few) people who attended seems to have a good time, I think that the sheer length of the class is scaring people off.  So I'm going to break it into three classes, which all feed into the final product.

I will post more details about the new class structure soon.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from the class.

Cheese hanging to drain

On left unsifted stone ground whole wheat flour, in middle what remains after sifting and on the right the "fine flour" left after sifting

Eggs + Flour = Pasta

New Knife

Sunday, March 30, 2014

News from Last Weekend...

The loaves that I posted pictures of last weekend were for an SCA Event I was attending.  If you don't know what the SCA is, try this link...

The Society for Creative Anachronism

The event was called MudThaw and is held yearly, as a celebration of the coming of spring time.  And there was a baking contest.

This is the loaf that I entered:

Here was my display:

And here is what the loaf looked like when we sliced it open:

The recipe is the one from several post ago.

300 grams of stater - 100 grams of sourdough, 100 grams of stone-ground whole wheat flour and 100 grams of water, mixed well and allowed to sit on the counter overnight and then refrigerated.
560 grams of sifted stone-ground whole wheat flour
40 grams of stone-ground whole rye flour
340 grams of water
13 grams of salt
3 grams of yeast

 Hydration level was 58.66 percent.

The long and the short of it, I won.  My prize was a lovely scroll, made by a dear friend of mine.

The text reads, "On this feast day of Saint Callinica and Saint Bassilica, that is the 22nd day of the month of March, the very best bakers of the East Kingdom assembled in the Barony of Settmour Swamp.  They were challenged to bake their very best bread: one that would benefit for their King and Queen, and Prince and Princell.  All were worthy and valient, but one surpassed all others.  And so, for the Anno Societatis XLIII, the winner of the bread baking competition, the champion of the noble dough, the subjugator of the yeast is:  Lord John Marshall atte Ford"

Sorry I missed a week.  See you next time.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Friday Night Bake

Whole Wheat

Bread Flour
Details to follow...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Period bread #4

Well, it just ate my post.  Let's try this again...

The latest iteration of the period bread recreation is the same recipe as number 3, but bigger.

300 grams of stater - 100 grams of sourdough, 100 grams of stone-ground whole wheat flour and 100 grams of water, mixed well and allowed to sit on the counter overnight and then refrigerated.
560 grams of sifted stone-ground whole wheat flour
40 grams of stone-ground whole rye flour
340 grams of water
13 grams of salt
3 grams of yeast

Hydration level was 58.66 percent.

This recipe was also made with commercial whole wheat flour.  I was surprised to learn recently that commercial whole wheat flour is white flour with wheat bran added back in and wanted to see what the differences might be.

The flours and water were mixed, covered in the bowl and refrigerated until the next morning. 

Stone-Ground Whole Wheat
Commercial Whole Wheat

Notice the color differences and the fact that the commercial whole wheat looks dryer. 

The two pastes were then mixed with the starter, salt and yeast and allowed to sit in the refrigerator until that evening.  They then looked like this:

Stone-Ground Whole Wheat

Commercial Whole Wheat
The doughs, one at a time, were placed in a brotform basket and allowed to rise for another hour, while the oven,.set to 550 degrees, preheated with the cloche inside along with the baking steel. 

Stone-Ground Whole Wheat in Brotform Basket

Brotform Basket

Ceramic Cloche


Baking Steel
The baking steel conducts heat better than a pizza stone and gives better oven spring.  If you're interested, you can learn more at  I have no affiliation with them, I'm just a satisfied customer.
After they were both baked, this is what they looked like:

It's hard to see in this shot, but the commercial one is taller and spread less than the stone-ground. 
After they cooled, the crumb looked like this:



The tastes are very different.  The Stone-Ground loaf is nutty and sour at the same time, very tasty.  The Commercial loaf is more one dimensional, with mostly sour coming through.  It's still tasty, but they're very different. 
So here we have a tale of two loaves. 
Next up - Baking for a contest...

Until the next bread post,,,


Just because someone asked me too...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Period Bread Loaf #3

This is the third iteration of this bread:

200 grams of sourdough starter (1/2 flour 1/2 water)
375 grams of sifted stone ground whole wheat flour
25 grams of sifted stone ground rye flour
225 grams of water
9 grams of salt
2 grams of yeast (just in case)

Hydration is 63 percent.

Same procedure as before.  This one had much more oven spring and tasted really good.  The next step is to increase all of the ingredients by 50% to get a bigger loaf. 

More coming soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

After a long absence...

After a long absence, I'm back...

Period Bread Experiments.

Number One:
Sifted stone ground whole wheat flour with a touch of rye, sourdough starter. 79% hydration.  Let the flour and water sit together overnight, added the sourdough leavening and salt, kneaded it and let it rise for several hours and baked it in a 550 degree oven under a cloche. It didn't rise as much as I hoped for, but it's pretty tasty. Tomorrow, lower hydration, more leaven (and a little yeast)


Number 2:
200 grams of starter, 400 grams of sifted stone ground whole wheat flour, 250 grams of water, 10 grams of salt and 2 grams of yeast. 70% hydration.  It showed much more height until it actually hit the oven, and then it came out flatter than the one yesterday. It tastes good, and it's probably quite period, but I want some more height...the experiment continues tomorrow night...wondering if the acid in the starter is a problem.  May have to make the same formula with all purpose flour to see what happens...