A Mosaic of Ideas About Life, Art & Superfluous Adornment.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Start of Homesteading Classes

"There is nothing that is not beautiful about bread. The way it 

grows, from tiny grains, from bowls on the counter, from 

yeast blooming in a measuring cup like swampy islands. The

 way it fills a room, a house, a building, with its inimitable 

smells, submits to a firmly applied fist and contracts, swells 

again; the way it stretches and expands upon kneading, the 

warm, supple feel of it against skin. The sight of a warm roll 

on a table, the taste-sweet, sour, yeasty on the tongue." 

Tonight was a most amazing treat in many ways, firstly because A Work of Art Studio started some "Homesteading" classes. We learned how to make homemade whole wheat bread, sourdough starter and butter. Yes, butter!
Thanks to Kadren G., many of us experienced the contracting and swelling, the kneading and punching of the dough for the first time.

 Microwaving milk (for lack of time, otherwise would have used a double boiler) to get warm enough to start out. It needs to be warm enough to "wake up" the yeast.

 Once it is warm enough then we added water and yeast and then flour and sugar, stir until everything dissolved. The yeast has a chemical reaction with the sugar, the sugar feeds the yeast and makes it swell.  Then, once dough becomes consistent enough to stay in one piece it gets dumped out onto the countertop to get kneaded. (We all need to knead and be kneaded once in a while).
We did this for about 8-10 minutes until the dough had a smooth texture and elasticity was good.

While waiting for our dough to rise (after putting it in a bread pan, covering with a towel, and setting in a warm oven) our amazing host, Tammy, showed one of A Work of Art's great instructors (rug and soap making, and soon, butter making) Julie, some rolled and glued paper beads. Looks like another future art class.
 Deb and Jackie looking at future recipes!
 While the bread is baking, Julie is showing us how to make butter with a container of Heavy Whipping Cream and a mixer. Just keep whipping, just keep whipping... Until it reaches a heavier and thick consistency. Who would have thunk we could all make our own butter? Crazy, huh?
 Yeah, bread is done!!! Tammy is tapping the top of the loaf to make sure it is just right. A milk glaze (with a pastry brush) on the top keeps it nice and moist.
 Kadren also showed us how to make sourdough bread starters. Those we will have to stir for 5-10 days, keeping our container at room temperature. When it starts to have that "sour" smell, then it is ready to bake with.

Here is the butter after whipping for about 45 minutes with the mixer. Julie kept stirring until the water started to separate out from the cream. Then she added some really cold water to the bowl and took the butter in her hands and started to squeeze out the excess water. This first bit of creamy water is actually buttermilk, save it for cooking!  She did this procedure about 4 or 5 times until the cold water was clear and the butter stiffened up. Amazing! You learn something new every day.
We cut up a fresh loaf of that bread and fed the house with that and fresh creamery butter atop.
This is just the beginning of our new "Homesteading" Classes at A Work of Art Studio.
When scheduled they will be posted here. Join the creativity and fun today!

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