Weeding and Breadbaking

It seems that lately, at any given time, you can find me here....

still weeding the strawberry patch.
I am 3/4 finished, and Hubbs started to mulch
between the rows with lush, brown tanbark.

One month from now we will have delicious, sweet
Berries for jam, for ice cream, for pie...
berries to dry, to freeze, to share.
Easy to pick, easy to maintain thanks to hours
and hours of labor....
loving labor.

The rhubarb has emerged and is filling in nicely.
I hope to make strawberry/rhubarb jam as soon as 
the berries show their sun-reddened flesh.

There is all sorts of activity in the apple orchard, too.
The trees are all full of blossoms,
giving my remaining bees sweet nectar in return 
for their pollinating skills.

Look what was found at the base of one of our apple trees.....

This lovely growth is a wild mushroom, known as a morel.
It is a highly sought after delicacy that is only found
in the springtime.
I have heard that they are delicious sauteed in butter.
I am hoping to find more in the woods near our home.

As for the rest of the garden....
new life is emerging all over.

If gardening is one of your passions,
you will understand when I say that
I feel like these new "plantlings" give off an energy that I can absorb
through my pores...
time in my garden renews and restores my own energy stores....
as if the closer to dirt I am...the closer to home I feel.
Do you feel that way, too?

I know that I promised you my bread recipe...
This makes a very hearty and rather dense, flavorful loaf.

So, here are the basic ingredients:
Add to your mixing bowl in this order....

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
(I use King Arthur organic for both types)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons powdered milk
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 cup water (room temp.)
2 tablespoons butter (room temp.)
2 tablespoons honey

I mix mine in my Kitchenaid stand mixer.
Then I add my whole grains.
I add them by the handful...no measuring.
A handful each of
wheat bulgar,
oat groats,
flax seeds,
chia seeds,
and two handfuls of sunflower seeds.

Continue to mix until well mixed and then
switch from bread paddle to bread hook 
and knead for about 8 minutes by machine.
(I avoid hand kneading, to save my hands)
however, you can knead by hand if you wish.

Allow to rise in a slightly greased bowl, covered with a cloth until
dough is doubled in size. (about 2 hours)

Then form dough into whatever shape loaf you choose to bake
and allow to rise again for an hour and a half.
You can see by the picture how far I let my loaf rise before baking it.

Brush a beaten egg over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with your
favorite seed, or oatmeal, etc.

Bake at 350 on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes.
Then turn pan a quarter turn and allow to bake for another 15 to 30 minutes.

I throw a half cup of water onto the floor of the oven right as I place the bread in the oven,
to provide a little bit of steam for the beginning of the baking cycle.

Allow loaf to cool down entirely, before cutting.  Don't cut the loaf while it is still hot.
It takes the entire cooling down process for the great wheat taste to develop.

I would love to have provided you with a video tutorial...
but that might have been disastrous....
disastrously funny, I am sure!!


countrynmore said…
Strawberries-yummy and the bread sounds so delicious. Thanks for sharing your bread recipe.
I feel the same way when I'm in the garden...it's great meditation time for me. I love following your blog... You make me smile.. Thanks I appreciate that. Also the bread recipe sounds like a winner. I'm going to try it once I get the seeds. Where do you buy all of them from? Have a great day. Dawn
This N That said…
I too, love playing in the dirt and water as well...The strawberry "patch " looks wonderful..That needs to be a raised bed as well..lots of work but well worth it when you harvest those plump, juicy berries..Tis great weather for mushrooms..
Unknown said…
Your strawberry patch looks fantastic! You will have a great harvest.

Love Morels, haven't had them in years...a real delight if you only eat a little! The garden has a wonderful start!
Julie Harward said…
I do feel that way about the earth...there is just something about a handful of good soil. I love to do my walks each day on a dirt road too, I love the feel of it under my feet.
On the bread, I think I will use my recipe (it's on my side bar) it is only 90 min. from start to done, and I will throw in some of this because I love that chunky look to bread..thanks! :D
Unknown said…
Yes, indeed, I feel the very same way about the garden and actually for all the trees and flowers and plants that burst into life in spring. Fills me with hope and excitement and thankfulness. Many thanks for the bread recipe. It will be used on my very next bread baking day.
I love playing in my dirt. I can spend hours in the gardens. You have such an amazing strawberry patch. Blessings!
Carla said…
Thanks so much for the recipe. :)
Your garden sounds amazing. Any strawberries I've tried to grow, get munched on by pillbugs before we can ever get a taste.
How did I miss this bread recipe? This post is ages after you originally shared it with readers – I hope you get a chance to see that I tried it and it’s truly wonderful! It is definitely a keeper. Mary, Windy Meadows Farm