Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gardens, Brushing and Yeast Bread

I finally got a chance to try "baking" yeast bread in my crock pot.  After reading several recipes on-line, and several crock pot methods for baking the bread, I decided that, since it was all experimental, I should experiment only with the process, not with the recipe, for my first round.  So I tried my experiment with a store bought sourdough bread mix.  I followed all of the preparation directions through the kneading process.  From there, I oiled the crock of a round crock pot and placed my kneaded dough directly in the crock. With the lid on, I set the crock pot on the "low" setting until the dough had risen (about the first hour).  I then turned the the temperature to the "high" setting, and let it go for another 90 minutes.

After removing the crock and placing it on a cooling rack for about five minutes, I loosened the crust from the crock, using a spatula, and turned the warm bread loaf out of the crock.  The smell of the freshly baked bread had been teasing us for more than an hour, so I sliced the first couple of slices and we enjoyed it with a little butter.  It was pretty darned good!  Now, I suspect my cheap crock pot does not heat evenly, because I noticed the crust was a lot darker on one side than on the other, but it was not too dark to enjoy.  I consider the experiment a success (we ate nearly the whole 2 lb loaf today).  Next I will experiment with bread recipes and, I am sure, find some that will become a staple in my crock pot recipe book.

Yeast Bread Crock Pot Loaf
Little Over Baked on One Side
Meanwhile, "back at the farm" we have been doing those Spring things.  We sprung ahead with the rest of the world that observes "fast time," as an old lady I once knew used to call it.  We have been enjoying working in the yard later in the evenings with that extra daylight, but I'm not certain my brain has made the mental adjustments quite yet.  Still, this weekend I managed to till my small garden and plant my first vegetable crops (peas and spinach). Next weekend we hope to till the big garden areas we have planned... if the weather cooperates.
Removing the Earth Boxes from the Garden Area
Breaking the Ground with Little Mantis
Pulling Out Tree Roots...
First Day of Tilling Complete
Day Two, Planting First Crops
Day Three, Preparing Ground for Flowers

Since the recent VERY heavy rain, right after Joe had managed to get the new roads started, the tractor has been sitting idle in her carport.  The ground has been too wet to continue the road work... perhaps tomorrow.  Nevertheless, Joe has kept busy hand clearing the thick underbrush.  We have PILES of brush to burn when that phase arrives.  We have cleared almost enough to allow us to plant the trees we will use to create our noise and privacy barrier, while allowing us easy access to the community drainage trench which requires regular maintenance.
Clearing to the Community Trench
Clearing and Brush Piles
Hand Clearing Brush
Making Headway
Brush Be Gone
Clear, Clear, Clear

I am SO looking forward to Spring.  The peach, plum, cherry and pear trees are all getting ready to burst forth with their first year of blossoms, here at the farm.  The figs were looking VERY good, VERY ready to blossom, when they got hit with a hard frost.  I think we will be lucky to get anything on those trees this year.  I just hope the trees recover.  The apple trees are not yet showing the same, "ready to blossom," as the others. Still, I imagine they will in their own good time.

This weekend will be filled (we hope) with the BIG tiller (rental), creating gardens and planting trees.... I think we have 40 trees to plant...... wish us good weather!

This afternoon I baked a mini cake in the crock pot.  I used half of the batter for the typical white birthday cake, which results in a perfect mini-loaf cake.  For grins, I decided to add chocolate frosting.  I'm still too full from supper tonight to have a slice, but I'm thinking that birthday cake for breakfast sounds yummy!

Breakfast Cake?


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hello Judy!! It has been a long time since I commented, but I'm still lurking around your blog...

I've seen recipes for making cake in the crockpot and have wondered how it was--I think 'bread-anything' is good and cake for breakfast is always a great way to start the day!

Our weather is supposed to be wonderful the next few days--I'm itchy to get out and work in the warmth of spring too! Enjoy your day!!

Sharon said...

Good Morning, Judy!
Now I wouldn't have thought bread would work in a crockpot, but I can clearly see that it does!

Your dirt looks so nice and loamy, I have dirt envy. I have Mantis envy. I really would love a little garden, but I know that as soon as the weather gets hot and steamy and the garden really needed a helping hand, I wouldn't be able to get out the door.

We have a lot of dead branch clean-up around here too, looks like you guys did a good job!

Oh, I would love cake for breakfast, but, I have a Dr appt and it's NPO and it's not for over 3 hours yet. Not fair, the Dr should come in early on blood days.

Have a great day! Don't work too hard!

Judy's Corner said...

Hi Kim! Nice to see you... I can hardly wait for the weather to be nice consistently... of course, I imagine it won't be long before I am bemoaning the heat! LOL

Judy's Corner said...

Haha Sharon! Don't have dirt envy just yet... let's see how successful this year's crops are and then we can determine whether the dirt lives up to its appearance!

mixednut555 said...


We are not on fast time here in Hawaii, consequently during daylight savings we are even MORE behind the rest of the US. Lovely post, I can almost smell the bread and the cake!

Chris said...

Love you updates. funny you would be trying out bread making, I just dug out our bread machine a couple weeks ago and am having fun experimenting. We are having the same problem with wet weather here and this next week isn't promising any better. Welcome to March!