Covered Up in Bread


I’ve been covered up in baking bread the past week–among other things, one of which I’ll post about tomorrow. (Major overhaul of the house and studio gardens.) I’ve lost count of how many loaves of bread I’ve made, but bread is served at every meal at retreats. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. The next upcoming retreat starts August 28 and it’s a five-day series of workshops. That means 15 meals altogether.

It’s a lot of bread.

I bake and freeze bread in advance because, together with my teacher (for this upcoming retreat, LauraP), I’m giving workshops–but I’m also providing those 15 meals. I’m really proud of the meals I serve at retreats at Sassafras Farm. Everything is made from scratch, by me. Advance preparation is crucial. Anything that can be prepped in advance and frozen is done to make it faster for me to pull meals together. This past week has been a flurry of advance preparation activity as this week will be focused mostly on mowing and milking. I have to get together a good 20 gallons of milk, fresh, for a retreat that includes two days of cheesemaking.

Back to the bread–I want to share some photos of some of the breads I’ve made in the past week, using home-ground whole grains.

This bread was made using kamut.
Kamut is also called Khorasan wheat or Pharaoh grain. It was found in Egyptian tombs. This ancient grain is very nutritious, with about 30 percent more protein than wheat. It has something of a nutty, corn-like flavor, and makes very tender loaves with a golden color. I really like it.

This one is barley with some cooked multi-colored quinoa mixed into the dough.
And this one is hard red winter wheat.
I also made some whole wheat with spelt loaves, as well as some multi-grain including spelt, hard red winter wheat, buckwheat, oats, barley, and kamut. (LOVE that last one.)

I’m really loving grinding my own grains. I mean, where else are you going to get kamut flour unless you buy the kamut and grind it yourself? By the way, all of these breads are made with my Grandmother Bread recipe, just substituting the grains. I like to mix in some all-purpose flour for lightness, and use a dough conditioner/enhancer.

Along with baking loaves, I also made pizza bread. The first day of a retreat including cheesemaking, I teach homemade mozzarella and all the attendees make their own cheese. That evening, for dinner, they make pizza with their mozzarella. I lay out topping choices and give them a partially baked pizza crust to create their own unique pizza with their very own cheese.

Partially baked pizza crusts:
These crusts are made from whole wheat with spelt. I baked them for about 5 minutes, just enough to set them but not bake them completely. I cool the partially baked crusts on racks before packing them up.
Using gallon freezer bags, I put two crusts to a bag.
This was the first batch of crusts I made. I made more the next day, and kept baking loaf breads. Making pizza crusts in advance is something I also do myself. There’s nothing like grabbing a prepared homemade crust out of the freezer on a crazy day to make dinner easy. And, of course, I always to do it in advance this way for retreats.

Preparing for a retreat is a big undertaking. I’m so excited about the next one coming up because I’m really well stocked, am preparing some really special things for the meals, and even got the studio shelves re-organized and worked on my equipment and tools where I needed beefing up.

P.S. You can find out all about upcoming retreats here. There are still a few spaces available, so come on, join us at one of the events!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on August 19, 2014  

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4 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 8-19

    For anyone who might want to try Kamut, but not start off with grinding grains, Bob’s Red Mill has Kamut Flour which you can buy online or check the website for a location near your area which sells Bob’s Red Mill products. Website is:

  2. 8-19

    Well, with all the effort and planning I bet you’ve had virtually no time to notice your nest is empty! I bet your kids are proud of how you’ve handled them growing up and out. the only draw back is that they’re missing all that home-made goodness. Can you pack some up for Weston? Ross (when he’s on base)? Are they allowed care packages?

  3. 8-19

    The workshops all sound so interesting. It is my dream to come. I live in MN. The cost of flying and motel are too much for me. Wish I lived close so I could drive to them. All of you who are lucky to attend, HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME.

    MN Mona

  4. 8-19

    Suzanne, you are certainly a wonder of a woman AKA Wonder Woman–you gave inspired so many especially when it comes to baking their own breads and yeast goods. I have baking our bread, buns and rolls etc.for about 25 years, to me it is a labor of love, I know what goes into our bread, where it is baked, and who touches it, that is important to me.

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