Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sourdough Communion Bread

It appears to be my turn to make communion bread.  I always delay it as long as possible, hence.... December is usually the month I am pulling it together.  This year, I want to try a Sourdough Communion Bread, more like a cracker than we usually have.  The recipe that I ended up with:

1 cup starter
1 cup flour
let sit overnight 
(I always have a sponge going.  I just pulled two cups out and went from there)

2 cups sponge
approximately 1 cup flour 
(1/2 white, 1/2 fresh ground wheat/barley)
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt

(you could also add about 1/4 tsp baking soda, if desired)

This came together in the mixer with the dough hook until it had the consistence of pie crust.  I then let it rest for a couple of hours before working it into crackers.
Cracker Formation:

Work in small batches.  First, separate the dough into 4 equal chunks.
Roll out very thin

sprinkle a little salt on top and press in, if desired
pierce all over with a fork

use a pizza cutter or something like that to score
 bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

This recipe made approximately 300 pieces of communion bread.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Lance's Bear Hunt

We have a friend, his name is Lance,
he likes to hunt for bear......
and when he hunts, he really hunts,
and then he loves to share  :)

 Our sweet friend has blessed us abundantly with bear meat and bear fat from a very local source.  OK, I have been up and down on this one.  It really has some..... smell to it.  Not bad, just different.  I'm working on it.

We bottled up several quarts of beautiful, rendered bear fat.  How do you do that, and why???? you might be asking.  Well, here are directions and some of the reported uses and facts for rendered bear fat.

Take the bear fat, clean it, chunk it up, put it in a big pot, put on a stove (we used the wood stove) and liquify.  Strain while it is warm and bottle up.  Store in a cool place.  It looks like hard shortening when it is cold.

I confess, I did not know I should clean and chunk it before rendering it for this batch, but it seems like it turned out fine.  I'll let you know how the different process works out.

So, the uses, in no particular order:
(I have only tried a few of these, but we plan on trying out as many as possible this winter)
  • Boot oil / Leather conditioner
  • Wood conditioner
  • Apparently makes the finest croissant, biscuit and pie crust you can make
  • A concentrated energy source
  • Soap making
  • Candle making
  • Hair grease (we will not be trying this)
  • Oil lamp
  • High quality gun oil
  • Pemmican
I will let you know how it goes.  If it goes rancid, I'm thinking boot oil.


Here are a couple of great web sites Mrs. Survival  and Grandpappy's that have a lot of basic information on soap and candle making.  Can we use some modern ingredients instead of this wood ash thing?   Still in the experiment phase.  I have never actually made either of these items in my life...... but that does not mean it is not on my radar.  :)

ye olde style

If You EVER want to try this, please check out this very helpful web site.... How To Make Soap
 Here is a link to the history of soap making.  Maybe.  :)  Soap Facts 

Ingredients: bear fat, white wood ash

  1. Sift ash into cold water. Let sit overnight, then strain through a cheesecloth, saving the potash water. 
  2. Render bear fat in a kettle over medium heat. 
  3. Boil a quantity of the potash water and rendered bear fat while stirring constantly.
  4. The mixture will react. Continue adding potash and rendered fat until you have a suitable quantity of soap. Ensure there is no excess lye by tasting the soap. If it tastes sharply of the potash water, add more fat and stir some more.
  5. Remove from heat and ensure saponification has halted. Pour into molds or suitable containers before it solidifies.


    Ingredients: bear fat, bees wax, cod liver oil
  1. Take equal parts of rendered bear fat, beeswax and cod liver oil, heat together slowly until thoroughly liquefied and blended.
  2. If you use just bear fat, it will eventually degrade the leather.
  3. Pour off into containers and allow to cool to solidity. 
  4. This can also also be rubbed in to protect wood.
Here is a product advertisement from Finland for Bear Grease leather conditioner.  I think it has other ingredients added.   "Bear is simply the best leather dressing on the market. It nurtures leather. It softens leather stiff with age. It waterproofs leather. It restores leather's warm glow. Use on work boots, hunting boots, hiking boots, saddles, harnesses, leather furniture, baseball gloves and leather jackets."

RECIPE #3 - Pemmican

Grandpappy has pemmican information all organized as well.

Native Americans used rendered bear fat, dried preserved meat, nuts and berries and ground everything up/mixed in the fat to create pemmican.  Pemmican is a compact source of energy that contains protein, fiber, fat, carbs, sugars, vitamins and minerals... an advance protein bar perhaps.

I just wonder how this tastes. 

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Another new baby

    Our daughter had a healthy baby girl two weeks ago.  She is sweet and very healthy, despite being almost four weeks early.  Sweet Gracie brings another grandbaby in the mix and I am so happy!

    They came home two days after her birth, only to have us haul them to our son and daughter in law's house a couple of days later.  We were slammed by a big snow storm which brought down trees and power lines everywhere.... along with generally creating havoc within our county.    Exhibiting a sweet sense of hospitality, our "Dirtbikes and Dollies" kids hosted them for several days, and also hosted our family Thanksgiving..... they were the only ones with power.  Their story of this time is here

    During this time, a dear friend took some wonderful pictures of the baby.  Thank you Jodi for the great pictures.  She also did a mini-session with my other sweet grandbabies.  What a sweet blessing. 

    I almost feel like I can begin some routines again.  Our days are beginning to settle down as the snow slowly melts.  Yesterday I was able to drive into town in my car.  The internet and power are back on.

    I confess, I miss my garden.  We were picking until the bitter end.  I am trying to learn how to make bear meat taste good.  (another story for another day).  I realized anew that clutter is not helpful, we can live with less, you can make wonderful meals on a wood stove, sourdough is amazing stuff when you have no power.  (crackers, bread, pancakes, muffins).

    Today, I am just trying to remember how to organize my thoughts.  Thanks for being such a big part of our life.

    Best of health to you