Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A hit and a miss

Well, I have finally made some bread. I have to qualify that a little because it wasn't a loaf of bread, but dinner rolls, and the recipe is found here. I just followed the directions and they turned out great. I include this because I wanted to do something that was really easy with a high probability of success. The added bonus was that the kids loved shaping the dough into rolls.
This is not, however, really a recipe I could make with only my food storage at this point. I have heard of canned butter and powdered eggs, but have yet to acquire any. I guess the biggest point there is that if you want to be able to make things that are relatively "normal" in an emergency situation, you will have to have saved or have access to items that are obtainable now but may not be part of what are thought of as common emergency staples, like wheat, rice, beans, salt. If you have chickens and a milk cow, you are in pretty good shape for this recipe if you know how to make butter, but I'm pretty sure that most of the people around here, like me, are not in that position. If you want food to taste good, you need things to enhance the staples, like spices and baking ingredients.
I guess a second point that is important to me is the need to practice before I get into an emergency, so that I can see what I would actually need. I need to find a more basic bread recipe (ideas welcome) and become so proficient at making it that it becomes second nature. I fully expect to have to practice to become successful--breadmaking is an art, after all. But I would a)be saving money by making my own, b)be used to using my food storage in an emergency situation, and c) be able to provide something that has become familiar for my children in an emergency situation.
The rolls were a hit. My most recent bean creation, however, was a miss. The beans and I are running even again--I am 2 for 4 in terms of success. This is another area where practice for me has become vital. In this recipe, it called for crushed red peppers--you may recall in another recipe, it was the amount of peppers that I would change as well--and it ended up that the amount was not a "winning combination" for our family. Way too hot. In fact, after tasting them (and having them leave a burning aftertaste sensation) I called my best source, (Mom) and she said that a fourth of the amount of peppers that I added would have been sufficient. (I am finding that ignorance is not bliss when it comes to dealing with peppers.)
The plus side (in terms of learning) to these beans:
---the method ( my own overnight soaking+the quick soak in the crockpot dictated by the recipe) gave the beans a wonderful saucy consistency, enhanced when I tried to lessen the heat by adding some tomato sauce to the beans. (The tomato sauce didn't seem to affect the strength of the peppers, but the consistency of the beans was great on the rice.) The beans mashed up wonderfully with just a spoon, so in at least one other recipe that I have yet to try where it says to run the beans through a food processor, it would probably work without one if I cook them like this. Live and learn.
---My husband and I have different tolerance for the peppers than the children do. He and I ate the beans, and our children tried them. (We had a main dish along with this that was a lot more popular, and the rice was more popular without the beans.) One child said that the beginning taste was good, but afterwards they burned your tongue, and they basically were not a big hit. Somewhere in the middle in terms of the peppers would probably have made everyone a lot happier, and in an emergency situation, little things can make a difference in the happiness level.
---I found out the drawbacks to this recipe using a $.78 bag of beans, and a small amount of dried peppers from a new $.50 package. We had additional food at the table that my children could eat if this was unsuccessful (which it was).

I will probably try this recipe again (once) and try to switch things around to better suit my family's taste. There were other ingredients, such as bouillon, involved, and it will be interesting to see if I can make this tastier for us. If it is successful, I will link to it, and tell how I changed it. If it isn't successful, well, at least I tried.
Onward and upward. If anyone is still reading at this point, please practice with food storage ingredients. Ruining a pot of beans when you can replace the beans for $.78 is easier to stomach than when you ruin a pot of beans during an emergency when you can't replace them at all.


Alison said...

I've been making all our bread for 7 months now (100% whole grain bread from home ground white wheat). I use this recipe with a few changes: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Simple-Whole-Wheat-Bread/Detail.aspx
My changes: I use all freshly ground wheat flour (no white flour at all), olive oil instead of butter, and I add 3 Tbsp vital wheat gluten (added with the 2nd addition of flour). I use a Kitchenaid to mix the dough. Lately I've also been replacing 1 cup of flour with oats, and adding 1/4 cup of ground flax seed, too, but you certainly don't need to do that. Oh, I don't butter the tops either. Anyway, I encourage you to try it! It's good!

Marie said...

This recipe looks great--and if I use the changes you made, I have all the ingredients you mention in food storage, except the wheat gluten, which I will have to look into. I also appreciate the ideas for variety--I bet the oats would be a big hit. I look forward to trying it--thanks for letting me know about it!