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Make It Yourself: Grammy’s Winter Bread

Make It Yourself: Grammy’s Winter Bread

As the cold of winter sets in in the Pacific Northwest, us Washingtonians are hunkering down for the rain-filled season of gloom and grey. With the weather, comes my inevitable craving for good, old fashioned vittles.  For our cozy crew, this means herb crusted pork roasts and mashed potatoes, Dutch ovens full of piping hot soup, mulled wine by the gallon, and one of my (new) favorites… warm, crusty, buttered bread.

Now, I have to come clean on this one… the majority of the cuisine that comes out of my kitchen has been perfected over the course of many moons, but this crusty little baby is the first loaf of bread that I have ever made… EVER.  I used a recipe that I found in the depths of my grandmother’s kitchen.  It was written on a napkin and was hidden deep inside a recipe box that has been in the “baking cupboard” for decades and let me tell you what… there’s a reason why it was in that box.  Creating this little loaf of pillowey sunshine is nearly as easy as boiling water and the end result is delicious!

To start, gather up your ingredients grab your stand mixer and your dough hook, or a good ol’ fashioned bowl and spoon, and get ready for to partake in the easiest recipe you have ever made!

 

 

In your bowl, add three cups of regular All-Purpose flour (or APF as I like to call it), one teaspoon of salt, one half teaspoon of your active dry yeast and one and a half cups of warm water.

 

 

Now that you have all of your ingredients together, it’s time to get-a-mixin’!

 

 

If you’re using a stand-mixer, start her on low (this will keep the flour in the bowl and not all over your kitchen counters) and gradually increase the speed until all of the ingredients have come together in a nice pillowey ball and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Same goes for the old spoon and strength method.  Once the ingredients are combined and the dough pulls away from the sides, you’re ready to go!

 

 

And here’s the hard part… the wait.

After your dough has come together, just leave it in your bowl, cover it with plastic and find a nice cozy spot for it to proof.  The dough needs to rise for eight to twenty hours.  This may seem like an obscene amount of time, (I was shooketh when I read those numbers) but I promise you, the wait is COMPLETELY worth it.

 

 

I decided to make my dough at around 11 PM and let that baby rise until I came home from work the following afternoon around 6PM… so it sat for just under 20 hours.  I did make a few more loaves and proofed (the fancy term for letting your dough rise) them for different amounts of time within the criteria and they all turned out great!

Here’s what it looked like after proofing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

After my dough had proofed, I floured my countertops with a whole crap-ton of APF.  (This dough is extremely sticky and the liberal flouring really helps with cleanup.)  I used a sifter for even distribution, but regular old sprinkling works perfectly!

 

 

Once floured, I rolled and pulled and scraped my dough out of my mixing bowl and onto the floury countertop.

 

 

I de-ringed and dunked my hands in some flour and gave that baby a flip, tuck and roll.

 

 

You don’t want to overwork your dough so once it’s formed into a nice little button, give your hands a rinse and let that baby rise.

 

 

Thirty minutes is all it takes and while your dough is proofing again, you can start to prep your oven.

Crank it up to 450 degrees and get your Dutch oven (D.O), lid and all, in there to get nice and toasty while the oven preheats. If you don’t have a D.O., you can use any baking dish as long as it has high sides and a lid, but the cast iron really helps create that beautiful crust on the bottom of the loaf.

 

 

After the thirty minutes has elapsed and your oven and D.O. baking dish are both nice and hot, carefully slice an “X” into the top of your pillowey ball of dough and transfer it into the D.O. dish.

 

 

Pop that lid back on and get in the oven. Set your timer for 30 minutes and start to plan all of the delicious things you are going to do with your loaf once it’s done!

 

 

After thirty minutes has elapsed, remove the lid and admire your almost-finished product.

 

 

It was at this point in the breading process that I had to freak out a little… I couldn’t believe that I created something that looked so pretty and that smelled so good!  (Seriously, your house is going to smell like a bakery)

After having a quick peek at your loaf, toss that lid into the sink (remember, it’s HOT!) and get that bread back into the oven.  Your loaf needs another ten to fifteen minutes uncovered to brown that crust up and you’re in the home stretch!

 

 

It is now time to remove your D.O. from the oven and transfer your gorgeous loaf of bread onto a wire rack to cool.

 

 

You are going to be tempted to immediately slice and devour the fruits of your patience but the bread slices MUCH easier after it has had the chance to cool for a few minutes.

 

 

This loaf sat on the counter for about half an hour before I grabbed the serrated knife and got to slicing.

 

 

Mr. Pizza Arm approves!

 

 

 

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

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I’m a PNW girl from the top of my head straight down to the tips of my toes. I was born and raised and currently live in the gorgeous upper left with my railroading husband and our cat Dean. I am a full-time executive, part-time student, and find myself spending the majority of my free time in the beanery (aka kitchen) baking, sauteing, roasting, boiling, broiling and most importantly, EATING! I am honored to be a guest of Amber, The OG, and can’t wait to share more of myself, my recipes and my tips on life with all of you wonderful Broads!

Do-It-Yourself: How to Make an Awesome Candy Cane Decoration On the Cheap!

Do-It-Yourself: How to Make an Awesome Candy Cane Decoration On the Cheap!

Wrapping paper rolls- the swords of our childhood and the annoying long objects in our waste bins as adults.  (or maybe still swords… I don’t judge!).  As Christmas inches closer and closer, and money gets tighter and tighter, gigantic candy-canes are just what you didn’t know you needed!  Not only are they super easy and affordable to D.I.Y., they’re adorable additions to your Christmas-scapes, office decorations or even outdoor ornaments (if you live in a place where snow and rain don’t plague you during the winter).

 

One of my favorite things about these little-big guys is the fact that, during the holidays, I have literally every item I need in my house to make them.  I would be willing to bet that you do too!  The items you will need to create your own candy-canes are:

 

-Cardboard wrapping paper, paper towel and/or toilet paper rolls

-Red and white wire-lined ribbon

*if you don’t have ribbon or the time to hit up your local craft store, you can always use wrapping paper, acrylic paint, markers or anything you have on hand to decorate the canes to your liking

-Scissors

-Tape

*any kind of tape will do here; Duct, masking, Scotch, packing… Seriously, any kind.

 

 

 

 

To start, gather up your materials and get those rolls ready.  Because I had them on hand, I used wrapping paper rolls, but seriously, any kind of cardboard rolls will work just as long as you can cut them with your scissors. Plus… RECYCLING!

Now that you have your rolls all gathered, it’s time to cut some rings from those babies! This doesn’t have to be technical or measured or clean or neat.  I promised this would be an easy craft and to me, rulers or tape measures equal math, and math equals NOPE!  Nope is not easy in my book.

 

 

 

 

As you can see I wrote 1-1 & 1/2 inches on the roll… I was wrong and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I honestly don’t even know if those hash marks are an inch or an inch-and-a-half apart and really, you want rings of all different heights.  It makes forming the “hook” of your cane easier!

 

 

 

 

Snip snip, cut out those rings!  You’ll need between four and eight for each cane depending on their size.  I dedicated half of a wrapping paper roll to my rings, but if you find that you don’t have enough, (or too many) give it a few days… we all run out of TP at some point in the week!

Check out those awesome rings!  As you can see, they’re all different heights! And for those of you wondering… I made these at work… My desk wasn’t cleaned for this tutorial because this is what my desk looks like at any given moment and if someone tells you theirs isn’t, they’re lying.

 

 

 

 

Ok… back to those candy-canes!

We have our rings and now the hardest part of the whole project… making those suckers malleable enough to bend into your “hook”.  To do this, you’re going to take your trusty scissors and start cutting strips just about halfway up your rings.  Go all around those babies until you have something that looks like….

 

 

 

 

This will probably take you some time, so put on a good holiday movie or click on this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_StgHl92v5Q) … Here you can watch my personal hero, Nick Offerman, drink scotch in front of a fireplace for ten uninterrupted hours.  (It won’t take you this long to make your canes, but if you’re making a lot of them, Nick will keep you company for a good portion of your crafting time.  Plus, he’s gorgeous!)

 

 

 

 

You’re going to take your roll and your rings and lay them out to get an idea of how your cane is going to look.  Don’t worry about shoving your rings together, without tape, it’s nearly impossible to get them to stay.  This just helps you allocate your rings and form that trademark “hook”!

 

 

 

 

Now it’s really time to start constructing!

Because I was at work, and it was the only tape available, I used plain old clear tape.  (If you plan on using clear tape, you may want an extra roll or two of it handy, just to make sure you have enough). Slip that ring on your roll and get-to-taping

 

 

 

 

As you progress in your “hook” shaping and taping, you will want to make sure you align your rings so they gradually turn downward.  This is where I found myself utilizing my tape supply.  You really want to make sure those babies are taped down or you will find yourself “hook-less” when you go to wrap your canes.  The finished product should look something like the picture below…

 

 

 

 

You can see how those little cuts in the rings were really worth the time.  Notice all that tape too!  After connecting the rings, I went back over them and added more tape.  Once I had reinforced the “hook” I added EVEN MORE tape (Nick looks pretty impressed!).

 

 

 

 

After the time I spent cutting the rings, I wasn’t going to take any chances in those suckers falling apart.  Reinforcing the “hook” will make your candy-canes last more than just one holiday season as well!

It took me about 15 minutes to construct the three canes below (not including the monotonous ring-cutting).  I used two wrapping paper rolls, cut in half, and about half of the third roll that was used to make the rings.

 

 

 

 

Now, it’s time to wrap those babies up in your ribbon!  This jumbo ribbon came from Michael’s and was a whopping 70% off with an in-store coupon.  The single roll pictured below cost around $1.25. I used it to make six canes and still had some leftover!

 

 

 

 

To begin wrapping, I started just below the “hook”.  I taped the end of the ribbon and wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped some more until I reached the bottom of the candy-cane!

 

 

 

 

Now that the majority of your cane is wrapped, it’s time to move on to the “hook”.  I found this was the most tricky part of the entire operation.  Wrapping something flat and relatively straight on to something the complete opposite is difficult. Don’t get frustrated if it takes a couple of times to get it how you want it!  You still have Nick and his cozy fire keeping you company, right?!

 

 

 

 

Just as you did with the other end, you’re going to “tuck in” that extra ribbon and, if you want, reinforce it with tape.

 

And that, my friends, is it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

**We love to hear from our readers! If you have a thought or opinion about something in this article, please comment! Let’s get a convo started!**

Like what you read? Subscribe to The Bonafide Broad to get this kind of exclusive content right in your inbox! Just click this link and enter your email addy!

Do your friends and family a solid and share this post so they can benefit from it, too! Just click the appropriate button below to share it to your preferred social media platform. Thank you for supporting The Bonafide Broad!

 

 

 

I’m a PNW girl from the top of my head straight down to the tips of my toes. I was born and raised and currently live in the gorgeous upper left with my railroading husband and our cat Dean. I am a full-time executive, part-time student, and find myself spending the majority of my free time in the beanery (aka kitchen) baking, sauteing, roasting, boiling, broiling and most importantly, EATING! I am honored to be a guest of Amber, The OG, and can’t wait to share more of myself, my recipes and my tips on life with all of you wonderful Broads!