Pickled Garlic Scapes…Now Isn’t That Genius!

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Your Daily Homemade Bread Easy Stand Mixer Dough Recipes: Bagels, Rolls, & Sweet Treats

Just a quick post because this idea is not mine and in fact I’d never heard of this before, but it certainly bears repeating and sharing!!

What To Do With Garlic Scapes

pickled garlic scapesI love finding new (and preferably easy!) things to do with the produce of my garden. I especially love it when those things teach me how to use something I’m not entirely familiar with; and silly as it might sound, simple as they might be, garlic scapes are one thing I haven’t really found my stride with yet (that and kale, except for using it as a goose and poultry feed – they LOOOOVVVE it!). But this post might just change everything!

It’s a VERY simple recipe and instructional for pickling garlic scapes. I’ll leave it to the Homesteader Supply Blog to explain, but these sound like they might even rival dilly beans!! Now, to leave you all with a link and go harvest the last of those scapes.. Boy I wish I had planted more garlic (but don’t I always…?).

Check It Out!

You’ll find this lovely little post right here:

Homesteader’s Supply Pickled Garlic Scapes Instructions

And here’s a handy little bit about how to harvest and use garlic scapes:

How to Use Garlic Scapes

Stand Mixer Bread Questions and Answers: Mixing In Yeast

From time to time I get questions in from blog readers and book readers asking me to help them out with a situation or clarify something in one of my recipes or in Your Daily Homemade Bread. And since my teachers always told me not to be afraid to ask because if I had a question, chances are someone else does, too, sharing those questions and answers seems to make a lot of sense.

And so, today we start with the first and probably one of the most common questions asked about the stand mixer and KitchenAid bread recipes I’ve published:

Does the Instant Yeast REALLY Get Mixed in With the Dry Ingredients?

Here’s a question from reader BB:

Kitchenaid Bread Recipe

I came across your website and want to try the homemade white bread using my Kitchenaid mixer. My question is this…do I mix the yeast in the water or add it in with “all” dry ingredients? I have baked enough to know that usually the yeast gets mixed with the water first but recipe does not specify so I thought I would ask. Thank you for your time and I can’t wait to try this recipe.

(I believe this question refers to the recipe originally published on the site here, although the recipe is also included in the more comprehensive book along with additional ways to use the white bread dough…like for bread bowls, etc. There is a more complete discussion regarding the use and ease of Instant Yeast, which is used in most all of my stand mixer bread recipes, in my book: Your Daily Homemade Bread: Easy Stand Mixer Bread Recipes: Best Basics.)

This is a completely understandable question because regular active dry yeast does certainly require a period of proofing in liquid to activate it before you can add it to your bread recipe – more measuring, more waiting, more steps. Instant Yeast is a wonderful product because it lets you cut out all that fuss and also cuts out the first long rise and punching down. It literally makes it possible to throw all your ingredients together, knead (preferably with the mixer), and make a virtually hands-free bread, a REAL loaf of bread, with about a quarter of the work and waiting.

My response to the very kind and inquisitive BB was this:

The yeast does not get mixed in with the water. It does not need to proof like regular yeast does. It is correct to mix it in with the dry ingredients and fat, and then add the water to the mix. The reason is that this recipe is using a faster acting yeast (instant yeast, bread machine yeast, or rapid rise versions are all the same and all fine to use). It is specifically designed to cut the time and kneading and to be an easier bread to make.

So while it can be tough for us more traditional cooks to buck something our mothers or grandmothers (maybe your father or grandfather!) taught us, in this case it is most definitely the right thing to do! Embrace the change and this great product and enjoy this easier way to make it possible to eat well traditionally while keeping up in this busy modern world!

Creamy Homestead Hot Chocolate

Homemade hot cocoa mixWe’re in New England. Hot Chocolate is an absolute “must” for us. And with four kids, I go through a lot of it. The only trouble is, because we grow nearly all of our food here (with the exception of those staples like flour and sugar, etc.), I don’t actually go to a store all that often. In fact, I hardly ever do even for those things; I actually order most of my staples online from WalMart.com. I know we all have a love-hate relationship with Wal Mart but let’s face it – their prices beat almost everyone else, they employ large numbers of Americans, and if you spend $50 you get free shipping – so my staples cost me no more than a trip to the store; probably less considering the time I don’t lose and the gas I don’t burn.

But I digress. The short story is that I always seem to be out of hot cocoa mix. And then there is the added issue that I am buying something with unnecessary ingredients like dry milk, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors, amongst other things that you personally may or may not be concerned with (for an example of what you’ll find in a leading brand hot cocoa mix like Swiss Miss, check this out).

And then there is the issue that I have this abundance of milk from those over-achieving little backyard Jerseys. An awful problem to have, I know. At any rate, it seems silly to me to be paying for a product with dry milk in it, which I’m not overly thrilled about, and wasting the perfectly good, healthy that milk I need to do something with anyway. And so I decided to go old-school and find an easy homemade hot chocolate recipe that is made with milk and minimal extraneous ingredients. After tweaking a few, below is what I came up with. It’s great for homesteaders, but of course it’s great for anyone who is just looking for a simplified homemade hot cocoa recipe. It uses only a couple common pantry staples, so odds are excellent that you already have everything you need at home.

Homemade Homestead Hot Cocoa Recipe

What we’re basically looking at here is a 2:1 ratio of powdered sugar to baking cocoa (powder). Using this basic ratio, you can make up your hot chocolate mix ahead of time in as large or small a quantity as you want for easy make-ahead use (a great recipe to add to your Make-Ahead Mix arsenal!).

The following recipe is enough to make a prepared half-gallon batch of homemade hot chocolate with milk. But what I like to do is crack out a quart or half-gallon mason jar and just keep alternating and filling until I have a jar full of mix ready for later use.

Creamy Homestead Hot Chocolate
Author: 
Recipe type: Hot Beverage
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An easy, creamy homemade hot chocolate made with real milk and a couple common staple ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 cup powdered baking cocoa
  • ½ gallon milk
Instructions
  1. Pour milk into a large saucepan. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Heat and stir over medium heat until steaming. Do not boil!
  2. *You may also prepare this in a crock pot (on high or low, but obviously low will take longer and do keep an eye on it so that it does not boil when on high) and keep warm on the “Warm” setting.
  3. **You may also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract if desired.

Make-Ahead Creamy Homestead Hot Cocoa Mix

If you want to make a prepared make-ahead homemade hot cocoa mix, simply combine 6 cups of powdered sugar and 3 cups of powdered baking cocoa in a large (2 quart) canning jar or large container (yes, it will fit, but you may have to shake gently as you add ingredients to settle them). Shake to combine through until the mixture appears evenly distributed throughout.

This recipe will make 2 quarts of mix, which stores nicely in Ball Half Gallon Mason Jars.

Hot Chocolate Mix RecipeAlternatively, if you are giving as a gift and you like the “sand art” appearance of the layers, alternate the cocoa and the powdered sugar, but do not shake. Do be sure, though, to include shaking as the first step in any attached instructions you give. You can cut the recipe in half to prepare in one-quart canning jars.

To prepare hot chocolate by the cup from the prepared mix, add 2 to 3 large teaspoons cocoa mix to a cup of hot milk. To make a batch, use 3 cups mix to each 1/2 gallon hot milk.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and it brings you many warm winter mornings and afternoons! Incidentally, this is an excellent recipe to use with any of the grown-up hot chocolate recipes in A Drink for All Seasons: Winter and the Holidays.

Enjoy!