Can’t Buy it? Bake it!

Easy Homemade Bread & Baking Resources

Not surprisingly, during this time of stocking up (and let’s be honest, flat-out panic buying), many of the items we take for granted are just not available on store shelves. Chief among them, bread…and bread is an important staple for many, most especially when the kids are all home and looking for lunches!

If you can bake your own bread, though, that dearth is less of an issue for you. And this looks like a good time to revive or to learn a new old trick or two, to better situate yourself to deal with not only this crisis, but future impacts that might come along.

Baking and Bread Recipes Designed for Modern Life & Times

easy standmixer bread, KitchenAid bread recipe

The goal of my site and my published works has always been to bring self-sustaining knowledge, tips, tricks, and skills, back to the masses; to modify recipes that make it possible for people to make more of their own, cleaner, better, tastier foods from scratch.

I acknowledge that this isn’t always easy when we are in the throes of our “normal” busy day to day lives. So, I’ve always tried to develop helpful posts and books with that in mind, and find the recipes and methods that fit a little more easily into daily life. I’ve had excellent feedback from a number of readers and users saying that they have found these resources to be exactly that—helpful, easier, less-intimidating, and more manageable for today’s busy home cooks.

Judging from the scarcity of flour and basic baking supplies in the stores, people are doing exactly that—becoming a little more self-sufficient, depending more on themselves, and getting lined up to at least be able to bake their own bread and foods for a bit. It’s an excellent skill for the everyday, but one thing we are also learning is that learning and honing a few of these skills now during our time of need is proving an excellent, in fact at times imperative, skill to have in your repertoire. Knowledge can never be lost, and is always worth having, now and in the future—these crazy days prove you never know when you might need to be a little more prepared toward self-sufficiency.

Bake-Your-Own Resources for Beginners to Experienced Bread Bakers

Following is a compiled list of my books and other resources that can help you fill the needs of your pantry while the shelves are bare (and maybe for a long time after!):

*All books are available through Amazon in both Paperback and for instant download via Kindle/Kindle Reader Apps.

Daily Homemade Bread easier, faster homemade bread

your stand mixer (think, KitchenAid® mixer breads). It uses instant/rapid rise yeast to speed and streamline the process.

No pan? No problem! Choose the French or Italian breads that only require a simple baking sheet!

no-knead bread recipes, bake no-knead bread

—so if your yeast supply is getting low, take a look at these recipes! No-Knead bread recipes are also excellent time savers, as the “hands-on” time is virtually nil (and the science of it is kind of fun, too). You’ll find bagels, rolls, and sweet treats, too.

mason jar baking mixes, prep baking mixes

The measuring and proportioning involved in making these mixes is a great project to do with kids—and one that extends learning in a practical way, too!

Even if you don’t want to take the time to make a lot of mixes ahead, the batches themselves make good, easy baking recipes with normal, minimal ingredients.

  • Sourdough Starter Recipe (Levain): Yeast is one of those somewhat scarce ingredients on the grocery stores lately—probably because they don’t stock as much as they used to, anyway, so it can sell out quick with just a few shoppers. Sourdough bread doesn’t need yeast, though. And you don’t need yeast to make a sourdough starter! This is a traditional, healthy bread (actually better tolerated by a lot of people because of the breakdown of the process), often used by frugal mothers and grandmothers and by rural-dwellers who didn’t rely on frequent trips to the corner store—they simply kept a starter culture going in the kitchen instead.

    And yes, you will find some easy sourdough bread recipes in the Quick-Time Homemade Bread book above!  (*Note: Though you do not need yeast to make a sourdough starter or to make sourdough bread, if you have a pinch to spare you can throw it in to make the process go a little faster.)

  • Beer Bread Recipe (plus make-your-own self-rising flour link): Beer bread is technically a quick-bread, but easier and unlike any other you’ve ever eaten.
easy beer bread recipe, no yeast necessary

It’s a quick bread a bit more like regular sandwich bread that is great to have with butter, as a dinner side, or with cheese, and it works well for sandwiches, too.

This recipe could be a real life-saver for those of you who are out of bread and out of time!




Math, Science, Life Skills, Learning…Baking Has a Lot of Educational & Life Value to Offer!

Let’s not forget—baking is actually a very valuable learning exercise that includes a lot of hands-on math and science, reading, and more. For many of you battling the boredom and looking for meaningful, useful ways to muddle through these awkward pseudo-homeschooling times, wrapping in some bread-making and baking activities is truly double-duty!

I hope you find these resources very useful. All are available via Amazon in paperback and for immediate download for Kindle and Kindle e-reader apps; just follow the above links.

Stay safe, take heart, and BE WELL!!




*This post contains affiliate links to helpful books and products, at no additional cost to the reader/purchaser. This will take you to secure login and purchasing via your personal Amazon account. NO personal information is shared with this website from Amazon. Links such as these help to support and maintain this website. Thank you for clicking through to purchase these products!

Make Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries!

Elderberries may be hitting the mainstream now for their promising antiviral benefits, but the truth is that a lot of us homesteading and country types have had a relationship with elderberries for a very long time. Elderberries were always a part of our late-summer preserving in my mother’s and my grandmother’s kitchens.

Blessed with Abundance…Smells Like Childhood

elderberries on stem

If you grew up with elderberries, you’re sure to remember the rich smell of it processing. In my house it was always in the form of jelly. I recall it as a fruity yet rich, deep, earthy flavor, actually something of an acquired taste for me as a youngster, but which I grew to appreciate even more as an adult. We were blessed both on our property and my grandparents’ property next door with an abundant grove. Over the years, though, many of those bushes fell away, probably choked out by more dominant growth, and so, too, did my knowledge of elderberry as a prime food source.

I understand that a few bushes remain and I’ll have to go scouting for some cutting to root for planting elderberries here on the homestead (not that I don’t have native elderberries available near me, and in fact I have plenty of local cuttings, but there’s something about owning a piece of grandma’s elderberry bush that draws me).

Elderberry Knowledge Lost & Re-Found

At some point about five years ago I was reminded of elderberries once again. I think it came to me when we started making homemade wines with the fruits of our land and started looking at things other than grapes to make wine with. An older gentleman at the gym made mention to my husband, who made mention to me, and there was my head-smack moment. Elderberry is the PERFECT flavor for my husband! He’s not much of a sweets-eater, but elderberries are not sweet, and nor are most recipes that use elderberries. Earthy and balanced, he’d love elderberry anything, and I should have thought of it years before. In a wine, elderberry tends toward dark, heavier and dry, and not very sweet. exactly what he’d want. That gentleman sent him home with a bottle, and the rest, well, it’s homemade wine history.

Making Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries

how to make elderberry jelly from dried elderberries

I did, however, manage to convince my husband to let me use a small portion of our first elderberry forages for a batch of jelly. And on this, too, he soon became hooked. Elderberry jelly recipes are pretty basic, and not too involved. The problem is often finding elderberries in season to make them…or being willing enough to spare from the wine for the jelly!

Recently, however, I chanced across a post from an herb and spice company, Frontier Co-Op, that I frequently order from online (usually through Amazon because it gets around their high wholesale minimums). I order from them primarily for ingredients for my homemade elderberry tea mixes. But Frontier had recently shared a post on How to Make Elderberry Jelly from Dried Elderberries. This is a brilliant, simple elderberry jam recipe made from dried elderberries, so you can make it at any time of the year.

One More way To Get Our Daily Dose of Elderberry

Especially in the winter months (but really all year long), we try to incorporate elderberry into our daily diet. We do it for the immune support, the antioxidants and antiviral benefits, the high vitamin and mineral and overall strong nutritional profile, but mostly, we use it for the taste of elderberry. It’s simply delicious! We enjoy elderberry in wine. We enjoy it mostly in tea–it’s not hard to make a tasty, relaxing cup of elderberry tea a part of your daily habit. But we enjoy elderberry in other ways, too; like that jelly and like syrup for yogurt and summertime spritzers.

In the end, I believe we can get far with small changes to our daily diet and a return to traditional, wholesome, nutritional foods like elderberries. The challenge for us in this modern crazy age is finding the ways to incorporate those good foods. Simple recipes like this elderberry jelly that are easy–and delicious!–to use every day make eating well and harnessing the power of healthful traditional foods that much easier. I hope you, like me, SHARE and ENJOY this handy elderberry jelly recipe!

New Release: Wine Making Made Easy

Here we go again, but a bit of a different path this time!

Once again, I’ve set off to share easier, more simplified, more doable ways to enjoy homemade goods and bring back some of that solid country homesteading knowledge. This time, it’s winemaking at home–easy country winemaking without all the modern chemistry and fuss.

ORDER Your Copy NOW! Paperback or Kindle

Wine Making Made Easy: How to Make Easy Homemade Wine from Grapes, Fruit, & More by Mary Ellen Ward

Winemaking is so complicated! …Or is it?

Home wine making used to be simple. And now it is again!

Our grandparents, and generations of grandparents before them, made excellent wines with minimal fuss, minimal equipment, and no added sulfites or additives. They made them not just from grapes but from all manner of available fruits, berries, honey, and other produce. They didn’t spend a lot of money. They didn’t overwhelm themselves with minuscule measurements and chemistry. They didn’t dwindle down the savings to buy pricey containers for fermenting or for storing. They made wine in tune with the rhythms of nature, with basic equipment.

They made Good. Simple. Cheap. Easy. Homemade Wine!

If you’ve always wanted to make wine but thought the process or investment was beyond you, this is the book for you. This is the book that takes winemaking back to its roots. The no-fuss, no-frills method of wine making that uses everyday equipment you can buy right downtown. This simplified and basic process uses no added preservatives, sulfites, or unrecognizable ingredients. Just good, clean, wine-making for good, clean, fun-making wine!

Amazon.com

Available Now in Paperback and Kindle Versions

Copies are now available at Amazon.com. This is the book for all of you who have thought about making fun, tasty wines at home, but were always a bit scared of the prospect. We’re taking it back to the basics here. We’re taking the fear out of it–and the EXPENSE, too! Order your copy today!

P.S. These are great books for holiday gift-giving!

P.P.S. This isn’t just a book for the summer growing season! Find out how to make wines in the off-season (when you have more time!?) with frozen fruits, honey, vintner’s juices, and more.

P.P.P.S. Enjoy, and Many Thanks!

Get your copy here: Paperback or Kindle.

Pickled Garlic Scapes…Now Isn’t That Genius!

Hey did you hear? Volume II of ‘Your Daily Homemade Bread’ is now available on Amazon! The best and easiest bagels, buns, sweet rolls, English muffins and more!
Get yours now – under $3!
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

Using What You Have: Homemade Croutons

A large part of saving money and providing wholesome foods for your family on a budget depends on using what you have, and getting as much good use out of your foods as possible. The grocery bill in an average household is one of the highest monthly https://thehomemadehomestead.com/?p=29expenses–probably in direct competition with the mortgage in many homes, I’d venture to bet.

A lot of time and effort goes into producing the food we eat here on our little self sufficient homestead. That includes the baked goods and breads that are mainstays in the house. I make all of my own bread because it is cheaper and it is much better, and I can control what goes into it–and the preservatives that don’t!

That’s a story for a different day, but the point I am coming to is that for all the time, money, and effort that goes into our diet, I certainly don’t want to waste it! And the way to do that is to get as much use out of all of it as I can. It makes me feel better about cutting down the waste and diminishing my “footprint” upon the earth, but more practically, it saves us LOADS of money!

Extending the use of my “waste” bread (ends, random pieces, older slices and drying pieces) is one of the easiest and tastiest of my little kitchen hacks. And one of the most versatile and well-loved is home made croutons. Homemade croutons are so simple to make, it’s really silly not to. And I think you’ll find the results are OH so much better than what’s boxed up at the store. So here’s how to get the most of your bread odds and ends by making home made croutons.

Homemade Croutons

Very simply, all you have to do is this:

  1. Cut leftover bread into cubes of desired size – usually about an inch square for me. Undried or dried is fine; in fact you can do it from a perfectly good, fresh loaf, too.
  2. Spread bread cubes on a cookie sheet and toss with vegetable or olive oil (olive oil is best, but you can use what you have, too–melted butter works as well). Sprinkle with any desired flavorings, such as herb mixes, seasoning salts, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese….really, whatever you like.
  3. Toast in preheated 350 degree oven until crunchy (this will depend somewhat on whether you started with moist or dry cubes; check after 10 minutes and every 5 or 10 after that, but for moist bread expect more towards 20 or 30 minutes.

*Just a note: don’t be afraid to mix-and-match different bread flavors like whites and ryes or wheat or all of the above (or more!). It just adds dimension and flavor variety to your croutons.

That’s it! Just cool and eat. These delicious homemade croutons are excellent for salads, of course, but also in soups, snack mixes, as toppings to macaroni and cheese, casseroles, or even just as a crunchy snack on the go! Honestly if I don’t hide them from the kids, they seldom see a life long enough for any of these uses!

The best part about it is that home made croutons couldn’t get cheaper. You’re using what you have and getting more than your money’s worth. Do enjoy!