Arcadia Farms

  (Portage, Michigan)
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Bread and Broth

Now that the weather is getting cooler, I’m hoping to turn my efforts towards some of the non-gardening goals of Arcadia Farms. A major reason why we started this farming thing in the first place was to learn to eat healthy, live sustainably and to be producers instead of consumers only. Starting with this post, I’d like to introduce some topics that I’m going to categorize as “homesteading”. These topics will cover ways to create your own {fill in the blank here}, save money, save energy and generally provide for yourself. As with everything I blog about – keep in mind that I’m no expert. If you’re here looking for 100% expert advice, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re here for a front row seat to a novice learning from the real experts and sharing her ups and downs so you can learn from her mistakes, this is the place to be!

With all of that said, today’s post is all about bread and broth.

Ryan and I recently spent time talking about the things we consume frequently and finding ways to make them at home. There are several food items on our short list:

  • Eggs
  • Granola
  • Crackers
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Veggies (of course!)
  • Cooking oil
  • Bread
  • Chicken Broth

There are many other items we could include, but these were things that seemed easy enough to learn about and that we buy regularly.  I made the random decision to start with making my own bread and making my own chicken broth.

Bread

Compared to a lot of other families, we don’t eat a ton of bread. We probably go through about a loaf a week, maybe longer. But like most things in our home, we prefer to buy organic or naturally made bread, which means it costs a pinch more than your standard loaf of Wonder bread. We usually pay between $4 and $5 for a loaf of bread.

As an alternative, I attempted to make this.

 

 

I should say more than attempted – I made it, and it was delicious! Sara over at www.ourbestbites.com has already gone through the work of creating step-by-step instructions (including pictures) on how to create this delicious loaf of bread, so I’ll avoid recreating the wheel. To get those instructions, click on the photo above.

I used the components listed below. I’ve included their prices per unit used in the recipe.

  • Organic 7-grain cereal (Country Life Natural Foods , $3.40 for 4 cups)
  • King Arthur All-Natural Traditional Whole Wheat Flour (Meijer, $3.99 for 10 cups)
  • Meijer All Purpose Flour (Meijer, $1.96 for 10 cups)
    Next time I’ll use natural or organic flour
  • Meijer Organic Unsalted Butter (Meijer, est. $4.95 for 32 tablespoons)
  • Meijer Pure Clover Honey (Meijer, $3.39 for 1.5 cups)
  • Meijer Active Dry Yeast (Meijer, $0.79 for 7.5 teaspoons)
    Note: The recipe calls for rapid rise yeast
  • Hain Pure Foods Iodized Sea Salt (Meijer, $1.99 for 52 tablespoons)
  • Meijer Naturals Old Fashioned Oats (Meijer, est. $5.00 for 5.25 cups)

Bread: Some Things to Note

I don’t have a stand mixer with a nifty kneading hook, so I did all the mixing and kneading by hand. {Insert gratuitous slow clap here.}

Also, even though I used the active dry yeast, the bread still turned out well. Next time I’m going to use rapid rise as the recipe calls for.

Each batch of dough makes enough for two loaves. I froze one half and made bread several days later – it was still great! My plan for the future is to make enough dough for six loaves at a time and freeze what I don’t use right away.

Based on the quantities and prices above, I figure it will cost about $2.30 per loaf of bread ($4.60 for one batch of dough). So with a little bit of effort in the kitchen, we can cut our bread expenses in half and have yummy, healthy bread. Win! And keep in mind – this is before trying to cut costs on ingredients in ways such as buying in bulk, waiting for sales or producing our own.

Broth

Every two weeks I buy a whole, organic chicken. I roast the chicken with veggies early in the week, use the leftovers to make a chicken casserole or pot pie, and then use the final leftovers to make chicken soup. The soup usually takes two cans of canned broth. That’s not mountains of broth, but I wanted to look into making my own.

 

 

Making chicken stock (as it should be more properly called) is super easy and a great way to be resourceful (what else are you going to do with an entire chicken carcass?). The process is darn easy, and outlined clearly for you at Simply Canning. To hop over there and check out the step-by-step instructions, click on the picture above. Meanwhile, here are the basics:

  1. Place the chicken carcass in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add water depending on how rich or how watered-down you want the stock to be.
  3. Add vegetables, salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Simmer on low for at least four hours or until the stock meets your taste.
  5. Strain out all the meet, bones, vegetables, etc.

Easy peasy! And it is SO tasty!

Broth: Some Things to Note

I made my last batch of broth from two chicken carcasses and the result was two quarts of stock. I simply placed the bones in a gallon freezer bag and kept it on ice until I was ready to make my stock. I kept a second freezer bag filled with things such as onion skins, avocado skins, carrot peelings, potato skins, garlic skin, leek leaves, etc. After the broth is done, I can strain these out and add them to the compost bin. So now I’m getting double and triple uses out of my chicken and vegetables. {Again with the clapping.} Now I keep an ongoing veggie bag and bones bag in my freezer for such an occasion.

As far as storing the chicken stock goes, I found three options:

I opted to freeze mine for now. Based on the advice in this article, I left plenty of room for the broth to expand as it freezes. (If you don’t follow this step, the glass can shatter.) As I learn to do pressure canning, I’ll can the chicken stock directly after it’s made. Canned broth is much more conducive to cooking than having to thaw an entire quart at a time!

What do you think? Will you try the bread recipe? Or making your own chicken stock? How would you store them?

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