Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kefir Bread

I get bored using the same bread recipe over and over, so I like to experiment with new recipes every couple weeks. This may seem obvious, but I can tell just how good my latest bread baking attempt is by how fast the bread disappears. For instance, the millet bread (birdseed bread, as Curtis called it) lasted a long time, and ended up literally going to the birds. A couple weeks ago, I was in a hurry and skipped a punch-down and rising (Mom said she used to do it with fine results). The bread ended up pretty holey and crumbly; not very conducive to sandwich making. There is still half a loaf from that batch in the freezer. That brings us to this week's recipe: Yeasted Kefir Bread.

Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." It contains many more probiotics than yogurt and supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest. This past week, I have started making our own kefir. You can read more about the process here. The flavor is a bit tangy by itself, but it can be used in many ways.

Noah and I have been enjoying kefir fruit smoothies for breakfast. He loves them! Kefir can be used in recipes as a replacement for buttermilk or plain yogurt. That brings us back to this week's bread...
Interestingly, because of the active yeast cultures in the kefir, it only took one packet of yeast to make three loaves of bread. It looks and tastes good so far (I always get the first slice warm out of the oven while Noah naps...yum!). We will see just how long it lasts. I am pretty sure Curtis does not know that it has kefir in it (until he reads this), though he was a bit suspicious after he sampled it when I asked if this batch was acceptable.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Knitting for Baby

This past week I finished up a couple more knit projects for the new little one. My "To Make" list is pretty long, and this is just the start of it! First up, a new wool diaper cover pattern, this one with velcro. I have never sewn on knitting before and was a bit afraid that sewing the velcro on with the sewing machine would mess the whole thing up, but it didn't turn out too bad. I think I will make some more of these, as I much prefer wraps to trying to wiggle little baby legs into pull-on soakers.

The other project is a spring jacket, my first ever Baby Surprise Jacket (probably the most popular pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman, designed in 1968). The yarn is Noro Silk Garden Lite, a squishy blend of silk, kid mohair, and lamb's wool.

Once again it was difficult to find a gender neutral colorway. I ended up settling on this one because it reminds me of springtime; mud, new green grass, and lilacs and tulips in bloom. I actually finished knitting this one a while ago, but just got around to seaming up the shoulders and sewing on the buttons.

Now back to knitting...