Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hay Day 2012

I am always excited to get my hay in for the winter.  We have had unseasonable warm weather this year so it doesn't feel like September except in the early morning hours when we have been in the 30's.

As soon as the truck backed into the barn all the sheep lined up to check out this new red what ever it is that is sticking out of their home!  They thought they had seen it before but then, you never know with these things so we will just view it from afar - just in case. 

Gotta Love the way these young high school guys can just throw those bales around with ease.  Larry always hires the nicest kids.

Thanks for growing such fantastic hay, Larry!  I hope you will enjoy your bread.  See you next year - that is if the world doesn't end in December.....

Hey - you never know.....I think I'll hedge my bets just like the sheep.  If it all goes to smash, will they let YOU in?  I'm honing my unusual skill about you?

Baking Rye Bread

I started the day baking a nice big loaf of Caraway Rye Bread as a gift for Larry Kiewert my favorite hay farmer.  A good, honest hay farmer is worth his weight in gold as far as I am concerned so an extra special bit of appreciation is in order!

Caraway Rye Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water              1/2 cup dark molasses      1 beaten egg for glaze
1/4 cup melted butter                 1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt                       2 cups dark rye flour
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour  (the kind I use is from Montana hard red wheat)

Place yeast in a 1 cup pyrex measuring cup, add 1/4 tsp. sugar and 1/3 c. warm water and set aside to proof.  I place it in a small bowl of very warm water if it's chilly in the house.

In a large mixing bowl mix warm water, molasses and butter.  Add proofed yeast mixture and stir to dissolve yeast.  Add salt and rye flour and mix well.  Add caraway seed and 3 cups of the unbleached flour.  Mix until all the flour is well blended.  Knead in the 3/4 cups of flour a little at a time until you have a soft but not sticky dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth but still tender.  Don't over knead or it will make the bread tough.  Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise until double.

Spray your work surface with non stick spray (such as Pam) or lightly oil  and turn out doubled dough.  Gently (do not deflate the dough) pinch any large bubbles.  Fold in the ends and sides to make a large loaf.  Place loaf on greased cookie sheet.  Slash several times with a serrated knife.  Beat a raw egg with a fork, add 2 tsp water and blend.  Brush egg glaze on loaf.  Let rise 20 min.   Place in oven.  Turn oven to 375 and bake for 30 minutes.  Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pan and let cool covered with a tea towel.  Makes 1 large loaf