Rosemary by any other name

Bread… something so simple and yet so soothing, and then I had to ruin it all by reading labels. Since we’re still in the “getting to know you” phase of this relationship I’ll give you the “quick” download. Last year I started reading articles that talked about the chemicals that the industrial food makers use to make our food last when on the shelf.  Now I’m not the most gullible person I know <stop snickering Phil> and so when I first started reading these articles I was dubious.  The FDA checks all of these additives for gamma radiation, right? I mean no one wants Americans to turn into huge bulging masses of flesh right? … anyway…  Many of these articles were from respected sources though.  The ADA, CDC, USDA, AAP, and many other sources so full of acronyms that I don’t have a chance in hell of knowing who they represent, began publishing studies that began to question the safety of these chemicals. And then I realized that many of my friends are experiencing food allergies which only aggravates my growing paranoia. And then I found Jamie Oliver.

Now anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’m always behind on the newest TV shows.  We don’t have a converter box, let alone cable, and so I’m always behind. So I didn’t find Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution until someone on twitter mentioned it one too many times and I found it on youtube. And then the sky opened up and I saw the light and the light showed an awful lot of brown in the form of fry-daddy goodness. Holy cow I had NO idea of the amount of JUNK that’s in industrial food! Seriously, I suspected but I hadn’t really thought about it.

I’ve made my own bread for years.  Usually though, I only went through the effort for holidays.  During a spate of unfettered stay-at-home time a couple of years ago I made all of the bread that we ate. But I did that for its cost-effectiveness not for the health benefits. My newly opened eyes made bread seem like the ideal place to start changing our habits. I started with and 100 days of real food. I used Lisa’s bread recipes as a jumping off point and adapted her recipes for use in my bread machine. I never bake in the machine by the way… I’m a snob about the shape of my bread. 😉 I have found that making bread is ridiculously easy if you have good tools (if you can, buy that bread machine or stand mixer – your hands will thank you!), and a basic knowledge of the chemistry of food.

So what’s the point, right? Do we all need to eat rabbit food and only eat things we grow or kill ourselves? Well ideally, yes, but for most of us that stance is just unrealistic. There must be a starting place and as I’ve let all of this information percolate through my brain for at least a year now, bread has become the metaphor for my life.  Like bread it is impossible to know what’s on the inside unless you’re privy to the ingredients that went into the baking.  And like bread, you get the best results if you use quality ingredients.

At the moment it is my rosemary bread that is garnering the most love… and I have to admit that it wasn’t anything special… truth be told it’s one of the least healthy loaves of bread that I make. It’s the tweaking that makes a bread recipe your own though… The trick was to use fresh rosemary instead of dried, sea salt instead of iodized salt and fresh cracked pepper instead of the pre-ground stuff and when I can get away with it I use whole wheat flour.  So dear readers, it’s all about what’s inside.

Get a bread lame!

Recipe ~ Barefoot Bread ~ A Rosemary By Any Other Name

  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt (iodized salt works too but it isn’t as flavorful)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by your manufacturer (just be sure that the yeast and the salt do not come in contact with each other.) Select the dough cycle, press start.
  2. After approximately 30 minutes (or when the kneading process is over) remove dough from machine pan and place in oiled metal bowl for first rise.  Allow to rise for approximately an hour or until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down and form into desired loaf shape, if baking in loaf pan be sure to oil and flour the pan before placing the dough inside.
  4. Allow dough to rise for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  6. Cool for approximately 10 minutes in pan, remove and finish cooling on a wire rack or serve warm.

barefoot Manifesto

Barefoot Householding is born of an idea.  As the child of a woman who likes her home scrupulously clean, I developed a preference for order that is often hard to marry with a reality that includes children, pets and… well, a life.  The question of how to find balance is one that has challenged me for decades. At any given time in my own life, I have had to balance a career, motherhood and intermittently my own education with the desire to have a home that doesn’t scream either “hoarder” or “meth-addict.”  To complicate matters further, I also have the internal war between the part of me that is all about 21st century technology and the increasingly strident voice of my inner hippie. You know the voice… the one that says “All those chemicals can’t be good for us. What if my child grows another head? I can’t afford all the hats and I never learned how to knit!”

 So all of these conflicting emotions, thoughts and an excess of time spent on Wikipedia learning about the ramifications of antibiotics in beef have coalesced into Barefoot Householding. A place to try and make my world and yours a better place as we unearth the cleaning techniques of our great-grandmothers, re-invent the baking methods of our second-cousins twice removed, while finding a way to benefit from the time-saving discoveries of our own century without losing the parts of our past that we could both pronounce (have you read the ingredient list on a bottle of Lysol?!?) and feel good about exposing our families to.