Thursday, September 27, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
But just last week the call came: fresh hay has been cut.
Which means that all other plans must be orchestrated around the pick-up of this essential commodity. The trailer is hitched up to our old Ford, and ropes of all colors are thrown in the cab. There is an urgency to this task – we need as much as we are able to stack, and must do so before the rain descends.
Stacking bales is like a game of real life tetris, it is training in practical physics. One hundred bales or so is respectable; one hundred twenty-something is the record. Criss-crossed and counter-balanced, the hay is piled high above each vehicle. As the outer limit of stability is reached, rope is thrown about the pile, securing our treasured bales. Itchy and sweaty, the drive home reflects the stacker’s ability – if a bale falls it often means two or three or worse.
Back at the farm, the process begins in reverse. We have various storage buildings – the ox hovel loft, the Open-Sided shed (no-longer so open-sided), the quonset tent, the barn eves, and unused animal houses. The first hay of the season, however, gets the primo spot within the ox hovel loft.
The loading process is facilitated with a human-powered pulley. The loaded hay truck is backed beneath the loft doors. A pulley and ropes are hung from the chain at the loft entrance; a bale is hooked on one end. On the other, is one of us. At a signal from our counterpart, the person on the ground starts running. A thirty or forty foot sprint is usually sufficient to launch the bale up to the loft, where a third member of the hay stacking trio awaits it, unclips the bale, and stacks it neatly. This process repeats itself until, bale by bale, the hay is stored.
With clouds lingering in the sky throughout the day, it is with relief as well as an itchy sort of tiredness, that the last bale is tossed in place. Dry and protected, the first cut is in. We’ll repeat the process as often as we’re able over the next few months, stocking up for the ensuing year.
In the meantime, Henri and August gratefully devour the fine hay that now fills their trough.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Well, let’s consider each. First, with regards to winter meals, let me be the first to say how extraordinarily delicious, varied, filling, colorful, and nourishing a winter diet is. This time of year is essentially what we are working for during the growing season. All our efforts to cultivate and store thousands of pounds of root crops – potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips - is rewarded during the off-season. As we ferment, can, and pickle our surplus vegetables throughout the summer, we tuck quart after quart away on basement shelves. The freezer is stocked with meat, and the root cellar fills with eggs.
Winter, you see, offers a delectable selection for the palate.
Why bother saying this now? It is, after all, late in the spring. Because springtime, it must be said, is really the most challenging season. We finish off the last of our stores as we plant the seeds for the coming season.
Abundance must be sought in creative ways.
Here at D Acres we seed lettuces and other greens into greenhouses and coldframes as soon as the soil thaws. These first salads are an incredible burst of freshness that is eagerly devoured meal after meal. In no way, though, do we expect to subsist on greens alone.
And so we turn to perennial crops and “weed” species, some of the first plants to vigorously emerge from the winter slumber. Asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and rhubarb are favorites, and subtleties of flavor are achieved with the harvesting of ox-eye daisy, dandelion, nettle, and sorrel leaves, not to mention fresh herbs such as chives and oregano. Plants such as fiddleheads, milkweed, and knotweed are also edible if harvested young. The list goes on: possibilities for foraging are significant, even in this region.
To complete a meal with the above selection, however, we continue to rely on eggs from the chickens (they quickly begin to lay more as the day length increases) and meat (pork and chicken) stored in the freezer. We have just finished the last of our potatoes, and are down to a final pint of our dry beans. These staples are the essentials that continue to nourish us as we approach the summer season.
The spring diet offers a burst of freshness, bitters and tarts dominating the palate as we – the people and the plants – awake from the winter. While spring meals can be challenging, the process of harvesting for and preparing a springtime spread is rewarding and appetizing. The spring season certainly demands a keen sense of creativity and inspiration: what can you do with your backyard?
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
On this particular morning we were situated in our upper field, across the logging road from our largest hoop house. It wasn’t particularly cold, nor remarkably windy. Nevertheless, the rain was steady and our layers soaked well through despite the mismatched collection of ponchos, jackets, slickers, and rainpants. By midday our hands were stiff and the garden beds threatening to become mudflats. We called an end to the weeding and took lunch. Our morning’s work, in combination with other weed-free beds in our eastern field, would provide enough row footage to spend the afternoon transplanting.
Slightly more active than weeding, transplanting proved more manageable in the rain. Wielding trowels and hori-horis, hundreds of cabbage, broccoli, collards, kale, and kohlrabi went into the ground that afternoon. We were able to keep warm as we moved flat after flat of plants out of our “big coldframe” greenhouse, and smiled to see our collection of starts freed to the open air and fields of dirt. After weeks of careful care, we now had to trust to biology and climatic good fortune. With luck, each plant will grow into the best-case scenario.
To get to this point in the season, however, was the result of much indoor seeding work. Through February and March we seeded thousands of cold-tolerant plants into flats. (Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, chard, and kohlrabi fill our seeding shelves early in the season; warmer crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash come later – contact us if you have questions on seasonal timing!) These were kept under lights in our basement and watered every few days. As seeds germinated, grew sprout leaves, and slowly developed their true leaves, we monitored them closely. As they sized up, we moved flats to our cob animal-house/greenhouse combination building. Here plants were introduced to natural daylight and the temperature fluctuations between day and night. As they began to outgrow their original cells, plants were potted up into 4” pots and shifted to our “big coldframe.” This building has less thermal mass than the cob greenhouse, and thus temperatures fluctuate to a greater degree. Moving plants into this building was another step in the process of accustoming plants to natural conditions. As time and space allowed, we shifted plants outdoors during the day and back inside at night for greater acclimation. Once plants are out in the field, we have prepared them as best we can for the vagaries of our climate.
These cloudy days and re-occurring showers are beneficial despite the wet clothes and cold hands. Both overcast conditions and steady moisture ease the plant’s shock at being in a new environment. When the sun does shine the plants are ready for growth, eased into their garden locale and ready for a healthy season.
Transplanting is an exciting step in the spring gardening process. It represents a turning point between the equinox and solstice, a phase of transition in which gardens shake off their dormancy and suddenly come alive with the colors and vibrancy of a lush season. Spring will lead us to summer in rapid fashion.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
By Katinka Bjerregaard and Pil Jeppesen from Copenhagen
In the winter 2012 we decided to travel to New England to experience the beautiful nature and landscapes as well as the big city atmosphere. We found out about D Acres of New Hampshire on a work exchange website that led us to the farms own website that tells you pretty much everything you need to know. We’re both city kids with no experience in farming so our concerns were if we would be able to contribute with anything. But as it turned out, that wasn’t a problem at all. And also, we figured that it would be a good way to meet local people.
When we first got here we were amazed how quickly we felt at home and we got our own little tree house out in the woods. Now we wake up every morning to the sound of birds singing – nice!
At the first day we got our first mission to complete – the big pile of doom. A big compost pile had been sitting comfortable for too long and now, it’s world needed to be turned upside down. If we turned the pile in less than two weeks, we would get the super human award – challenge accepted! Starting turning the pile we thought: “Gee! Now were in the country!” Now the new pile is gonna be the Danish Legacy!
One of the many good things about D Acres is that they have a hostel with many people visiting from all over the States. There was a Brazilian couple visiting the hostel and they went to climb near by in Rumney. After meeting them, we got to spent Katinka’s birthday climbing rocks for the first time. We were scared like hell but it was really awesome!
On the farm there are lots of different animals. We had the pleasure to meet both Henry and August (the oxen) – they chill a lot. Apart from chickens and ducks we have met all the pigs and the piglets – they’re so cute! But after this Friday’s event we may not be at the top of their list, though. Oh yes, we helped castrating the poor piglets! Luckily, it was just bad for them for about a minut and then they just ran around their own little pig world like nothing had happened. Brave little fellas! For us to get over it, well... It took a while, but it was really interesting to experience.
Of course, we also need to tell you about the food they make here. Everything is from their own organic gardens so the food is really authentic, fresh and good! Yummie! But still, Pil has to confess that she has now officially potatoed out. The potato dishes are really good but one can only eat so much.
What we’re also really amazed about is the rural nature and the beautiful view of the White Mountains.
So all in all, we will leave D Acres with lots of farming experiences such as transplanting, weeding (sigh), turning piles, castrating piglets, getting honey and bread addicted - and last but not least we have had the chance to get to know all the great people who make this sustainable farm a reality.
Thank you so much for this opportunity!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
This weekend, the Permaculture Design Course filled their bellies with foraged food and the very last vestiges of the root cellar.
Simple Saturday Lunch:
The Turnip & White Bean soup is simple and delicious. The trick with soup is to let your vegetable cook in the pot prior to adding any water or stalk. Let them sautee with your oil (or butter) of choice, herbs, and a little salt and pepper. The flavors will begin to meld together. After they cook for about 10-15 minutes, then add just enough stock or water to cover the vegetables; let this simmer for a while, again allowing the flavors to begin melding together--imagine simmering a special sauce or gravy. I wanted to use white beans for this soup because the turnips we grew last season are white or a light gold color. I used two types of white beans for this soup, both of which we grew and dried at D Acres: A small white bean called Saturday Night Special, and a large lima bean variety called Limelight. The lima bean was not a successful crop for us for several reason, only yeilding maybe a pound for the 1/4 pound we put in the gound--but tasty nonetheless. The combination of the two different beans turned out to be delicious. The limas cooked to a nice soft and smooth texture, while the tiney white beans we plentiful and added body to the soup. The basil was picked from out greenhouse and added at the end to give the soup a bright green touch and taste.
Decadant Saturday Dinner:
The potato shred idea stems from potato pancakes. I wanted to make something like a potato pancake without frying them or adding any egg. I simply used a food processor with the grating attachment to shred the potatoes. I then added sunflower oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped chives, layed it out on a sheet pan and baked the potatoes at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. The end result was not exactly what I had hoped for; nevertheless, the diners were delighted by the crispy, slightly salty shreds. And interesting side dish to compliment the meat.
We have logs lining pathways along a couple of forest trails that have been innoculated with Shiitake mushroom spawn. When the weather is just right, they pop out gorgeous mushrooms ready for the picking. After a week of rain, the funghi were ready. The collard greens were grown last year and frozen, ready to cook for any meal. I added only a little salt and pepper to compliment the sweet flavor of the greens.
At garlic harvest last summer, some of the bulbs were missed, so they have resrouted this spring. Pulled out of the ground, the early garlic looks like a very small leek, or a spring onion. This is a simple dish as well (after a little prep cleaning up the garlic bulbs and stems). Toss the garlic with your favorite oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F. for about 20-30 minutes, until the whole stemm is tender and slightly golden in color.
Sunday Salad Lunch:
Thursday, May 10, 2012
While we have finished our spring pruning of established nuts, fruits, and berries, we have been in a flurry of planting new stock these past few weeks: chestnuts, buartnuts, hazelburts, currants, gooseberries, blueberries, peaches, cherries, apples, asian pears, mulberries, quince, rhubarb, and lingonberry fill out our list of recent plantings. We’ve also, however, been busy dividing and transplanting established species.
This is a long and varied inventory. Over the past couple weeks you could find us digging about in patches of chives, walking onion, rattlesnake plaintain, and black locust to name a few. Each year, though, we focus primarily on the following species: comfrey, lupine, ella campagne, valerian, and mullein. These species are hardy and plentiful, and do wonders for our garden system.
There is, of course, the aesthetic element – as each of these plants produce beautiful flowers. The bees appreciate this as much as we do; having such species in abundance promotes healthy habitat for our pollinator species. However it is the underground efforts accomplished by these species that is so important to us. With long taproots, they are able to grow deep into the ground, accessing nutrients that other, shallower rooted plants are unable to reach. Furthermore, the ability of plants such as lupine to fix nitrogen through their root system further enriches our soil chemistry. The vascular system of broad-leafed plants such as comfrey, for example, enhances the ability of the plant to maximize its use of solar energy and available soil nutrition. The result is a plant that is invaluable as animal fodder, a compost additive, and as garden mulch.
Attending to perennial stock in this manner, we are boldly working for the future. While annual plants will provide our short-term calories, perennials represent the long-term viability of our homestead: food production, soil fertility, and pollinator habitat are all provided by these species. Edible food forests are our goal and the drive behind our farmer imaginations. The potential of such an edible, perennial system is immense – for ourselves, for our landscape, for our community, and for future generations.
Want to learn more? D Acres, in conjunction with PSU’s Center for the Environment, PSU’s Common Ground Club, Thomas Roberts Salon (Plymouth, NH), and PAREI, are hosting Dave Jacke, renowned permaculturalist and author of Edible Forest Gardening. To be held at Boyd 144 (PSU Campus), 7pm, on Saturday, May 12, Jacke’s presentation will focus on the principles and processes of edible landscaping. Don’t miss this opportunity! Perennial stock is our insurance for the future.
as published in Northcountry News
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
We could pat ourselves on the back and say that, nevertheless, the many residents of D Acres are only using the output typical of an average family. And, yes, there are a myriad of seasonal explanations that make the month of March energy intensive: numerous grow lights, for one example. But both those statements are false comfort. We want to be proactive models.
Consequently, the numbers have sparked personal examination. What are our own habits? Our preferred conveniences? Our energy addictions? And, how do our personal choices intersect with group uses? Ultimately, the quantity of power used or not used here at D Acres is a reflection of our collective body. No one of us can stand apart.
What are we doing about it? For one, our response is that of renewed vigilance. Turning off appliances such as printers and computers when not in use, leaving no lights on if a room is exited, transitioning young plants to greenhouse space as quick as possible. These details reflect our habits; being present for our own reflexive actions is simple to write and more challenging to enact. Conscientiousness is an ongoing process.
In regards to the larger picture of organizational energy uses, our discussions are considering the following energy saving strategies: computer free days? No power during daylight hours? Blackout days?
So here we go. This coming Sunday will be our first “power down” day. With a generator ready to provide water if needed for guests or visitors, we will turn the power off for the daylight hours. No lights, no computers, no shop tools. In what terms will we consider our experience? As an adventure? A burden? An inconvenience? Can we create new habits for ourselves?
This is a modest beginning. With refreshed motivation and each other for continued inspiration, we aspire to restructure our schedules and our expectations. No doubt it will be a process of adaptation, and of evolution – but are these ideas not synonymous with daily revolution? And so we embark on the transformation of our daily minutiae.
as published in North Country News
Monday, April 16, 2012
Granted, most years we are perched atop crusty snow, working quickly in the cold of a morning to avoid the post-holing challenges of pruning in the mushy slush of a late afternoon. This year, though, is certainly one of ease. With bare ground and mild temperatures, there is no balancing of ladders atop ice, no waiting for the melt to see the raspberries, no snow-covered limbs of low-bush blueberries.
Pruning is one of the first outdoor tasks that we undertake as the gardening season begins each year. As such, it is accompanied by excitement at attending to living plants once more and the fresh-faced glow of days spent outside. After a winter of cold, pruning on a sunny March or April morning can elicit a ready smile.
It is, in a sense, making order out of chaos. The goals of pruning are to encourage plant and tree health, and to maximize production. As such, we are striving to shape the tree with the future in mind, directing the plant to grow into the template we have imagined for it. While many fruit and nut trees will have a central leader followed by aerial branches, smaller berry bushes have a vase-like habit. An effective pruner must be cognizant of the species with which they are working and sculpt accordingly. “Extra” branches and limbs are eliminated to maintain an open form and to foster the arrival of sunlight and air to all aspects of the given plant. Dead branches are cut off, as are suckers and waterspouts.
In all pruning work, clean cuts are a must. Effective pruning comes down to effective tools. Blades must be sharp and function with precise alignment. Cuts that are jagged or torn are slower to heal. To minimize impact on the given bush or tree, cuts should always be made at a joint. Trees, like humans, form scabs; to prevent disease and distress, attention must be made to prune with foresight and care.
Think of yourself as a co-conspirator with your particular plantings. You are part of a partnership, maximizing the potential of your edible landscape. Fruit trees, nut trees, vine fruits, and berry bushes are your legacy to future generations. Steward them well; the work and the reward offer much to enjoy.
as published in North Country News
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Granted, we may represent an acute reaction to general social malaise compounded by a rampant cultural compulsion to shop. I – we – stand by it nevertheless. And this coming weekend, we offer you an opportunity to “shop” in a neighborhood way. March 31st and April 1st D Acres will be holding its annual Clothing Swap 10am-4pm.
This is an opportunity to both give something and get something. Have used clothing items that you, your family, or your friends will make use of no longer? Bring it here! Please don’t throw out apparel, please don’t stuff another landfill with useable goods – fill the tables at The D Acres Garage Mall and offer it to the public. By the same token, if you’re in need (or yes, in want) of some new items, swing on by! Someone else may have dropped off the very piece for which you are searching. There is no charge to drop off nor to pick-up; anything leftover at the end of the weekend will be brought to the Plymouth Community Closet Thrift Store.
So what’s the advantage to the D Acres Mall, open one weekend per year? Well, this clothing swap event provides the opportunity to extend the life of clothing items that would otherwise be trashed, recycled, or shipped overseas. It provides consumers with the option of items they need without fostering an economic dependency on sweatshop labor and distant resource extraction. And it’s free!
We are attempting to redirect the wealth of objects we each possess to benefit our community and replace the dominant social pattern of buying new and trashing barely used. Too, we are criticizing allegiances to brands, decrying the cultural need for new, and disparaging our cultural compulsion for consumption. And we’d like you to join us.
We’re offering a simple and practical start – come by the farm for the annual clothing swap March 31st -April 1st, 10am-4pm. Begin by redefining your understanding of need, want, consumption, and satisfaction. How, really, do you want to occupy your time, your mind, and your money?
as published in North Country News
Thursday, March 22, 2012
D Acres’ Bread Recipe
This bread baking recipe is adapted from “Tartine Bread” which is a fantastic book. Here is a link to the book: http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780811870412-0
For this recipe, you will need the following tools – a digital scale, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, a dough spatula, and a bench knife. For baking it would also be good to have a dutch oven or another oven-proof pot with a tight fitting lid.
Making this kind of bread requires three basic steps – first, you need to create a starter. Second, you manage the yeast and bacteria in the starter and third, you create the dough, shape it and bake it into a loaf of bread.
Making the Starter
Making the starter beings with making the culture. The culture is created when flour and water are combined and the wild yeast and bacteria that is present in the flour and the air begins to ferment. In order to make the starter, mix together 100 grams of white bread flour and 100 grams of whole wheat bread flour. Then combine the flour mixture with 200 grams of warm water and mix together with your hand until you have a thick, lump free batter. Then cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a cool, dark place until bubbles form around the sides and on the surface, about 2-3 days. A dark crust may form over the top. Once bubbles form, it is time for the first feeding.
To feed the starter, discard about 80 percent of it and replace with equal amounts of water (40%) and a 50/50 white/wheat flour mixture (40%). Mix it together, using your hands, until themixture is the consistency of a thick, lump-free batter. Repeat every 24 hours at roughly the same time of day for 2 or 3 days. Once it ferments predictably (rises and falls throughout the day after feedings), it's time to make the leaven.
Making the Leaven
When preparing to make the dough, it is best to use weight measurements. The night before you plan to make the dough, discard all but 1 tablespoon of the matured starter. Feed it with 200 grams of the wheat-white flour mixture and 200 grams of water. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a cool place for 8 -12 hours. By morning, the leaven will be aerated by the wild yeast activity and the volume will have increased by 20 percent.
Making the Dough
Gather the following ingredients for mixing the dough:
Water (around 80 degrees)
700 grams plus 50 grams
Whole Wheat Flour
It is best to think about bread baking in terms of weights and percentages. The flour, no matter what quantity is used, is the constant 100 percent against which all other ingredients are weighted and considered.
When you have gathering the ingredients together, pour 200 grams of the leaven into a large mixing bowl and add 700 grams lukewarm water - about 80 degrees. (The water should feel cool to the touch because our body temperature is 98.6 degrees.) Stir with your hand to disperse the leaven.
(Save your leftover leaven; it is now the beginning of a new starter. To keep it alive to make future loaves, do one feeding of flour and water and keep the starter in your refrigerator until you are ready to bake again.)
After you have dispersed the leaven, add 1,000 grams of flour – 900 grams of white flour and 100 grams of wheat flour – to the mixture. Mix the dough with your hands until no bits of dry flour remain. Let rest in a cool place for 35 – 40 minutes. Then add 20 grams of salt and remaining 50 grams warm water and incorporate them into the dough. Work the salt and the water into the dough with your fingers to incorporate.
Transfer the dough to a clean plastic container or a glass bowl. Cover it with kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will now begin its first rise or bulk fermentation where it develops its flavor and strength. The rise is temperature sensitive; as a rule, warmer dough ferments faster. Ideally, the temperature should be around 80 degrees to accomplish the bulk fermentation in 3 to 4 hours. If your room temperature is cooler, you can put your dough in your oven next to a pot of boiling water. This will raise the ambient temperature of your oven.
Instead of kneading, you can strengthen the dough through a series of "folds" in the container during bulk fermentation. You should fold the dough every 30 minutes for the first two and a half hours. To do a fold, dip your hand in water to prevent sticking. Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up, and fold it forward over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn, and repeat. Do this 2 or 3 times for each fold. After the 3 hours, the dough should feel aerated and softer, and you will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue the bulk fermentation for 30 minutes to 1 hour more.
When the bulk fermentation is complete, pull the dough out of the container using a dough spatula onto an un-floured surface. Lightly dust the dough with flour and cut it into 2 pieces using the bench knife. You want to incorporate as little flour as possible into the dough. Using your hands and the bench knife as needed, work the dough into a round shape. Tension will build as the dough slightly anchors to your table surface as you rotate it. By the end, the dough should have a taut, smooth surface.
After this first shaping, let both rounds rest on the work surface for 20-30 minutes. During this period, the dough will relax into the shape of the thick pancake.
Dust tops of rounds with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes.
Slip the dough scraper under each to lift it, being careful to maintain the round shape. Flip rounds floured side down. The final shaping involves a series of folds. Each fold builds tension inside the loaf so that it holds its form and will rise significantly during baking. It’s a bit difficult to explain how to do this but I’ve found a video of it being done by the author of Tartine Bread. The baker does it quite fast so you’ll have to watch it several times but here is the link:
In a small bowl, make a 50/50 mixture of rice flour and whole-wheat flour. Line two medium baskets or bowls with clean kitchen towels and generously dust them with the flour mixture. Using the bench knife, transfer each round to a basket, smooth side down, with seam centered and facing up. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 2-4 hours before baking.*
Baking the Bread
Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, place a dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees. The oven rack should be in the lowest position.
While the oven is pre-heating, gather the tools you will need for baking – heavy oven mitts, rice four or corn meal and a razor blade to score the top of each loaf before baking.
Dust the surface of one of the loaves in the basket with rice flour. When the oven reaches 500 degrees, put on the oven mitts and carefully remove the pot or dutch-oven and place it on top of the stove and remove the lid. Use caution when handling the pot – it is 500 degrees and you can easily burn your hands.
Carefully inverting the bowl or basket, turn the loaf into the heated pot. Score the top twice using a razor blade. Cover the pot with the lid. Return it to oven, and reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove lid (a cloud of steam will be released). The loaf should have risen significantly but the color should be pale and shiny. Continue to bake the loaf until it reaches a golden brown color – about 20 -25 minutes.
Transfer loaf to a wire rack or lean the loaf on its side so that air can circulate around the bottom. The loaf should feel light and sound hollow when tapped. Let it cool.
To bake the second loaf, raise the oven temperature to back to 500 degrees, return the dutch oven or pot to the oven and reheat it with the lid on for 10 minutes and repeat the baking process.
*The entire process from start to finish takes 8-10 hours. For many of you, setting aside this amount of time for bread baking will be a challenge. So here is a suggested schedule that might makes things easier. Mix the leaven on Friday morning before you go to work. When you get home from work, you can do the bulk fermentation and shaping and be finished by around 9:30 or 10 PM. You can then delay the final rise by placing the dough, in the baskets or bowls, in the refrigerator overnight – for 8 to 12 hours. The cool environment slows, but does not stop, the fermentation. After 8 to 12 hours, the bread develops more complex flavors and gives you, in my view, a better final product. First thing on Saturday morning, heat your oven to 500 degrees and do the baking then. That way, you will have fresh baked bread on Saturday morning and it won’t cut too much into your day.
Like anything else, it takes a little while to get the hang of this. If you have any questions or run into any trouble, please feel free to give me a call at 786-2366.
PART II: YOGURT
1. Obtain a starter culture. This can be yogurt from a previous batch or good quality, plain yogurt (preferably local and grass-fed) bought from the store.
2. Pour milk into a pot and heat GENTLY on low flame to 180ºF.
Monitor with a candy thermometer and stir often to avoid scalding or boiling. This may take 20-40 minutes depending on the quantity of milk, so remember to check back frequently!
3. At 180ºF, remove from heat and let cool to 110ºF.
4. Here's the ratio of starter culture to milk:
For every ONE QUART of milk, stir in ONE TABLESPOON of yogurt starter.
Adding more starter will counterintuitively result in a runny yogurt, so less is more in this case. To obtain a thicker, tangier yogurt, you can add only ½ tablespoon instead of 1.
5. After incorporating the starter, pour the milk back into a jar, cap, wrap with a towel to insulate, and place in a warm spot for 8-10 hours. Ideally and if possible, store the jar in an enclosed space (e.g., a cooler, hot box, or an oven with the pilot light turned on) to give the lactobacilli in the starter a consistently warm, insulated environment to proliferate.
6. After 8-10 hours, check on your yogurt. If the consistency, flavor, or texture is less than ideal, don't worry! There are many factors that take time to fine tune and adjust according to your preferences and the environment in which you're making the yogurt. The process is one of trial and error-you can follow the directions meticulously yet still obtain an undesirable outcome. The two most important elements to a successful yogurt are an active starter culture and temperature; consider these two factors when troubleshooting.
The yogurt is still edible even if did not amount to what you were expecting. Use it in soups, cereal, or chilled as a smoothie-it still contains the pro-biotic content of yogurt, but the microorganisms of the yogurt were outcompeted by those pre-existing in the milk, creating a thin consistency (this is why LESS starter is best!)
7. Refrigerate the yogurt and enjoy! It will keep for 1-2 weeks. If you're satisfied with the finished product, be sure to save a few tablespoons as starter for your next batch!
COTTAGE CHEESE PRIMER
Contrary to popular belief, soured milk can be used to create a multitude of traditional dairy products. To make cottage cheese:
1. Leave soured milk at room temperature with a loosely fitted cap for
1-3 days, or until the solids, or curds (think Little Miss Muffet!) separates from the liquid, or whey.
2. After 1-3 days, strain the milk through cheesecloth (you can affix it with a rubber band or string around a pot) or a fine sieve for 8-10 hours, until most of the whey has been filtered.
3. Scoop out the curds and add honey, salt or dried herbs for flavor.
The whey is very rich in protein and can be used in cooking, lacto-fermenting vegetables and fruits, soaking grains and nuts, or drinking plain for a nutritious boost of enzymes, vitamins, and pro-biotics.
For more information, including a variety of recipes and the benefits of raw milk, visit
or pick up a copy of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
RAW COW’S MILK SOURCES IN NH
Clare Eckert & Chris Woods
157 Fairgrounds Rd, Plymouth
Pretty Good Farm
63 Easton Valley Rd, Easton
Chester Walker Jr.
2760 Smith River Rd, Bristol
250 West Road
Canterbury, NH 03224
328 Center Rd
Bradford, NH 03221
Berway Farm and Creamery
560 River Road
Lyme, NH 03768
(603) 353-9025/(802) 249-6107
Boggy Meadow Farm
13 Boggy Meadow Ln
Walpole, NH 03608
(603) 756-3300 f-(603) 756-9645
Bunten Farmhouse Kitchen
Bruce or Christine Balch
1322 NH Rt 10
Orford, NH 03777
(603) 353-9252/(603) 353-9066
Mack Hill Farm
35 Mack Hill Rd
Marlow, NH 03456
Many Summers Farm
112 Paget Rd.
Cornish, NH 03745
On the River Farm
91 River Rd
Lyme, NH 03768
Lee, Betty Sue and Mark Robie
25 Route 10
Piermont, NH 03779
242 Chesterfield Rd
Keene, NH 03431
Best of luck! Any questions and/or troubleshooting inquiries are welcome; email email@example.com or call 786-2366.