Archive for March, 2012





The Blog Has Been Hit

Monday, March 26th, 2012





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Gnashing My Teeth


Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before somebody decided to be mean and nasty. The blog gets countless numbers of spam posts that I am able to catch before they appear through a wonderful plugin available through WordPress. However, it seems that somehow, someone has deleted all of my photographs from the days when I was using TinyPic.com. Sooooo, it’s gonna take awhile for me and Mr. Fix-It (who is a computer wizard) to go through, figure out which pictures are gone, one post by one post. Please bear with me through the process. Hopefully, we will get this straightened out in a timely fashion.


Update: Well, I guess I can call myself a bit “self-centered” because it wasn’t the blog that got hit (of course, I automatically thought it was!!), but evidently was TinyPic.com that got hit. It appears that most everything is back up. If you catch a photo that isn’t there, please let me know. There’s a bunch of pictures and easy to miss some!!



Happy Adjusting!

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When People Care

Monday, March 26th, 2012





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When The Church

Is The Church


I realize that I am supposed to be continuing my series on cooking from the 1930′s, but one of our readers, Lacey, pointed something out to me that I just couldn’t pass up sharing with you.


Lacey is from a little town in Texas which all of a sudden got thrust into the national spotlight and, for once, for a good story of hope and love. I am just going to post here the story as posted by BeliefNet.com It is an amazing story and a lesson to all of us about loving our enemies. And by the way, everything started because of Lacey’s friend’s giving heart and wonderful idea.


Texas Town Turns Other Cheek, Helps Atheist Who Threatened Their Nativity Scene

Posted by Rob Kerby, Senior Editor


Turning the other cheek seems to be working in little Athens, Texas.
It seems a big-city atheist heard that they had a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn last winter, according to MSNBC News. So, he called Athens officials five hours away to threaten that if they did it again, he would sue. The result was outrage.


Nationwide, America has gotten used to such outsiders forcing anything Christian out of public view – so much that it is almost assumed by some that it’s just a matter of time until every symbol of faith is obliterated from the American landscape.
Nevertheless, when such an intruder shows up and proclaims the star has to come down off of the water tower or that the crosses in the cemetery offend him or that your children have to quit reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the sense of helplessness is overpowering. In the courts, the demand of one seems to supersede the wishes of the vast majority – never mind that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing a right not to be offended by somebody else’s faith.


So, it was that taxi driver Patrick Greene alerted the Athens officials 297 miles from his San Antonio, Texas, home that he was offended by the town’s nativity scene – and would launch a costly lawsuit if they ever put it on display again. The locals were livid that he would stick his nose into their town’s traditions and faith.


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Then, the story takes an ironic turn. He called a news conference and told reporters he had learned he is going blind. He was going to have quit his job — and he did not have health insurance.
The 63-year-old learned he had a detached retina, writes reporter Rich Flowers of the Athens Daily Review newspaper. “Greene was forced to give up driving his Yellow Cab. Eye surgery would cost $20,000 he said, and he didn’t even have the money to pay bills or buy groceries.”
Enter Jessica Crye, a member of Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens. She “ felt compelled to help. Why not turn this into something else?” she told the Tyler Morning Telegraph newspaper. “This is a great opportunity to turn the other cheek and show God’s love.”
Erick Graham, her pastor, said they didn’t have time to think or pray about the decision.
“We don’t discriminate on who we help, whether they are Christians or non-Christians, church members or not,” Graham told the Morning Telegraph. “We just help those with a need.”
Graham contacted Greene to find out more.


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Green and his Cat

“I said first of all, I don’t want $20,000,” recalls Greene. “That would be ridiculous, because there’s a chance the surgery would fail. On top of that, there’s a chance it could become detached again.”
Instead, Greene told Graham he had a more immediate need. “I said, if you really want to contribute something to help, we need groceries” – at least until he is able to start collecting Social Security.
Greene hung up and told his wife about the phone call.
“They’re going to help us?” Karen asked.
Greene scoffed aloud. He’d heard empty promises before from Christians. But then he got a check for $400 in the mail. “I said I can’t believe it,” Greene said. “I thought I was in the Twilight Zone.”


The money went to help pay the rent, and provide necessities from the grocery store.
The contributions didn’t stop at $400 either, Cry said. More money is coming in.
Greene says he was “flabbergasted.” His past experience with Christians was of narrow-minded individuals who had treated him unkindly throughout his life. “My wife and I had never had a Christian do anything nice for us,” Greene said. “Just the opposite.”
Since then, he has learned that he also has glaucoma. Blindness seems a certainty. But, he is grateful. His cat, Big Boy,“ now has enough food until our social security checks arrive,” Greene recently wrote by e-mail. “We also have enough food until then. We did not spend any of it on beer or liquor. We did not spend any of it on sports, because all three of us hate sports. Me, my wife and our cat. Our cat is very much into bird watching.”


A rental property manager has suggested he move to Henderson County, where rates are cheaper and Greene and his wife could live within walking distance of the grocery store, a good thing because now they don’t have a car.
Greene is so amazed by the generosity of the believers in Athens that rather than suing to remove their manger scene, he says he’d like to add his contribution.
“I have decided to show my appreciation to the Christian community for all their help, and I am going to buy a star for the top of the Nativity scene. You people can figure out how to plug it in.”
And he’s thinking about writing a book.
“I’m going to call it the real ‘Christians of Henderson County, Texas,’” Greene said. “These people are acting like what the Bible says a Christian does.”



And now I’ll get back to some of my grandmother’s recipes next post!

Happy Giving!



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A Homemaker Funny

Saturday, March 24th, 2012





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Had To Laugh


I have been taking care of my little granddaughter and have gotten absolutely NOTHING done!! She is almost 4 months old and is the joy of my life! What a doll. I caught her sleeping yesterday and am pretty proud of my photo.


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But I did have a chance to sit down to Facebook where a friend had posted this sign. I got a good giggle. I think that it applies to Grandmoms and Aunts as well. I thought it was appropriate to pass it on to all you GREAT homemakers out there.


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Happy Giggles!



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Bread Pans Winner

Monday, March 19th, 2012





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Luck O’ The Irish!


As promised, on St. Patty’s Day, we drew a name from 84 entries for the two, unique bread pans. Our cute, galvanized Coca Cola bucket served as the “hat” and it was pretty full!


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Our winner is Tina Hoak of New York state! Tina will be receiving two pans made especially for baking French or Italian loaves and baguettes. She has been notified and responded back that she is excited because she has been teaching her sister how to make bread! Perfect!


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So congratulations, Tina, and thank you for entering, everybody. There will be a new giveaway coming up in just a few weeks so stay tuned!



Happy Baking!



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Cooking From the 1930′s – Part I

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012





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Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the Bread Pan Giveaway to win two unique bread pans. The winner will be chosen on St. Patrick’s Day


My Grandmother Loved

Lemon!


I’ve had an interesting week and it isn’t even over yet! My sister, from the Dallas area, flew here to spend time with me and to meet my little granddaughter for the first time. We had a blast taking care of my granddaughter for two solid days. She is three months old, is grinning from ear-to-ear and is making every sound in the world in an attempt to communicate. And as all grandmothers are supposed to do, I worked hard to teach her the kinds of things that three month olds are supposed to know, especially how to make a sustained “ahhhh” while grandmother bounces a finger over baby’s mouth to make a vibrating “ahhhh”. Of course, I made a video and of course I put it on Facebook for the family.


It is amazing to me that I am a grandmother. I remember my times spent with my grandmothers and it is just mind-boggling how time marches on from one generation to another. Someday, this little, budding personality in my arms will be a grandmother too and I’ll be long gone. However, my name and my memory will carry on just as my grandmothers’ names and memories carry on for me in my memories, my stories, my pictures and in my cooking. It is such a daunting task, but such an honor, to be able to pass on faith, values and lessons to the little ones.


Recently, my cousin sent me a treasure from the past that is most dear. She had, in her possession, the Rumford Complete Cookbook that my grandmother (on my father’s side) had used from the early 1930′s until she died in the early 1970′s. The funny thing is, there is not one, single recipe in that cookbook that any of us remember my grandmother fixing. She did not use those recipes! She used the book, and its many blank pages, to record in her distinctive pen, her own favorite recipes, accounts of everyday life, and geneologies. When family would come for a visit, family members wrote their own observations of the time too. It is a precious collection of moments in time.


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My grandmother’s original cookbook and another one in better condition for you to see what it looked like before it was so heavily loved!

On the inside of the front cover is a combination of my grandmother’s handwriting recording the first snow in 1939 (December 23) and the first snow in 1971 (November 22) and then below, my great-aunt Suzie wrote the oddest entry: “Sept 16 1942
We all took supper with Chas. and Frances [my grandparents], of course. Chas did a lot of griping but after all I told him he was the only one working so we would just not [illegible]. Don’t know if he appreciated it or not. We wrote down all the nieces and nephews ages after several arguments finally had to finish up correspondent for Frances. Don’t forget Elmer ate the chicken feet and all – don’t know where they scratched.”
Elmer was my great-uncle Elmer and he was worried about where the chicken feet he’d just eaten had been while on the chicken!!


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I decided that since I did a series on my mother’s mother’s cookbook of 1914, I would do one on my father’s mother’s cookbook of 1931 as well. Only, instead of using the recipes printed in the book like “Codfish Fritters” and “Perfect Fish Balls”, I’d use the tried and true recipes that my grandmother recorded and actually made. And since today is “Pi Day” (It’s March 14th – 3.14 – silly!!) I thought that I would make Grandmother Thurman’s lemon pie. I can remember her whipping one out at the stove while I watched. She dearly loved anything lemon, especially lemon sour candy, but her pies were not to be outdone.


Grandmother Thurman’s Lemon Pie


  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Pie shell, baked

    Printable Recipe

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    I keep my pie crust mix in the freezer, take out enough to make however many pie crusts I plan and let the mix thaw for a little while before mixing with water. Having it cold makes it much flakier. Roll out your pie crust, of course on an Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™! Place the pie crust in your tin. I am using a tin that you can find at the shopping page that has a perforated insert to keep the crust from shrinking.


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    I like to flute my crusts


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    When using the additional perforated tin, it is placed into the pie tin over the crust. Bake the crust at 400º for 15-20 minutes and allow to cool


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    In the meantime, place sugar and flour into a medium saucepan and stir to mix


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    Add cup of boiling water very slowly and stir to make a creamy mixture and heat to boiling


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    Slowly add beaten eggs, whisking as you pour.


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    Add lemon juice and lemon zest.


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    Stir until thickened to a pudding texture


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    Pour the custard into the baked pie shell. Chill in the refrigerator until cold all the way through. There will be enough room in the pie shell to also add a topping

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    Slice and serve topped with freshly made whipped cream or canned whipped cream. I don’t like the flavor of Cool Whip with it. Or you can make meringue to place on top and bake until lightly browned. I’m not a big pie meringue fan but lots of people are!





    Happy Pi Day!



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    C’est La Vie – C’est La Soup

    Friday, March 9th, 2012





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    Soup Dujour!

    Click title above to isolate post from other March posts


    I know. I know. I’m behind. I can’t seem to catch myself coming or going. But I did manage to catch a car!! And it didn’t involve one of those icky salesmen either. We got a normal, honest one.


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    For those of you who follow the blog, you know that I have been on a frustrating search for a hunk of metal with four wheels that doesn’t take $100 to fill the gas tank and that uses what IS put in its tank, sparingly. I have driven one model after another, enamored with the outsides, only to find doors that felt like aluminum foil and innards like a bumper car. And then I discovered the Nissan Versa Hatchback and fell in love. It is heavy for a car its size, is very roomy inside (seats 5 people), actually has pep and gets 33 mpg highway miles (Mr. Fix-It and I checked it). I splurged and got fancy alloy wheels today and so now I really look Up-Town…well, as Up-Town as a platinum haired (we don’t say ‘gray’ around here) woman can look. I love the back end space where there is plenty of room to haul Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ gift baskets for delivery. Yep. I’m a happy camper. Oh yes, and I found out today, that it actually stays on the highway when we have our 40 mph winds sweeping down the plains!!


    And so, between finding a car, filling orders and playing with my grandbaby, time has slipped away and I all of a sudden realized that this is Thursday. Oh no!! I’ve been seriously blogless this week. Of course, the March Bread Pans Giveaway is still ongoing, so be sure to leave comments to enter. And it appears that quite a number of people tried the new bread recipe posted last week and found it as delightful as Mr. Fix-It and I did.


    Therefore, I thought I’d show you one of the ways that I use the French bread from my last post which just tickles Mr. Fix-It to death. I make my own French Onion Soup recipe and top it with a toasted piece of this yummy bread, melted Swiss Cheese over that and serve it piping hot. Here is my recipe for French Onion soup. (And you must remember that I am a dump cook so I measured what I was dumping for you. You can increase amounts according to the size of your family)


    MB’s French Onion Soup



    2 tbsp real, honest to goodness (not the margarine or yogurt stuff) butter
    2 tbsp flour
    1/2 cup cool water
    1 medium onion sliced into thin rings
    1 clove garlic finely minced or pressed
    4 cups beef broth or 4 cups water and 4 beef bouillon cubes


    Printable Recipe



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    Melt butter in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat


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    Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are tender


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    Add two tbsp flour and stir to make a roue


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    Add 1/2 cup cool water, stirring quickly to form a thick gravy


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    Add beef broth and stir until thoroughly mixed.


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    Stir soup occassionally as it simmers at a low boil for 30 minutes, adding water or broth if liquid reduces


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    Take 4 slices of crusty french bread and toast lightly. May butter if you wish.


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    Pour soup into bowls that have been placed on a cookie sheet.


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    Place bread slices on top of the soup and top with slices of Swiss cheese. Place the cookie sheet and bowls into the oven on broil. Broil until cheese is bubbly.


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    Garnish with parsley and serve hot with a salad or fruit. Yum!!



    Happy Ooo La La!



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    A Bread For Everything

    Friday, March 2nd, 2012





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    It’s Quick And

    It’s Easy!!


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    Don’t forget to comment below to enter the drawing for these wonderful and unique bread pans!!


    ~~~~~



    Quick and easy is good, right?! Well, I guess taste has to come in there somewhere! Reader and FB fan, Penny, shared a wonderful recipe that’s quick AND tastes good, located at the lovely blog The Italian Dish. It looked so interesting that I had to try it. Since there is a giveaway going on right now for bread pans that require a good, crusty recipe, I figured this was a great time to post one. Though this recipe works best on a baking stone, I can see it working equally as well in the bread pans for the drawing.


    I’m going to digress a bit first. You know me and my memories…well, I’m going back there again. And I’m going wayyyy back! I’m remembering my childhood when, I believe, I was in the fourth grade. I thought I was a big dog back then and because I was the oldest child, I guess I was!


    My family was in Quebec’s Gaspé, at Bonaventure Island, staying in a tiny cabin warmed with a potbelly wood stove. My mom had put a pot of beans on the stove, to cook, and we kids had ventured out to watch the sea smash against the rocks below the cliff on which we stood. Oh yes, and I had this hat. It was one of those tourist hats that looked like a sailor cap, but that had embroidered across the front, turned-up rim, “Bonaventure Island”. I thought I looked cool, but what does a fourth grader know?


    Earlier that day, while driving the countryside, we had been amazed to see women in front of their homes, taking hot bread out of large, brick ovens that had been built alongside the road. These French-speaking ladies offered their breads for sale and we had stopped at one such oven to purchase a large, hot and crusty loaf. I can still remember the smell enveloping us inside our trusty Rambler station wagon as we headed toward the cabin. The day was finally made even more special for me because my mother gave me money and let me walk, all by myself, down to the little town to purchase a pound chunk of butter to slather on the bread. I don’t think beans and French bread have ever tasted so good since.


    And so, it was as I was baking the round loaf that is the result of the recipe following, and then tasted the first slice with its chewy, crusty exterior and soft, yummy center that those memories came flooding back. It tasted just like that bread so many years ago! So I have found a new favorite bread that is as good with a turkey sandwich, bistro style, as it is with a huge plate of ravioli. And talk about easy. It just doesn’t get any easier than this! So give it a try! And by the way, I showed you how to make Sourdough Bread in a past post. This bread takes on the same qualities without all the work.


    Easy Artisan Bread


  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated fast acting yeast (two packets) I used SAF yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt (I actually used sea salt because that was all I had…worked great)
  • 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose white flour (I used a combination of King Arthur bread flour and home-ground whole wheat flour)
  • Aluminum foil pie tin or cake pan filled with a cup of water


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    Your water should be around 100º. In a large bowl (this one is 8 quarts and a 4 or 5 quart one would be easier to handle) or a large plastic container with a lid, add the salt to the water and sprinkle the yeast over the surface.


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    Add the flour. You don’t even have to proof the yeast. Of course, as I thought about this, you are in a world of hurt (and out some flour) if your yeast is no good, so I may go ahead and proof the yeast from now on.


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    Stir the dough with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly moistened. The original baker noted that she went ahead and used her Kitchenaid mixer to do this step. I will too, next time! Note: You do not knead the dough


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    If the dough is in a plastic tub, cover with the lid, but do not snap down all the way around to allow the gasses to escape. I put plastic wrap loosely around the top of my bowl. Allow to rise in a nice warm place for at least 2 hours.


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    The dough should be nice and bubbly and starting to smooth on the top. You can use the dough anytime after this step, but refrigerating the dough until it is cooled down makes it less sticky and easier to work with. I refrigerated mine overnight and even waited until the next afternoon to make the bread. And any dough not used remains refrigerated.


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    When you are ready to make the bread, pull some of the dough up and cut it off with a pair of scissors. Choose the amount you need for the type of loaf you will make. Here, I am making boules, but you can make a French loaf or baguettes too.


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    Shape the loaves by pulling the sides down and under to make the top as smooth as possible. It doesn’t matter what the underside looks like.


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    Place the loaves on parchment paper, either on a cookie sheet that has no sides or turn a cookie sheet upside down and place the parchment paper and the loaves on the bottom. The purpose of this is so you can slide the parchment paper and loaves onto a baking stone later. Allow the loaves to rise for 40 minutes. It said that there is no need to cover them with a damp cloth, but here in Oklahoma, we are so dry that I felt a damp cloth was a must. It worked great.


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    About 20 minutes into the rising, turn your oven on to 450º and place a baking stone on the middle rack to heat for 20 minutes. As you can tell, my baking stone is well-used!! The bottom rack will be used to hold a pan with a cup of water in it to steam the bread loaves. If you don’t have two racks, use a pan that can sit in the bottom of the oven without disturbing the heating elements.


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    When the bread has risen, sprinkle flour on the top surface of the risen loaves and score the tops to release some of the trapped gas so the loaves will hold their shape. You can do parallel slashes, cross-cuts or whatever you like to make the bread loaves look pretty. Now here is where I did it a little different from the instructions. I opened the oven door and placed the pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and closed the door to let the oven heat back up to 450º. At that point, I opened the oven again and slid the parchment paper with the loaves of bread, gently onto the baking stone. Closing the door, quickly, the bread bakes for 30-35 minutes depending on the size of the loaf.


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    Remove the loaves and let them cool before slicing. They really are better after they have cooled, but I couldn’t wait and got a slice anyway. Oh yes. It’s good hot too!


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    After the loaves have cooled slice and serve. You can store your leftover dough up to 14 days and as it sits, the flavor will improve like sourdough. When you use up your dough, don’t clean out the container, but just mix right in with the leftover pieces to add to the flavor. I have decided to use one of my gallon crocks with a loose plastic lid over it to store my dough. It should get really tasty in there!



    Happy Baking!



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