The pics don’t show the full wonder of the work Jake and Elwood are doing. Here they are head down, digging into the root zone of the pasture they are working on. To be fair, they don’t seem to act like it’s work. They bounce around the field they’re in, ears flapping happily when they are on the run. Mostly running towards me or Mrs Highclere in the hope we’ll drip food in their vicinity. You can see a little of the effects of their noses in the soil in the second pic [left]. The pic on the right is close up of the eaten roots. The outcome is a light fluffy mulch spread across the entire area. There are some exposed areas of soil and that does not please me but on the whole the system is working as designed. The hope is for the mulch to dry out and act as a medium in which to grow the next crop. That will probably be a brassica crop used to fumigate the soil and remove the nematodes. That will be crushed as the second crop starts to come up. I’m thinking spelt under sown would work but I have a few weeks to decide.
No Knead Bread
This is a dead simple recipe. It removes the troublesome business of spending time kneading the dough. Basically this bread has four ingredients: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, 1 desert spoon of yeast and a splash of salt. The ideal flour is a “strong” one. That is, with a higher protein content than cake baking flour. The best I’ve found is Wallaby Bakers Flour. I’ve tried other brands and they don’t seem much different from standard plain flour. I’ll be sticking with the Wallaby.
This method requires the four ingredients to be mixed together until the dough forms a ball. I use the bakelite handled bread and butter knife in the picture to the left. The dough is at the stage I want it. At this point I cover it with a tea towel and leave it, usually over night but sometimes just a few hours. It all depends on the mix, the weather and when I want the bread.
During resting the dough and the yeast do their thing. The mass doubles in size, roughly. I turn this onto a floured surface and stretch the dough into a long oblong. It is then folded in on itself by thirds. A third from the left, then a third from the right. This is then placed on a flat baking tray on some baking paper or scattered flour, your choice. I leave it a few hours and cook for 18 to 23 minutes in the hottest setting in the oven. It’s ready when I tap the bottom of the loaf and receive a lovely hollow echo back.
Turn the loaf onto a cooling rack. About twenty minutes later I’m “testing” the loaf. If it’s been awhile since I’ve baked I’ll probably be half way through the loaf before I think: I should have made two!
This link will get you to a piece I did on bread making a few years back: https://soundcloud.com/mrjonmoore/bread-test-6