My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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What the Heck Am I Going to Do With All This Wheat? Make Bread, Of Course!!

It has been a goal of mine to learn to make bread. It took me a while, but I have created a yummy white sandwich bread recipe (found here) that I love! Finding a wheat bread recipe wasn’t so easy.

Why? Because my children turn up their noses at wheat bread. I’ve spoiled them with fiber-less bread, and they are super picky about the whole grain breads they will eat in abundance. So, unless I wanted to eat loaves and loaves of less than perfect bread, I wasn’t too keen on trying different wheat bread recipes.

A couple of months ago, I decided to bite the bullet and try a recipe I found on one of my favorite food storage websites, Food Storage Made Easy. (Click here for a link to their recipe.) It was so easy. moist, and yummy that I haven’t tried any other recipes. And, unlike so many other things I make, I have not made any modifications to the recipe either (other than halving it).
Watch me make bread!
 

To begin, I added most of the wheat flour, the yeast, and vital wheat gluten to my mixing bowl. 

 I stirred them together and added the hot water and let it sit for about 15 minutes. That’s a tad bit longer than the recipe says, but I got distracted, and no harm was done. 

   

Next, I added the remaining ingredients (honest, salt, oil, lemon juice, and the rest of the whole wheat flour) and let my kitchenaid mix it for about 6 minutes, until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. See?


I transferred it to my counter (which was sprayed with Pam). 

 

I divided the dough into the appropriate sixes needed for the loaves I was baking. I was using a 9×5 pan and a 10×5 pan. This recipe can also do three smaller loaves (8.5×4 or 9×5 pans).   
 
Next, I kneaded the individual loaves a few times, like maybe 7-10 times, not much. Then I rolled it up the react of the way and pinched the bottom shut. 
 
I turned it over and rolled it a tad bit on the counter to press the raised, pinched part of the dough into the loaf. This is the view from the top.   
 

I repeated that step with the other loaf and out both in pans sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. 
 

I let them rise for about 40-50 minutes until they were a little more than double their original size. You can speed this up a bit if you use a proofing box or put it in your oven (turned off) with the light on. The original recipe from Deals to Meals has a quick rise method which I haven’t tried. If you are interested, I strongly recommend visiting Food Storage Made Easy’s website and following the link to Deals to Meals’ website. 
 
Finally, I baked the bread in a 350 degree oven for about 22 minutes. The recipe gives a bake time of 22-30 minutes, and your time may vary from mine depending on the temperature of your oven and the pans you use. 
Take a look at this gorgeous bread!  
   

Not only did it smell delicious, it tasted delicious, too.

 
Here are the measurements I used to make this bread. I have a smaller mixer than they do on the Food Storage Made Easy website, so I halved it. 

Emilie’s Whole Wheat Bread – Half Recipe

Makes 3 small loaves (8.5×4 or 9×5) or 2 large loaves (10×5)

From Deals to Meals blog, directions modified for Julie’s methods (Julie from Food Storage Made Easy)

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup vital wheat gluten (sometimes called gluten flour)

4 teaspoons instant yeast (I’ve used active dry and instant yeast. Both work fine.)

2 1/2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)

1 tablespoon salt

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup sugar (I use raw honey, and it is delicious!)

4 teaspoons bottled lemon juice

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 

Mix first three ingredients together in your mixer, then add water, stirring for about a minute. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Add oil, honey (or sugar), salt, and lemon juice, and mix until incorporated (about 1 minute). Add remaining flour one cup at a time mixing between each cup. Mix for 6-10 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer. 

Spay your countertop with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to counter and divide into desired number of loaves. Knead a few times (usually less than 10 times), form into loaves and transfer to loaf pans which have been sprayed with Pam (nonstick cooking spray). Let rise until double. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 22-30 minutes or until brown. Cover with foil if it is getting too brown. 

This cuts more easily if you let it cool completely, but it will smell so yummy, you may have a difficult time waiting. Sometimes, I’ll put a little dough in a mini loaf pan so I can eat some bread fresh out of the oven. 

And that’s it!  It’s a super simple recipe, and tastes oh so good!  Try it out and let me know what you think. 

Until next time…

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My Harry Potter Closet Under The Stairs Is Clean! For Now…

I don’t know if you remember or not, but when I started this blog, I posted a picture of what my food storage area actually looked like (see original post here).  It is temperature controlled and safe, but it was a MESS!  See?

 

 

*Before* picture of my infamous Closet Under The Stairs.

 

I wanted to keep it real though, so I posted it, as embarrassing as it was.  I also promised that I would eventually clean it.

 

Several weeks ago, I finally did it!  And I took pictures to show all of you.  It’s still packed, but it’s organized in such a way that I can rotate the food I use regularly with my long term storage, which I don’t need to access as often, in the back.  Take a look.

 

After clearing everything out, which was faster than I thought with the help of my boys, I reorganized the entire closet.  First, I put in the things I wasn't planning to rotate right away: my wheat, beans, and other grains.  Next, I organized my dehydrated and freeze dried food.

After clearing everything out of the closet, which was faster than I thought with the help of my boys, I started with a clean slate and reorganized the entire closet. First, I put in the things I wasn’t planning to rotate right away: my wheat, beans, and other grains. Next, I organized my dehydrated and freeze dried food and my “just add water” meals.

 

Then I put in the items I plan to access regularly: my grain mill, honey, flour, sugar, etc.

Then I put in the items I plan to access regularly: my grain mill, honey, flour, sugar, etc.  I also put our “bug out bags” (aka 72 hour kits) in a place we can grab and go, if needed.  In addition, I put some store brand “Sterno” to use as emergency fuel for cooking in an easily accessible place.

 

Then I organized my jams, jellies, and other home canned goods for easy access.  I also used an old book shelf for food I rotate regularly.

Then I organized my jams, jellies, and other home canned goods for easy access. I also used an old book shelf for food I rotate regularly.

 

See?  I also have some of my regularly used supplies on top of the bookshelf (food grade hose, gas shut-off tool, etc), so I can easily access them.

See? I also have some of my regularly used supplies on top of the bookshelf (food grade hose, gas shut-off tool, etc), so I can easily access them.

 

Is it my ideal food storage compartment?  No.  But who has the ideal everything in life?  I make do with what I have, and I’m very grateful to have it.  You may be thinking, “Great!  She’s a crazy prepper!” and will ignore everything I say from here on out.  If so, that’s your prerogative, but there is wisdom in storing food.

 

Food storage like mine has become a thing of the past for most families, but it didn’t used to be that way.  Families used to regularly store food to get through the winter and pantries were rarely completely bare like ours often are now.  We are used to shopping daily or several times a week for food.  Did you know that grocery stores usually stock enough food for 1 day or less for the entire community they serve?  Food storage is vitally important for all who want to eat when things go wrong (tornadoes, snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.).

 

As much as I love my readers, neighbors, and friends, I can’t feed you if things go wrong.  Take a minute or two today and evaluate how long you would be able to feed yourselves and your families if the grocery store ran out of food.  Would it be months, weeks, days, or hours? 

 

Make a plan today to get one more day’s supply of food than you currently have and build on that.  If you do this each and every week, in six months, you will have almost a 1 month supply!  If you do it once every other week, you will have a 2 week supply after 6 months.  Plan for the worst, but expect the best.  That’s my mantra.

Do you have any long term storage?  If so, what are your favorite things to stock?

If not, why not?  If you had one, what would you like to stock in long term storage?

 How do you organize your food storage, both long and short term?

 


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Well, Isn’t This Fine And Dandy? I Filled My Buckets, But I Need More!

If you have read my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I am working hard to build up a good pantry and food storage.  Remember last week when I posted this:

 

Look at all that grain!

Look at all that grain!

 

I bought all those bags of different kinds of grain for two reasons.  First, I wanted to experiment with different whole grains in baking, and this was the most economical way to buy them.  Second, I wanted to repackage most of the grain for long term storage (meaning mylar bags with oxygen absorbers in food grade buckets).  Last week, I started packing the food in mylar bags (see post about it here), and yesterday I finished.  It really didn’t take me a couple of weeks, in fact, it took me about an hour total.  However, with the insanity that accompanies the last couple weeks of school coupled with the general craziness of life, I just couldn’t find the time to finish up until yesterday.  And here they are!

 

10 buckets (including the 2 done last week)!  Repackaged as they are, these grains should last for at least 20 years (unopened and stored at an appropriate temperature).  I'm not planning to have them sit around that long, because I plan to rotate the grains into our regular diet.  But it is nice to know that this food will last a good long while.

10 buckets (including the 2 done last week)! Repackaged as they are, these grains should last for at least 20 years (unopened and stored at an appropriate temperature). I’m not planning to have them sit around that long, because I plan to rotate the grains into our regular diet. But it is nice to know that this food will last a good long while.

 

And did you see these?  Remember I said that I wanted to experiment with some of these grains?  Here they are in mason jars ready for experimentation!

And did you see these? Remember I said that I wanted to experiment with some of these grains? Here they are in mason jars ready for experimentation!

 

I don’t know if you can see it from the bucket picture above, but I have a few more things to repackage (oats and white winter wheat), but I may just throw those in a regular food grade bucket without a mylar bag, because I use those pretty regularly.  I’ll let you know when I decide.

 

Why am I doing this?  Growing up, my parents had food storage in our basement as well as a full pantry.  I remember my mom grinding her own wheat and making her own bread in a time when processed food was all the rage.  Because of her hard work and dedication, I have a great love for whole, natural foods, and I want to include those in my family’s diet.  Having food storage on hand allows me the freedom to wait for a good sale on healthy food and stock up.  I rarely have to run to the store for “one thing,” because I have extras of almost everything in the pantry or my food storage closet.  It’s not a year supply of food as some recommend, but we would be just fine for a while if we experienced a job loss, extended illness, natural disaster, or any one of a number of regularly occurring “disasters” that people experience.

How about you?  What do you think about this food storage craze? 

Do you see any wisdom in keeping a well-stocked pantry?  If so, what do you keep in yours?