Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Growing Tobacco

I don’t smoke, but my gardening neighbor David had extra seedlings of tobacco.  How could I say no?  Here at Piety Hill Homestead, we are always trying out new plants for their usefulness.

Last summer I grew the common Burley type, used in commercial cigarette manufacturing, and this year he gave me a Hopi tobacco plant. This shorter,  more “rustic” type is used by various cultures in ritual practice, and I read it has about a 9% nicotene content as opposed to Burley’s 1- 3%.  Wow!  That oughta light up a pipe!

To use, I simply air-cured my tobacco leaves indoors last summer after they started turning yellow. Throughout the year, they made an excellent gift for visiting smoking friends.  Because it is a smoke mixture free of the 4,000 odd chemicals that going into store bought cigarettes, I feel happy to offer it as an alternative to my loved ones.

I also use it as a fabulous pesticide.  Dried or fresh, I steep it in water and spray it on plants that host bugs. If you walk by Piety Hill Bakery on 4th St., please pause and become acquainted with this beautiful and useful plant.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of seed of both types so feel free to email for a freebie!

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Making Dandelion Wine

I have always thought dandelions were pretty.  I do dig them out of my flower beds when I feel motivated,  but I don’t ever use herbicides on my lawn,  so there are  dandelions galore to use from there.

Step one:  picked about 2 quarts, cleaned, used mostly just the blossomsgathered dandelionsStep two:  boiled for one hour with 4 Qts. water, 1 C. orange juice and zest, lemon juice, grated ginger, 4 C sugar and clovesboiling dandelions

Step three:  strained, cooled to 100 degrees and added 1 pk. of baking yeast.  Let sit overnight.

Step four:  bottled, and covered with balloons that have pin holes in themwine drained

Step five:  wait IMPATIENTLY at least 6 months before drinking! bottled wine2

Foraging

Piety Hill Bakery was born out of need, but has grown out of a kind of love.  Back in 2009 when many of us were losing jobs we loved, to keep going, to pay the mortgage, we had to invent new ways of surviving.  I always thought Greenville was a wonderful town, but it lacked real bagels!  so I started making my own and offering them for sale.  This has turned into a humble but necessary avocation.  Another survival skill that I have been learning is to forage for food, and I am loving this simple way to find food for FREE!

Here is a pan of greens gathered from around my yard.  Since I am a beginner I am very careful to only eat plants that I know very well.  Included are dandelions, lambs-quarters, plantain leaves, nasturtium and violet leaves.  I sauted them in olive oil, and then rolled an egg around them.  A little pepper, garlic powder, and voila!  Or blacken them with some green tomatoes, bell pepper and serve on a fresh Piety Hill Baguette!Recommended reading for food foragers:  “Feasting Free on Wild Edibles” by Bradford Angier
“The Wild Vegan Cookbook” by “Wildman” Steve Brill

Kulich

Excited to have a little mention of Piety Hill Bakery in the Chicago Tribune last week!

We are baking  Kulich bread up until May Day.  For many Slavic peoples around the world,  the  Easter season wouldn’t be Easter without this festive bread.

My Russian mother made Kulich at Easter-time  for my brother and I  as we were growing up in South America!  Perhaps you can make it a tradition for your children as well.  I bet they would really enjoy the extravagant shape, color and the sweet flavor!

Our Kulich is made with 6 eggs, milk, butter, sugar, flour, orange &  lemon zest, vanilla, raisins, nuts, and a tad of rum in the frosting.

Each ingredient is rich with symbolic meaning.

Canadian Connections

My father was born in Consort Alberta, and raised on a homestead near Arlee, Saskatchewan.  He was the oldest boy of 11 children.

His parents had left the Caucaus region of  Russia in the early 1900’s  to find a new life in North America, and so my Russian/Canadian connection starts back there.

When he was in his early twenties, my dad’s family moved eastward.  They settled into a much easier life in Niagara Falls, Ontario, leaving behind the rugged  life of the western Canadian prairie.

I inherited many things from my father:  a love of the plains,  cowboys and horses, a passion for building things, and especially his artistic eye, and a “make-d0” frontier spirit.

Even as I make decisions about bread-making I can see this heritage manifesting itself.  There was no doubt from the get-go, that  I needed to make bread the old way. From the numerous wood-fired bread oven styles recorded, I chose to build the 700 year old French oven design, which found its New World resolution in the Quebec clay ovens of Eastern Canada.

And now, as I am deciding which of my all-white bread recipes to offer here at Piety Hill Bakery, I have chosen a recipe passed down from a Canadian woman who was born, raised, and baked bread in a Far North Canadian fishing village some  50 years ago.  She was not my grandmother, but I feel it apropos to call it:  Grandmother’s White Bread.

The recipe is almost exactly like the historic “Sally Lunn”  bread,  much loved by colonial Virginia settlers, except that it does not include eggs.  Better for us all, I figure—less cholesterol.  Old World meets New World!!

available as a pan bread or a boule

Thank you for buying our breads.  They are currently available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  If we have enough orders we bake in our brick oven, if we have just a few, we bake indoors in our traditional electric oven.  We are  always learning!  Mis-steps are the mistress of learning 🙂 

Call in your order the night before (by 8 pm) at: (618) 581-3480  Or email us at pietyhillbakery@Yahoo.com    

PS.  Thank you for carrying on the Old  World traditions. If your power (or ours) is down, or your computer or phone not working, simply drop off your order in our mailbox.  We will still be baking .

Demonstrations of our wood-fired oven are available at no charge to groups such as Girl-Scouts, Boy-Scouts, DVBS, etc.  Give us a call!

 

 

  (Hi Janet! )

 

2010 in review.

Thank you so much friends, for visiting our Piety Hill blog in 2010. We’re working on getting bread out this new year, 2011!  The bagels are still coming  to you warm but they are lonely for company! 😀

I am appreciative of all the visits! Here is what WordPress told me about the activity on this blog:  ————————————————————————–

“The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 14 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 9mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 31st with 269 views. The most popular post that day was Hearth Oven.”

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I am currently learning how to bake in a Wood-Fired Oven.  It’s a college-education for sure!

Christmas Time is Here

It’s true.  Some bagels got burned, some orders were overlooked or I mixed them up, but you were such Awesome Customers!!!

   Thank you for your support and kindness as we have worked to build our small business.  We are working to serve you better all the the time.  Couldn’t do it without YOU~!  Blessings.  

Lydia/Piety Hill Bakery

Greenville, Illinois