Science Fair 101

In the last couple of weeks Sam and I have been playing around with a bunch of different recipes, and not just recipes for food.

Sam has successfully bottled his first batch of home-brew, which tastes exactly like a German-style light beer.  I used most of a bottle of it yesterday in some beer biscuits.  They were tasty as well, but what I liked most was the texture of the biscuits – they were the lightest, fluffiest, most scrumptiously delicate biscuits I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a lot of really good biscuits in my time.  I believe I’ve accidentally discovered an amazing biscuit making secret that I’ll share at a later date after I’ve thoroughly tested it.  Lets just say, it’s not rocket science, but it’s not something I’ve ever thought of before….

I’ve also been continuing my experiments with fresh ground wheat in breads.  So far I’ve only managed one roll recipe that I thought was really good.  The breads all taste alright, but they don’t have my usual fluffy and picture perfect look to them.  I’ve tried hand-kneeding, mixer-kneeding, and bread machine-kneeding, and the tops keep sinking when I cook them.  Also the texture is just too dense and bland for me.  I’m going to persevere though and find a fail proof recipe that I’ll be able to share here, because I know all of you are just looking for an excuse to go out and use your tax refund money to buy a grain mill!

Another experiment I’ve managed is making my own laundry soap and multi-purpose cleaner.   The cleaner was a cinch – distilled vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol – no rocket science there.  The laundry soap was also not difficult to put together and since today is laundry day the soap is being field-tested as I type this out.  My first two loads of laundry seem to be just as clean, and maybe even more fresh than when I use regular, commercially produced laundry soap; minus the cost, artificial coloring, and added fragrance of course.  The clothes are white, clean, soft, and feel residue free, so I’m excited.  The recipe is super simple and only requires three readily available ingredients, plus a couple gallons of water.  I’ll post all the details here soon for those of you who are interested in trying your hand at a piece of homemade life!

And the granddaddy of experiments is going to happen in the next couple of days.  I’m going to begin making my own cheese.  Since locating an awesome, local source of fresh, raw, cow’s milk I’ve become incredibly interested in making my own cheese.  I love cheese and could eat it at every meal.  But the cost of cheese just won’t allow me to do that.  And all the preservatives, artificial colorings and flavorings just put me off too.  Not to mention the animal cruelty associated with commercial and factory farming – yes, even commercial dairy farms are cruel and disgusting places for both the workers and the cows.  Since I’m brand new at home cheesemaking I’ve decided to do something not like me – I’m going to start simple instead of diving into the hardest types of cheeses to make (that’d be the mold enhanced cheeses like blues, white, and red-bacteria cheeses).  This week I’ll be making fresh cream cheese as well as 30-minute mozzarella cheese.  I promise to post the results here.

Cheese trivia: Did you know that traditional (and authentic) buffalo mozzarella cheese comes from the milk of………..water buffaloes?  I did not know that, but I guess it makes perfect sense – hence the name ‘buffalo’ mozzarella.  In India people do not use (or eat) any products from cows as they’re sacred animals, but everyone has at least one water buffalo tied to the front of their house.  When Sam was in India a few years back he ate tons of water buffalo cheeses (not mozzarella though), butter, yogurt, milk, and meat.  He didn’t like it very much.  He said it had a stronger, soured, more ‘musky’ flavor to it.  It might have had something to do with the fact that the entire country smells like urine, but I can’t be sure….I know it’s gross, but I’m just sayin’….

So that’s what’s been happenin’ around our place in the past couple of weeks.  What new things have you tried lately?


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