Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting Ready for Spring.....and Pugliese

We have been busy, busy, busy getting ready for spring!  There are so many things to be done.  Miss Serenity helped me varnish the English garden hives that we bought (the bees should be here the end of the month) and Master Hand Grenade is building raised beds and helping repair various things around the homestead.  Today, he replaced a pane of glass that had fallen out of the cold frame.  It was just held in with silicone and little else, so he scraped the old sealant out of the frame, replaced the glass, put two screws in each side (for added support) and re-siliconed the glass in place.  After Princess Dragon Snack and I weeded, we added some chicken manure, watered it a bit and will patiently wait for a week or two before planting.  I can't wait to see seedling popping their heads out of the warm, moist earth!

Varnished Hive

Repaired Cold Frame
Even though the evenings are longer, I have been settling in to read a bit here and there.  Currently, I am making my way through "Starting Right With Bees".  It was published in the 40's and is chock full of great information.  Maid Elizabeth brought it home for me after a recent excursion to a local antique store.  I can say with some authority that it was worth every penny of the $2 asking price!

Light Evening Reading
In between all of the spring clean-up, I have been baking for my family (I know, a real surprise!).  Last night we feasted.  We partook of a decadent meal of grilled chicken breast and homemade fettuccine Alfredo accompanied by a  fresh loaf of Pugliese, a regional Italian bread.  Not a word was spoken as we ate, but the dinner table was far from silent.  Contented groans came from every corner!  That is nothing short of music to a cooks ear!

Please bear with me as I write when I get a chance.  If I'm not writing, you can be assured that I'm up to my elbows in dirt, or bees or building!  I'll keep you posted.


10 1/2 C bread flour
2 T salt
2 T yeast
1 tsp. sugar
4 C water, warm
1/2 C olive oil (Extra Virgin - the good green stuff!)

Mix together the water, sugar and yeast.  Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until it starts to become foamy (sponging).  Add 1/2 the flour and all of the salt and mix.  Add the olive oil (the better quality oil, the better the bread).  Continue to add flour until the dough is soft but not sticky and holds its shape.  Knead for 10 minutes or until it becomes very smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl.  Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise at room temperature, away from drafts, until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 3 hours.

Gently turn out the dough onto a greased baking sheet, without punching it down.  Gently pull out the sides of the dough, then tuck them underneath to make a neat, pillow-like round loaf.  Do this several times, but do not knead the dough, punch it down, or turn it over.

Cover the dough with a dish towel and let rise, away from drafts, until it has almost doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  During the last 15 minutes of rising, heat the oven to 450°.  Lightly dust the loaf with flour.  Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 450° then lower the oven temperature to 375° and bake for 25 to 35 minutes longer, or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Makes 1 LARGE loaf.

Ready for the Oven

Warm and Savory


  1. I love your blog but have never commented prior to this posting - love the AI Root Candle Co. book and can't believe that one made it out to Idaho. I used to live 20 minutes away from Medina, Ohio - HQ of the AI Root Candle Co. At one point in time they were one of the largest beekeeping outifts in the country (for the wax). They are still quite active in beekeeping and publish a great beekeeping magazine. I took a great intro. to beekeeping class there. Small world.

    Great posts and very inspiring!

    Best Regards,


    1. Tim - small world!!! I frequented the Root Candle shop as a child, and visit now whenever I am in the area! I just wrote Enola a note telling her to check out their website and beekeeping magazine, too (before I saw your comment - oops!). They even have a selection of their older books available online for free! I too, said that I couldn't believe that book made it across the country. Amazing.

    2. That is neat - two Ohioans reading a blog from Idaho! We used to live in NEOhio (Bath Township) and recently moved down to Cincinnati area. I took the beekeeping class from a gentleman named Kim Flottum - I believe he is the editor of the magazine and has written at least one excellent book on beekeeping.

    3. Tim - I'll ask my mother if she knows Kim - she still lives near Root, and goes there often. My family and I, like you, moved south to the Dayton area. So nice to know there are other like minded people in Ohio! Sometimes we get despondent about not being able to move to the Redoubt, but this has been encouraging! :)

    4. Dayton Ohioan - I hear ya! The problem I have found is that there in many of the redoubt areas jobs are scarce. Low population density (which I'd really like), not much industry, no jobs at least for an engineer like me. So, one must live near employment - then the problem becomes living out (lower taxes, more land) vs. commute time/gas expense ...

      Glad to know there are good folks just north of us!

  2. Enola,

    Spring has arrived, I see you've been busy preparing for the arrival of your bee's and
    preparing your cold frame. This bread recipe is so amazing, we love this type of Italian bread.

  3. We are up to our elbows in dirt around here too. Enjoy the nice weather. It all goes by so fast. God's blessings to you and yours.

  4. Please explain the flour amount in the recipe. Is that 10 1/2 cups of flour (sounds like a lot) or 10 half cups of flour (5 cups)? I am not expert on bread baking but want to give this a try.

  5. ......dear friends up north...should you have need of information regarding bee's I can direct you to a long time friend in Esparto, Ca. who operates a large bee business which serves Northern Ca...if interested I can provide you with contact info...I would like to humbly direct you to a web-site for a Good Friday (anytime really)