Tag Archives: baking

The Amish Give Me Corn Muffins

AmishThe sugar is running low. The organic flour is gone. So are the raisins. So what does this have to do with the Amish and muffins? Let me explain.

We travel a bit more than an hour from our home in Pennsylvania to Lancaster, Pa. It has a big Amish community and several other interesting things, such as major outlets. Tucked down a long winding road, past a farm is a little natural food store run by an Amish family. (If you know the secret password, you can also purchase raw milk next door from a little Amish girl.)

We visit the store three times a year to stock up on organic bulk ingredients, including the flour, sugar and raisins. We also stock up on corn meal, however, I haven’t been using it as often. Since I like my ingredients to be fresh, I’ll need to use up most of what corn meal remains.

So, this morning, in the chaos of getting second-born child out the door for school, I decided to make two batches of corn bread for the freezer. Yes, I’m an idiot. I almost got cough syrup in the batter, and left my daughter’s excuse note in my recipe book, but I need the kid-free afternoons for freelance work, so baking in the morning usually works for me.

Since the oven was hot anyway, I also made a pan of brownies which will not be going into the freezer. 


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Saving Money Making Bread with a Bread Machine

1349406464ni3b4Through a recent calculation, I just learned that each time I make a loaf of bread in my bread machine, I save an average of $3 a loaf! That is because the average cost of bread machine bread is about 50 cents. Compare that to my normal $3.50 (sometimes more) a loaf, and you can see the savings. Plus, with the bread machine, I’m not spending money heating up the oven.

With cheaper bread, I wouldn’t save as much. Bargain loaves cost less, but the problem is that they usually carry nasty things that I don’t want to feed my family, such as preservatives and high fructose corn syrup (say all you want commercial lady in a field about high fructose corn syrup being merely sugar, I’ve read the research). Plus, honestly, once you are used to fresh baked bread, the store bought stuff taste like cardboard. That has been rained on. And then used as play-doh before being formed back into a loaf.

Sometimes we do buy specialty bread from the Amish at a local farmer’s market. My six-year-old is so into cherry bread that he made up his own song: “Do you want some cherry bread, cherry bread? Yes, I want some cherry bread, cherry bread…” but the cost of it is a whopping $5.95 a loaf. Why wasn’t I using my bread machine to make it instead? file000153779528

Well this week we ran out of our store bought bread and haven’t gotten to the grocery store for days. The kids like bread for school sandwiches (tortilla roll ups did not go over well on Monday), my dad has bread at every meal, and the key to my husband’s heart is in a nice warm cinnamon raisin bread with a slab of melting butter.

So my goal this week is to make one loaf a bread a day, or every other day, depending on how quickly it is consumed. In fairness, I only make a one-and-a-half pound loaf each time, on average, and there are six bread-loving people living here. Plus various bread-loving sneaks friends that turn up.

The bread machine makes it pretty easy to make bread, even on a daily basis without too much trouble. I use the turn loaf of bread loosely, since I’ll probably also make my yummy bread machine rolls that are so addicting, one friend nicknamed them “crack.” Not in front of the kids, please. Bread machine cinnamon rolls are another favorite in this house.

file000290322202You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a new bread machine, although I suggest that you get a better brand if you plan on making homemade often. Better quality machines do make better bread. If you have never used a bread machine before, get a free one and try it out. Chances are that a friend or relative have one that is not being used. You can also find them at yard sales and thrift stores. When you get hooked, then have fun choosing a machine you can love.



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