Monday, December 10, 2012

Beehive Ornaments

In response to requests to purchase my hand painted Beehive ornaments, I've started making and selling them in my Etsy store. They are great for Christmas gifts, thank you gifts for Beehive leaders / class presidency members, and gifts for Honor Bee bead recipients. Check out my Etsy shop!


I will be adding new items over the next few week, including special items for Mia Maids and Laurels as well.
ornament with bow

Table toppers 
gift bag decoration

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baking Bread

For a class activity, I talked to the girls about making bread, then we actually baked loaves of bread that the girls took home. I used the "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" method to make whole wheat bread (turns out sort of like a ciabatta bread), so the dough did not have to be kneaded, but did need to be pre-made and refrigerated for hours, so I did not have the girls mix the dough. I did explain to them how to mix it (instructions below). 

We were short on time, but another option would have been to have pre-refrigerated dough prepared to cook, and have the girls mix up a 2nd batch of dough (while the pre-made dough was cooking) just to get the whole process. 

My goal was to show the girls that baking bread can be easy and rewarding.
This is the information from the handout I gave the girls:
Why make your own bread if you can just buy it in the store?
  • ·      Costs less to make from scratch (this can vary depending on type of bread and quality)
  • ·      You can control the use of “mystery ingredients” and preservatives
  • ·      Fresh-baked bread smell is awesome!
  • ·      It’s a good feeling of accomplishment to make something yourself

      4 ways to make bread at home
  • ·      Make in automatic bread-maker
  • ·      Make frozen bread dough (from store)
  • ·      Make from scratch (with kneading)
  • ·      Make from scratch (without kneading)

Make in automatic bread-maker
PROS: The bread-maker does all the work (you can even buy bread-mixes to use)
CONS: Bread comes out in a weird shape and sometimes has very hard crust

Make frozen bread dough (from store)
PROS: Easy, no mixing
CONS: Costs more than scratch, you have to remember to defrost it hours before baking

Make from scratch (with kneading)
PROS: Its cheap.
CONS: Messy. Takes a long time to make, rise, and bake.

Make from scratch (without kneading)
PROS: Cheap and easy, much less messy than traditional kneading method, FAST.
CONS: Have to pre-make the dough ahead of time before you want to bake it.

RECIPE for Wheat Ciabatta Bread (without kneading)

(makes @ 4 loaves of bread)
  • 5 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • Yeast (1 ½ tablespoons)
  • Salt (1 tablespoon)
  • ¼ cup Vital Wheat Gluten – this is available in bulk section of most stores
  • 4 cups lukewarm water

You also need: plastic wrap and parchment paper (available near aluminum foil in most stores)


Measure dry ingredients (everything except water) and mix them together in a large mixing bowl. Heat up the water so that it is warm (but not hot!). It should be a little warmer than body temperature. Add the water to the dry ingredients.

If you have a mixer, use the mixer to blend the ingredients together. If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix it by hand. Mix until all the flour is mixed in. Do not take the dough out the of the bowl to knead it.

Cover the bowl (loosely) with plastic wrap. You don’t want it to be air-tight because it needs to ‘breathe’ and could explode if its air-tight. Let sit like that at room temperature for 2 hours.

After 2 hours is over, put the bowl in the fridge and let it sit for at least 3 hours (better if its longer, like 8 or 9 hours or more). The dough is good for 1 week, so you could wait to bake it for a whole week. You can make 1 loaf at a time, or all 4 (should make 4 loaves).


When you’re ready to bake the bread, make the dough into a loaf (or several loaves if you want to make more than one at a time) by scooping out a grapefruit size piece of dough and putting it on a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 450 (make sure there are two racks in the oven). Place an empty metal pan on the bottom rack.

After 90 minutes, pull off the plastic wrap (throw it away) and put the whole cookie sheet on the top rack of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal plan on the bottom rack and quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 20 minutes, then take the bread off the paper/cookie sheet and put it right onto the top rack. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Cool on a rack

PURPOSE: Teach a skill and make baking seem less intimidating.
MATERIALS NEEDED: wheat flour, white flour, vital wheat gluten, salt, yeast, parchment paper, and plastic wrap (estimated cost: Less than $3 for 4 loaves)