Friday, March 4, 2011

Bread Day

  Today was a cold and rainy day here in Cinci.  *J* had a day off of school due to end of trimester testing so we decided to make some bread.  He likes to help around the house and this is an activity that's right up his alley.  We broke out our stash of wheat and our Country Living grinder and set to work.

*J* struggles with turning the grinder so I ended up jumping in and helping out when he started to look pooped.  The grinder is nice but it can be a little bit of a bear to turn.  When we first bought it, we didn't get the extension handle on the crank.  I was the only one in the house that could turn it and it would just about kill me.  Life is so much nicer with the extension.  We used one of the honey whole wheat recipes from the King Arthur Flour website.  It makes a pretty heavy loaf of bread so my DW isn't wild about it.  The boys and I end up eating it up though.  It goes without saying that the smell in the house this afternoon was awesome!  It was kind of chilly in the kitchen so I ended up heating the oven up a little and putting a boiling kettle in with the dough to help it rise.  It worked really slick.

I haven't baked bread for almost a year.  Even being out of practice, I was pretty happy with the results.  It just hasn't been worth it to bake bread since we've been picking up "day old" at Kroeger's for 45 cents.  Our freezer was absolutely loaded.  It seems to me that the shelves haven't had too many cheap loaves lately but my DW says I'm imagining things.  Anyhow, our freezer is almost out of bread and I have the sneaking suspicion that with the recently increasing food prices, it may just be worth it to start up again.

  Now that I'm retired, one of my newly acquired "Cabana Boy" duties is to take care of our stocked up food.  This mostly means keeping the rotation straight so that we're always using the oldest items first.  I also pass the word to my DW when we're getting low on something since she is the coupon queen and can squeeze a penny until it screams.  I do most of the cooking so I have my finger on the pulse of what we need.  It's a pretty good system that we have worked out between ourselves.  I was getting tired of trying to make heads or tails out of our canned goods and discovered that you can only stack soup cans so high before you get a catastrophic failure and the mighty tower falls.  I looked online for rotation systems and almost gagged when I saw how expensive they were.  I figured that I would take a shot at building one.  I whipped one up from scrap in the basement, using pics from the web and a soda can rotater in our fridge.  The end result holds 10 soup cans just fine in about the same area that a like number would stack.

I'm sure that there are plenty of decent plans out on the internet.  I tend to do a lot of re-inventing of the wheel but I like to discover the thought process behind an item like this.  Who knows?  I may have an Edison moment and come up with a truly unique innovation on a simple idea.  I learned a lot from this exercise.  First, I didn't angle the rails that the cans roll on enough so they tend to move too slow and sometimes stop from friction against the sidewalls.  The next can pushes them along so it's not a show stopper.  Secondly, I built it with very close tolerances for a soup can.  If I had gone a little bigger it would have easily handled multiple sized cans.  Lastly, I kind of looked at a modular design but missed numerous opportunities to make it so.  I'll know where these are next time.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with it and the scrap I used was infinitely cheaper then the commercial models.  It'll serve just fine and with the experience I've gained, version 2.0 will be much better!


  1. This post kind of weirded me out. Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, I decided to bake some bread. What kind you ask? Honey wheat. I did not however make a soup can thingamajob. Good idea though.

  2. Great minds think alike I guess. It is kinda creepy though!