Category Archives: Blog

Homesteading, Food Preservation, Frugality, and Simple Living.  At Pantry Paratus, we mix it up with good old-fashioned “how-to”, food science, and recipes.

Elderberry Tincture

The Elderberries were a gift from a friend.  It was a gift of health.


Last year was my first winter in Montana.  As with all moves, our immune systems were not prepared for the onslaught of every flu and cold, every bacteria and virus in which we came into contact.  I thought I was going to die at one point.  A friend sent my husband home with a bottle of Oregano oil and a set of instructions for me to mix a few drops with water and drink up.  Not only did I think I was going to die, my husband very nearly did that day.  If you have ever tasted the burn of Oregano oil, you know what I’m talking about.  But I recovered immediately.


So this trusted friend (who just might have saved my life once) gave me a bag of Elderberries.  They were so delicious, I very nearly ate the bag of them; I restrained myself in the name of health for the long upcoming winter.


 I am not in a medical profession so please understand that I am not giving any medical or miracle claims.  I can only tell you what others typically use the tincture to treat and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.


To make a tincture, you can either use glycerin or a strong alcohol.  However, which of those two options you use has everything to do with the herb or berry used itself.  The chemical compound may not be drawn out simply by using glycerin, as is the case with Elderberries.  Alcohol is needed to draw the medicinal properties out of the plant in this particular case.  You should research each individual plant to determine which type of tincture will give you the most benefit.


Elderberries can provide excellent immune support, and many natural products you buy claiming to do so will have Elderberries in its’ contents.  It’s also an antioxidant and is used to treat coughs and colds.  They say that it can combat both viruses and bacteria, and even help with tonsillitis!

Elderberry Cluster


I did refer to this site for very easy-to-follow instructions. The whole process took less time than pouring a glass of chocolate milk.  Seriously.  The hardest part for me was when my husband asked the church pianist, “Where can you buy liquor on a Sunday morning in this town?”.



A clean  jar with tight fitting lid

Vodka (or Brandy) with the highest alcohol proof available (100-proof desirable)


A wooden spoon and colander (preferably non-metal)



  • Wash and strain elderberries in the colander.
  • For a tincture, you do not need to worry about the seeds.  Remove the stems with a fork.
  • Mash the berries as much as possible with your wooden spoon in the jar.
  • Pour alcohol over them until just above the berry-line.
  • Label the jar clearly, including contents (so that you’ll know which tinctures on your shelf contain alcohol and which ones do not).  Date the jar.
  • Occasionally shake the jar during the next 6 weeks.  This is the ideal length of time to allow the tincture to fully “cure”.  You can certainly use it before then if you need to.
  • The tincture can be stored in the jar for up to 2 years.  I recommend placing it in the refrigerator once the jar has been opened.

Optional—if you would like to remove the berries after 6 weeks, simply strain out as much of the tincture as possible and rebottle it.  This is not necessary.

Chaya's Elderberry Tincture


Picture of Elderberry Cluster is from this (really informative) site.

Sausage-Stuffed Apples

Sausage Stuffed Apples

yummy version of this back-to-basics easy recipe


Whenever a baked apple is part of the main course, invite me over!  This is an easy recipe I have made many  times over—I use the term “recipe” loosely.  Think of this sausage and apples recipe as more as a “guide.”


 For a recipe like this one, you will need the handy-dandy tool like this one: 


 Apple Corer




                                              8 apples, cored and halved into the top and bottom

                                              1 lb pork sausage

                                             2 tbs ground sage

                                             ½ cup maple syrup (approximately, to taste)

                                             1 cup chopped walnuts

                                             Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-Place apples cut-side-up in a greased baking pan.

-In separate bowl, mix the sausage, sage, maple syrup, and walnuts.

-Stuff the apples with the sausage mixture.

-Drizzle olive oil on top.


 Bake for approximately 45 minutes. 


sausage stuffed apples


As for side dishes that you could serve here to along with the sausage and apples, I like to either include fried red cabbage, sliced potatoes or carrots. 


These sausage stuffed apples are a hit with the children, so give them a try and let me know what you thought of them by leaving a comment at the bottom.




Permaculture Overview: A Tale of Two City Lots

What if I told you that you did not have to pull every weed, sweating under the hot sun with a sore back and little yield?  Permaculture refers to permanent agriculture, a system to stack functions and work with nature (by first observing) instead of fighting against it all of the time! Get a quick permaculture overview through the contrast of two city lots, side-by-side.

Continue reading

Recipe: Apple “Oatmeal Cookie” Granola

Apple Oatmeal Cookie Granola

Easier than a “no bake” oatmeal cookie


I named this recipe “oatmeal cookie” because that is the closest I can come to the emotion that overcame me as I bit into this granola.   


Oatmeal Cookie


This is made in your Excalibur dehydrator, using Paraflexx sheets.  You will set the temperature to approximately 125° F and allow it to run overnight.  At least, that is what I did but it was so perfectly crisp that I do believe less time or lower heat might be possible.  If you prefer “living foods” closer to raw, try a lower temperature—either way you will still end up with a healthy oatmeal cookie like product. 


The yield for this recipe was three trays. Play with the ingredients.  For instance I did not use all raisins, I combined them with dehydrated berries from my pantry.  I also mixed walnuts and pecans because I could not decide between the two. 



recipe for oatmeal cookie


5 medium apples, sliced and peeled

6 cups rolled oats

1 cup nuts

1 cup raisins

Dehydrated crumbled raspberries, to taste (optional)

1 cup maple syrup

2 cups warm-hot water



In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup with water.  Set aside.



 Maple Syrup Mixture



In a large bowl, mix all of the other dry ingredients for this no bake oatmeal cookie.  Stir in maple syrup mixture. 


Mix Dry Ingredients


Dump mixture onto dehydrator trays.  Turn on the dehydrator and forget about them until morning, and then enjoy your chewy oatmeal cookie with your yogurt!


This is a great snack recipe for kids.  Give this recipe a try and tell me what you think below in the comments section. 





Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn in a bowl!


Apple Butternut Squash


Apple Butternut Squash anything makes me excited it is autumn.  Oooh, am I ever excited about leftovers for lunch!

I served this apple butternut squash soup with my bread—with one main exception!  When I was ready to bake bread this week, I realized all-too-late that I did not have enough honey.  Without time to run to the store, I substituted ½ cup molasses instead.  My bread was rich, dark, and moist.  It has a complex flavor that any true bread-lover would savor.  It was a perfect pairing (with real butter) to this warming and filling soup.




* This butternut squash apple soup can easily be vegan—substitute vegetarian broth and a nut milk for the cream.

* I love the rich flavors of the spices and so I am personally heavy-handed.  I add more than what I listed for you.  You will need to use your discretion on the amount of the spices.

* This apple butternut squash soup recipe is creamy, rich, and more filling than most.  Hubby and myself only ate one bowl and were full.  If you are forever looking for a meatless meal that actually fills you, this is it!


Apple Butternut Squash Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped

5 small apples, chopped (no need to peel)

2 butternut squash, steamed or boiled

1 quart liquid broth (I used home-canned turkey broth)

½ cup water

1 quart half-and-half or thick cream (ideally cream from raw milk where it is legal)

½ stick butter

1 tsp lemon juice

3 bay leaves

1-2 tsp dried nutmeg, to taste

3 tsp dried sage

1-2 pinches salt, to taste

Pepper to taste




Sauté onion and apples in butter.  Add chunks of squash to a cast iron skillet, along with the lemon juice, bay leaves, nutmeg, sage, salt, and pepper.  Sauté the butternut squash and apple mixture only a few minutes with all of the spices, and then add ½ cup water to simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a pot, add broth and cream.  Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.  Add additional seasoning to taste. 


Put portions in a blender to create a creamy finished product. 


Serve with fresh bread and butter!


I hope that you enjoy this Apple Butternut Squash treat as much as we do.  It is even better on the second day!  Give this a shot and leave a comment below to let us know what you thought of it.





Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oat Bars (or Oat Muffins)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oat Bars (or Oat Muffins)


Pumpkin Cream Cheese . . . let’s get to baking!


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oat Bars, I literally invented this one as I went, not even basing it upon or adapting from another recipe.  It was a fantastic surprise!


          Pumpkin Cream Cheese


I started out baking these in my go-to cake pan, and then I ended up with a muffin tin full as well.  It was very good both ways, so I suppose you can just do what suits your fancy.  Pumpkin and cream cheese were both on sale, so I started with what I had on hand.  I think that the topping makes these as delicious as they are—please do not skimp here!


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oat Muffins


Also, I used half of a box of cream cheese and the flavor was light.  I could envision these being even more decadent though, so if you try it with more cream cheese, would you please leave a comment below and let us know how it turns out?  One other note, I used hard red flour and they were great—but next time I will try soft white, as it is the best choice for a quick bread.  In either case the cream cheese pumpkin combo yield a moist but firm overall product that my kids love with milk as a snack.


Do not be intimidated by the seemingly long list of ingredients—the topping and batter ingredients overlap and these are mostly basics you already have on hand.  You could simplify with “pumpkin pie spice”—if you do, let me know what you think of it!


I have cut the recipe in half, so this should give you either a dozen muffins or a cake pan’s worth.


2/3 cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 tsp butter, melted


 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oat Bars



1 ½ cups fresh-milled flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1 cup sour cream

3 cups pumpkin puree

4 oz (half box) of cream cheese, softened

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup olive oil

1 egg



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir topping ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices).
  4. In a separate bowl, add sour cream, pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, oil, and egg.  Beat for approximately 2 minutes to ensure blending of the cream cheese and to get air into the egg.
  5. Pour one bowl into the other, stirring lightly.
  6. Pour into cake pan or muffin tins. 


If a cake pan, it will take 30-40 minutes.  If muffins, 30 minutes. 


This pumpkin cream cheese recipe is delicious and easy.  I usually try to make one other baked good item on my bread baking day to get my family through the week with snacks and quick healthy breakfast choices—so this works well either as pumpkin cream cheese bars or muffins!


Cream cheese and pumpkin


Give this pumpkin cream cheese recipe a try and let me know how you like it.  This may be my new favorite take-along finger food for get-togethers! 




Photo Credits:

All photos by Pantry Paratus

Canning Ground Beef

Canning Ground Beef

Canning Meat ? Yes!

Using Tattler Lids for meat canning


Home canning meat, especially ground beef, is a simple process.  The canning of meat is unlike acidic tomatoes because you will need to use pressure canner.  Pressure canning beef is the only safe way to do it, since water bath canning does not get to a high enough temperature to keep meat (and other nonacidic foods) safe.  

 We had a meat sale here at the local grocery store, and I wanted to try to duplicate the results from Patrice Lewis’ post about Tattler reuseable canning lids on her blog on meat canning.  I highly recommend getting grass fed meat where you can, but for this post I am just using the prepackaged grocery store fare.

ground beef sale


In full disclosure, I used 6 lbs ground beef because it was what was on sale—Patrice Lewis used ground beef because,

 “ . . . it’s meat, so it requires a high processing time in a pressure canner. And, it’s greasy and nasty and would thus put the maximum amount of stress on the lids.”

Agreed!  Since onions were also on sale (“genius!”) I chopped up two onions into chunks and put them right into the pot.  The onion outer skin (along with any other vegetable scraps in our house) goes out to the compost bin.  


chopped onions


I added salt and pepper to taste as well as parsley.  How much parsley?  Well to quote my Italian aunt, “There is no such thing as too much parsley.” 


seasoned for browning

There are many canning recipes for meat, but I prefer to keep this one simple especially when I am trying to get everything prepared for winter.  After browning the meat, I load it into the canning jars with 1 ½” head space.  It is best to use the hot pack method when home canning meat and fill any remaining space with boiling water up to the 11/2” head space mark.. 

meat packed in jars


In the interest of saving time, I am also prepping the All-American pressure canner with the lid off by warming up the water in the bottom of it.  We personally use the venerable All American Model 921 pressure canner/cooker.  It has the all metal seal and is built to be used for years and years.  Anyone who is apprehensive about the rubber bullet (aka “pressure bomb” canners) that make up the bulk of the horror stories/urban legends revolving around pressure canner mishaps will be amazed at the engineering, craftsmanship and ease of use of the All American brand pressure canners.  I fully intend to leave mine to my children as an heirloom because it is built that well.  Did I mention that it is made in America?

For home meat canning, I recommend the Tattler Reusable Canning Lids.  They work just as well as the lids that you can buy at the grocery or hardware store, but these are reusable and are American made.   They stay in place well and the grease does not prevent a seal under the lids quite like it does with the metal ones.   I put them in hot water for a few minutes before use.  One question we get about the Tattler lids is, “Do I have to heat them up before I use them?”  My answer remains the same, “I can with everything hot.”  My lids, gaskets, canner, water, jars and what I am canning are all hot for safety reasons.


 The instructions are printed right on the box and are easy to follow.  Here is a pictorial:

 Tattler lids and rings


 I religiously wipe off the rims of the jars before putting the lids on the canning jar.

  wipe off the rim


Apply the lids and rings.  Following the directions on the box, the Tattler lids new instructions call for you to screw the lids finger tight—that is it.  If you have any problems with these lids, it will be from omitting this step.  If you screw them on too tightly, it does not allow air to escape.

finger tight


Then put the jars into the canner—simple.  Note: the spacer at the bottom of the canner.  The All American pressure canners come with a very good manual that Chaya and I have read and re-read a dozen times and have out on hand whenever we can (or “jar” if you will). 


Jars in the Canner



Follow the directions for your pressure canner and bring the unit up to boiling.  For our All American Model 921 we wait seven minutes then apply the weight on the top spout.  Note: without the weight, the canner is an “open system” and is not any different from any other pot with a tight fitting lid that you may already own.  We live just over 2000’ altitude and can everything at 15 lbs of pressure. 


Safety tip: When putting the weight on top, please use an oven mitt;

the steam emitted from the canner can burn you.


put weight on with an oven mit


After processing for 90 minutes we now have four jars or just slightly short of 6 lbs of ground beef  perfectly sealed under the Tattler lids.  Since these are made of BPA free plastic they do not have the quintessential “ping” sound as they seal under the ambient atmospheric pressure.  However, if you look at them from the side you can see if they are sealed or not.  Chaya applies the “wiggle test”.  She uses her thumb on the lid to see if it will push or give.  If it does not budge, it is sealed.   I have very few failures with Tattler lids.  And I can pinpoint them to user error—either over-screwing on the ring, or failing to screw the ring on tightly afterwards, etc.  If the lids are good enough for meat canning, then they are certainly good enough to can your other foods as well.


Jars of Properly Canned Beef


Once the jars are removed from the canner I prefer to let them set undisturbed.  An old tip from days gone by is to flip the jars upside down; this seems to be controversial to some.  I have done it both ways with success both ways.

 Before I called this done, I removed the rings and washed the jars gently with dish soap because they will likely be greasy to the touch and have grease especially around the ring . 

 If you are new to canning, or just like to watch someone who really knows what they are doing with canning please visit  It is run by Sharon who is a good friend to Pantry Paratus.  Whether you have been canning for a day or a decade you can get some very good information from her website. 

 Regarding the finished product: “Oh look at the fat, isn’t that gross?” 

 My answer—“Not really.”  What is in the jar, is what was with the ground beef (20% fat as packaged—I did not add any oil during the process); after the temperature cooled with the cooked product in a clear jar you can now see it. 

 Despite the typical body composition of today’s average process food fed person, if food becomes hard to get, one of the hardest items to get into your diet will be fat. Having your own animals to produce this resource that every healthy body metabolism needs may be the only reliable way to get this into your regular diet.  Store bought industrial processed seed ois wil not last long, go rancid after awhile depending on temperature and humidity and are horrible for you.  JWR has had great results deep freezing olive oil for up to five years.  

Canning meat at home is not hard, anyone can do it.  I recommend having the right tools, and for that it starts with the right pressure canner and quality lids.  Leave a comment if you like on canning meat at your place–we would love to hear from you. 


Pro Deo et Patria


 Pressure canning done in the proper way is safe, but if you do not follow the instructions of your canner, then you will run the risk of serious injury.  We sell, personally use and recommend the All-American pressure canner because it is very well constructed, reliable and very safe—when used properly.

What I Put Into My Bread–The “Why”

bread with seeds

Bread Ingredients


The Role of Each Ingredient in the Final Product


I would like to explain what each of the ingredients does and how it interacts in my bread recipe.  Once you understand this, it is easy to modify a recipe and make it your own.  Perhaps you avoid eggs, or want a product with less gluten, etc.  If you understand the interplay of these ingredients, you can make substitutions, and create your own variant.

 I prefer to start with natural ingredients as much as possible.  I will mill my own flour before I get started to ensure that I have the highest nutrient density in my family’s bread.  Where possible, I highly recommend pastured eggs.  The Omega 3 is clear to see in the bright yellow yolks—bugs and sunshine make the best eggs!  Lastly, if you can use filtered water you will get better performance with your recipe ingredients (and you will not miss the Chlorine). 

pitcher of water

Water—Beyond joining the bread ingredients, water temperature is very important for activating yeast.  You want your water to be approximately 110-155˚F.  Again, filtered water is going to give the best results. 

 Altitude is another consideration on how much water you need to add to your recipe.  Higher altitudes are dryer climates (lower boiling point for water) and will require a higher ratio of water to the dry ingredients.  My recipe worked for me at both sea level in North Carolina and at 3,000 ft here in Montana . . . however I have to use a slightly higher water-to-flour ratio here at 3,000 ft.  When I tried to bake bread at 7,000 ft in Colorado Springs, my low altitude recipe failedClick here for a tested high altitude bread recipe.

  olive oil

Oil—Next to flour, the quality of the oil has the most direct effect on the quality your bread, both in flavor and in nutrition.  I almost exclusively use olive oil, because when you examine the finished product, you will know the recipe by ingredients used to make it.  It is this fat content that makes a tender and moist baked good.  The fat interacts with the strands of gluten to shorten (why we call them “shorteners”) the length of the gluten strands.  This allows the gases more freedom of movement so that your baked goods are more “airy”.  Egg yolks also help serve this purpose.


Honey—I always add the oil first so that the honey will slide out of the same measuring cup without mess or waste.  Traditional cookbook recipes just use plain white sugar, which is good for plain white bread.  But why, when you can take your bread from “boring” to “rich”?  Honey within itself is the original antibiotic—it is extremely healthy for your immune system, it is easily digestible.  Yes, it is one of the more expensive items on the ingredients list—but if you did a blind taste test between two loaves of bread, you would know which one had the honey.  I have baked with a variety of sweeteners over the years, to include agave nectar, stevia, and molasses.  I find that the honey has the least finicky response in the recipe and is the most versatile.

flax seeds

Flax Seed—this is a completely optional  in my list of recipe ingredients, but one I choose for the Omega 3 fatty acids.  I know that it is difficult (depending upon your geography) to fill your diet with excellent seafood.  If you do not grind the flax seed, you are basically only getting the fiber and the rest of the nutrition passes through undigested.  It is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. If you grind it in a coffee grinder (you can typically pick one up cheaply for about $10.00 at a box store or pharmacy store) that you have reserved only for your herbs and seeds, you will get many precious phytochemicals in your bread.  Flax, like other seed grains, has a lot of antioxidants, including lignans. 

We like to use bread for sandwiches, but I commonly hear the complaint that homemade bread can crumble too much for this use.  Here’s a great trick:  grind your flax seed and add a tablespoon of water to it and let it sit in a bowl for a minute before adding it to your dough.  It will work as a binder–just like egg–and will help hold your bread together even while giving you the great nutritional benefit of flax.

 soy lecithin


Lecithin—This one ingredient single-handedly transformed my early breads to something edible.  I did not know WHY back then.  Since then I have learned that it is considered a health supplement for its ability to break down fats, to improve memory, and for its promotion of healthy gall bladder functioning.  It lowers cholesterol and has been linked to improving women’s reproductive health.  In cooking, it is used as an emulsifier to prevent sticking (such as what you find in a cooking spray and chocolate). It provides a tenderness and (perhaps the most important thing of all), it extends the shelf life of the bread!  I get several more days at room temperature out of my bread with lecithin, than the bread I have made omitting this ingredient.  “Lecithin” is a generic term that can mean any emulsifier and it can be made from many sources.  Although I typically avoid soy due to the GMO factor these days, I have used soy lecithin in my bread in the past.  You can live without this ingredient, but its shelf life extension, texture improvement, and health benefits make this one you need to weigh personally. 

Now that I’ve mentioned all the benefits and how I never baked without it in the early years, I must fess up and tell you I do not use it now.  I can “read” my bread dough better with years of experience and don’t need the lecithin to help hold it together for me any more.  I do have some on my shelf but I rarely reach for it now.



Salt—I have forgotten it more than once.  Your bread is flavorless without it, entirely.  I have also overdosed on it, and that makes the bread inedible at best.   Salt also tempers the effect of the yeast; you usually realize you have forgotten the salt when your bread will not stop rising!  Stick with sea salt if you can; it greatly enhances the flavor and nutrition of your bread.  It makes it something richer.

 Palouse Flour


Flour—The single most important of all the ingredients, which is why I only use home-milled flours because of the marked health benefits.  Store bought flours, even the gourmet ones, have had to strip some of the nutrients out in order to give it shelf life.  Flours in the frozen section maintain most of the nutrition but freezer life will take its toll on that as well.  Milling your own flour is easy, affordable, and the most nutrient dense way to bake bread.  You can substitute bean and other flours (chickpea, for example) for some of the wheat, but do not go over 25% (you will likely need to add gluten) of the entire flour content or it will not rise properly. 

 Not all wheat is the same.  “Hard” wheat has higher gluten and is best for yeast breads.  “Soft” has lower gluten and better for lighter baking products like cake that use other rising methods, such as egg yolk, baking powder, and baking soda which also appear in quick breads.

 Hard Red—this has the dark, wheaty flavor.  I started with Hard White and began adding this in slowly.  This can be an acquired taste, now I love it!  Hard Red wheat responds very well to yeast recipe breads. 

Hard White—Less wheaty flavor.  Very tasty, excellent to use in yeast products.

Soft White—This is the best for quick breads, cookies, baking items with lighter structures.  I sometimes mix some in with bread flours for yeast bread, but never more than 10-25% of the total flour. 

Durum—This is your pasta wheat!  Very tasty and you will see a difference, but in a pinch, use soft white instead. 

Spelt—This is delicious and versatile wheat substitute.  You can use it in both breads and quick breads.  Some people who have sensitivity to wheat breads do well with this flour.




Eggs—This is the binder in your bread.  I have tried to live without them and I have tasted several loaves from other bakers without it and I come to the same conclusion every time—use eggs (even better, get your own chickens)!  The bread crumbles more easily without it—so if you want sandwich bread you cannot skip this step.  You might want to play with how many you use.  Eggs also provide another source of healthy fat for your bread, which helps lighten the overall texture. 

 There are likely thousands or even tens or thousands of bread recipes across the world, but each one will differ based on the ingredients.  The food science is the same though, so choosing recipe ingredients that are fresh, quality and wholesome will yield a superior product.  If you come across a recipe that you want to modify, you can as long as you which bread ingredients do what and why.  If you come across any ingredients that I did not mention here, please leave a comment below and let me know what you like to see in your bread recipe.





Photo Credits:

Pitcher of water  http:/

 Oil  http:/

Honey  http:/

Salt  http:/

 Eggs  http:/





Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice.  You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes.  Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.


Homemade Bread Recipe–Pantry Paratus Style

Bread in Oven

 Pantry Paratus bread with infused olive oil

Pantry Paratus Style


This is my personal homemade bread recipe; I hope you enjoy it.  I use this dough for many purposes as it is the base for herbed breads, rolls, hamburger buns, stuffed loaves—YUM. 

 Bread in Norpro Nonstick Pans

I have worked with this recipe for bread over the years and am confident with it.  It also continues to evolve from time to time.   Get creative, and leave a comment below telling me what you have tried and how you have modified it to fit your family’s needs.  If you need a high altitude version click here.

If you avoid all soy, skip the lecithin.  Use it if you want to give your bread a longer shelf life or if you have had problems with the bread being too crumbly in the past (and you had difficulty using it for sandwiches).   If you want to skip the soy but troubleshoot crumbly bread, consider grinding flax seed and letting it soak in a tablespoon of water for a minute–it will serve well as a binder.

Recipe for Whole Wheat Bread

 Yields:  three loaves in 10’’ pans

  • 4 cups warm water (leftover water from boiling potatoes is great)
  • 3 tablespoons yeast
  • ½ cup flax seed, ground (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons lecithin (optional; if omitted, consider 3rd egg as a binder)
  • ¼ cup gluten (recommended but optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 14-17 cups hard red or hard white flour (I use 15 cups at 3,000 ft altitude, average weather)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Pull out all ingredients and have them handy to speed up the process and cut down on the mess.

 I Crack my eggs into a separate bowl, stir, and let them warm to room temperature for best results.


  Step 1: Add yeast to warm water (approx. 110-115 degrees) and proof to ensure the yeast is viable.  Add oil and honey (oil allows the honey to pour easily from your measuring cup).  Let this sit until you see bubbling yeast activity. 

 Step 2:  Stir in flax, gluten, lecithin, salt, and eggs. 

 Step 3:   Add flour.  If you want to proof your flour (to lower the Phytic acid content) do this now by only adding 5-10 cups of the flour, stirring, and letting it sit as desired.  Otherwise, add all the flour you can still stir.  I recommend that you mill flour fresh for highest nutritional values.

 Step 4: Oil or flour your work surface.  Dump your flour out onto the table, adding the rest of the flour.  Remember to oil your hands to eliminate sticking as you knead the dough. 

 Step 5: Knead the dough approximately 10-12 minutes (I sing through “The Lord’s Prayer” twice), or until the dough is soft to the touch, firm and yet still pliable.  Avoid adding too much flour during the kneading process—it is a common mistake that can make your bread dry. 

 Step 6: Place the dough back into the bowl and cover.  Let sit for one hour.  If you have a cold kitchen, remove the trays from your Excalibur dehydrator and proof the bread in there at approximately 80°.

 Step 7: Punch down your dough to release the gases.  Then form into loaves with the seam down and place into the greased or floured bread pans.  Lightly oil and add seeds if desired.

 Step 8: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

 Step 9: Cover your loaves again and let them sit for 15-30 minutes longer (not necessary at higher altitudes). 

 Step 10: Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Check for even browning and rotate if needed (every oven is different).  If they brown too quickly, cover with foil for the first half of baking.  

 I also did a separate blog entry to give the why every ingredient appears in the wheat bread recipe, some science behind the reactions and what happens if you omit or substitute an ingredient.  Bread baking is so much fun, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

For best nutrition results, use a whole wheat bread recipe like this one to ensure that you are getting the healthiest results.  Flour that you mill at home has superior nutrition to the dead flour that you buy on the shelf at the grocery store. 

Bread in Oven

Bread in Oven

High altitude tip:  I thought that I knew how to bake bread until I tried it at my best friend’s house in Colorado Springs.  If your altitude is anything higher than approximately 2,000 ft, you might find you need to add more moisture to your bread dough, adjust your rise time, and adjust your cooking time. Try this high altitude bread recipe variant.

If you would like to see a video of this bread recipe, simply sign up for our news letter and you will receive a video link in your email walking you through step by step.  I recently had tasted someone’s second loaf of bread (ever) that she made after watching my video-and it came out great! 

If anyone modifies this specific recipe, or if you have another bread recipe altogether,  please leave a comment.  I would love to hear what works for you!


Bread with Frontier Sesame Seeds





Task Oriented

Produce, Prepare, & Preserve Your Harvest

Somewhere along the way, I’ve become task-oriented.  I have always appreciated hard work and the ability to crash asleep from a day’s accomplishments.  I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself beyond even my own boundary of capabilities; to know that I did something I didn’t know was possible.

In spite of these qualities, I was not always task-oriented.  I love people by nature and could easily pine away an afternoon at a coffee shop or bookstore with a dear friend.  And I’d ask if they’d like to meet there again tomorrow.

friends over coffee

Goodness, I could pine away that same afternoon quite contentedly by myself, enjoying my own solitude with my calligraphy pen or banjo.  Even at the bookstore, I enjoy the alone-time. Perhaps it would be an adventure; a conversation with a stranger or perhaps I’d witness an event in the peripheral that I’d otherwise miss—like that young couple falling in love but not admitting it yet, or that creative little girl trying to win her mother over to her brilliant idea of giving her what she wants.  Yes, I people watch. Even more than these, a rainy afternoon calls my name; the book and tea await my arrival.

tea and a book

I still love every one of these things.  But along with these things, I now find that my “To Accomplish” list (doesn’t that sound better than “to-do”?) grows longer with every checked item.  I think chores breed chores.  The list within itself can contain a certain drudgery—as the rainy afternoons mount this time of year and the Book List grows with every radio program interview I overhear.

But yet the items on the list itself…these give me great joy.  After all, would they find their way to my list if there was not some merit to be gained?  My list today is no shorter than usual—zucchini must be processed, and so must the pears and apples.

Produce, Prepare, & Preserve Your Harvest

Apples to process

A dear friend gave me a precious bag of elderberries yesterday—I must start the tincture so it will be ready before the flu season comes! The mending in the corner is nearly toppling.  What of my son’s homeschooling curriculum—school is approaching and I haven’t yet decided our year!

Do they bring stress?  The stress is found within the urgency and the notion of prioritizing them, yes.  But knowing that I’m working for my family, that I’m modeling self sufficiency for my children, that I’m teaching basic life skills, that I’m encouraging an emphasis on family life and charity—these are my big picture.  Above all of this,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)

I just wanted to pop this quick reminder your way…remember the big picture today!




friends over coffee

tea and a book