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Honey, I'm cooking!

A gray and rainy day here at Saffron and Honey Homestead! Too wet to do anything outdoors, to early in the day to not do anything at all.

A perfect day for cooking!

I took care of some bone broth in the fridge that needed packing and parted up a turkey into couple-sized portions and threw them in the freezer. I also did the few dishes handing around from yesterday's work-a-thon and clean the counters. That left me with some space to work with!

One of our goals here is to eventually do our cooking using only honey as a sweetener. Not only will it be another step to eating completely local, but it is healthier for us in the long run. Honey is easier for the body to digest, has antioxidants and acts as a natural sedative for those of us who sometimes have trouble unwinding.

Unfortunately, we don't have our hives in yet but as some of you may remember from a past blog entry, the local bees left us a gift in the barn when we moved in!

So today, a jar of the lovely sweet stuff was turned in to bread and... well... let's save that for a surprise!

The bread is Challa which is a very light, fluffy bread made with honey and eggs. The recipe generally calls for white flour but in the past I have experimented with mixing half and half, white and wheat. While the taste is still wonderful - and it's probably a little less bad for us - nothing quite beats the texture of that original, airy version!

I use the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it has been wonderful every time. I highly recommend the book period by the way! It's has some great recipes for beginners, advanced or the intermediate group (aka - me).

Challa is a braided bread, which honestly might be the hardest part of the recipe. Mine is still occasionally a little lop-sided, but no one has ever complained! It is also a very sticky bread before baking, so for tonight the dough will be sitting in the fridge. Tomorrow it will sit out to rise a second time and then go in the oven. This batch will probably make 4-5 loaves and the dough also freezes well.

Now, on to desert. This is far from a perfected recipe, but I'm working in it, and I've learned some valuable lessons on the way. Ready?

Yup! Honey-based dark chocolates! I'm working to develop a recipe with various sweetness levels (for various taste buds), all natural ingredients and eventually some varied flavors.

Also on the list of future recipes to try is a Russian honey cake recipe I found and a homemade whipped cream with honey and cinnamon. Yum!

I will keep you up to date!

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