Okay, it’s not exactly a “new” kitchen. But it feels new, and it looks new. And more importantly, it feels distinctly homey and comfortable now!
I had four leftover pieces of v-plank from my autumn tack room project down at the horse barn. I have been intending to rip off the old kitchen backsplash, which was just some ugly commercial grade stuff that has an affinity for grease. Once grease spattered on it, there was no cleaning it off. But since it was ugly to begin with, cleaning it was not my intention.
So although I’ve been thinking about this project since last fall, I started to take advantage of the monsoon-season rains that have delayed the arena fencing project to do some “inside” work. It took me half an hour on two subsequent days to give the leftover v-plank a couple coats of semi-gloss barn red paint, then two more days to cut and install it, install gang box extenders at the outlets and lightswitches to safely raise them level with the paneling, and finally, caulk any seams that might get wet and swell the wood paneling.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best part of the project, but it’s certainly a bonus that having leftover v-plank and leftover paint brought this project to a total cost of just over $11. Yes, seriously. $5 for gang box extenders (I had a $5 off coupon for the Ace Hardware) and it was $6+ with tax for the clear silicone kitchen caulk.
Just that little change has made a huge change in making our home feel more like we think a home should a feel. It’s a huge blessing! And I had fun doing the project. I find that finish carpentry is extremely satisfying, and I’m hoping to be able to put some of those skills to work as our church renovates a small factory to make a community building that will be a real help to our entire county – including … DRUMROLL … a coffeehouse/wireless internet cafe. I know – it may seem silly, but the internet access is really needed in our rural county, and I need the coffee house! There isn’t a single coffee shop closer than a thirty-five minute drive. I’m deprived, right? LOL! Hey, a girl’s gotta have her little comforts to be happy!
So in honor of my new kitchen, and because a Small Home Farm Radio listener asked me for it, here’s the recipe I use for Five Minute Artisan Bread that I mentioned on Episode 25 of the show. Do note that this is not my recipe. It’s really all over the internet, and I believe it came out of the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois if I’m not mistaken.
Five-Minute Artisan Bread
Each loaf Serves 4
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.
- 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour or bread flour, plus extra for dusting dough
- Cornmeal or baking spray
In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.
Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)
When ready to bake, you can either: sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes. Or… just preheat your oven to 450 degrees before baking, and use baking spray or sprinkled cornmeal on a baking sheet instead of a pizza peel.
Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it’s not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.
Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel or baking pan and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day’s storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.
Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone or into oven on cookie sheet. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.