The Bees Say Spring is Here

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see several swarms today. It’s warm, and the sun came out for a bit after all of the rain. They are extremely loud today, buzzing about, and they have a unique sound (to my ears, Jim doesn’t hear it) when a hive is about to swarm.

I had my sneakers on or I would have gone into the orchard for some close ups… it’s a swamp out there right now.

With the grocery stores being out of everything, I’m ever so happy to have a grain mill, and have been happily baking the last few days.

I do use a fair amount of white flour in my typical daily sourdough loaf. There is none in my blueberry muffins and I have plenty of grain stored. I don’t keep much white flour around as it will go rancid unless frozen, and my freezer is usually full of berries and veggies, nuts and seeds.

My typical, easy to make sourdough loaf goes like this.

50 grams 100% hydration fully active rye starter
380 grams water
150 grams whole grain flour, usually a mixture
100 grams all purpose flour (KAF)
250 grams bread flour (KAF)
10 grams salt

The day before, I feed my sourdough starter as soon as I wake up. I typically only store 10-15 grams of starter in the fridge, and I feed it up to whatever amount I need, with enough left over to put 10-15 grams back in the fridge. No discard this way.

Early the same evening, I make my dough by whisking the 50 grams of starter with the water, then stirring in the remaining ingredients, just enough to make sure the flour is all incorporated.

I cover that and let it rest for an hour, then do a set of stretch and folds. Repeat twice more, an hour apart, then cover and let it bulk ferment on the counter overnight.

In the morning, I shape my dough, let it rise until not quite doubled, slash it, and bake it in a covered, preheated dutch oven at 450 degrees for 45-55 minutes. I pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees, but reduce to 450 when I put the bread in. Always let it cool completely before slicing it, or you will ruin the crumb on a sourdough loaf.

It’s a very basic loaf that’s easy to add flavors too. This morning’s bake had roasted potatoes and rosemary added, the loaf I made a couple of days ago had walnuts and golden raisins (soaked and drained) added.

I will probably bake a steady supply of blueberry muffins for a while, as they don’t take any white flour, they’re healthy, and I need to make room in our freezer for this year’s crop of berries.

I’ve been freezing quite a few of our eggs as well, in case there is a meat shortage, eggs will suffice nicely for protein. And of course, I can make pasta with eggs and grain. I use these nifty silicone molds (affiliate link) and the eggs pop right out once frozen. Into ziplocks and the freezer they go!

Are you rationing any supplies? It might not be a bad idea!

CJ Tinkle

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Diana S Snyder

    How do YOU freeze eggs? I usually break open and prick the yolk, is that what you do? I am always open to finding better ways to do things. Thanks, diana in Illinois

    1. tinksquared

      I just crack them into these silicone molds https://amzn.to/2w8XjXe and freeze. No pricking the yolk. They slide right out of the molds and I put them in ziplock bags.

  2. rogershomekeeping

    What percentage of your bees survive each winter? Would love to see a post about your beekeeping.

    1. tinksquared

      Roger, math is my nemesis 😁. We typically go into winter with around 30 hives each year, and lose anywhere from 5-10. We have a very relaxed approach. No medications. We do spring feed now, but didn’t use to. We let the bees swarm naturally and let them raise their own queens.

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.