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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lotion Part 2 and Baking Bread

Hi everyone, new to the blog and my trusty old friends alike.  It has been a busy couple of weeks leading up to the Holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. I have been hard at work experimenting with making homemade all natural lotions and baking bread. In my last post, I made lotion bars. They are really nice for rubbing on your elbows, knees and heels ladies. Well men too, if they want. You can also rub them back and forth between your hands and they warm enough for you to rub the lotion into your hands.  It is the ingredients that make them hard. The Beeswax, coco butter and coconut oil are all hard in their natural state. This past week, I have been working with different ratios of adding olive oil to the mixture in order to create a softer lotion that could be scooped out of a jar or put into a pump bottle type of dispenser. 

The recipe that I came up with and tried out on my friend Andrea and my mother, seemed to work the best. It is thick but could be thinned out with more olive oil. The beginning is a bit greasy compared to the chemical laden store bought alternatives but this quickly absorbs into your skin leaving no residue, only soft skin and a nice scent. 

I used:
1oz of beeswax
¼ cup of Olive Oil
½ a cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of coco butter
For scent, I used sweet orange and tea tree essential oils. I used 20 drops of orange and 3 of the tea tree but feel free to customize your scents.
*The mixture needs to be stirred constantly as it cools so I also used a mason jar. 

In a pan of boiling water, put a glass mason jar.  Add your beeswax first to the mason jar and let that melt down. At this point it is important to mention, do not let water get into your mason jar. The water will aid in breaking down your ingredients and compromise their shelf life. This is an all-natural product and so it could become rancid far faster than oils do if water is mixed in. That being said, I then add in the coco butter and coconut oil. As those melt and come together I added in the olive oil. Once all the ingredients have become liquid and are combined, remove the jar from the boiling water and let it begin to cool. As it cooled I then added in my essential oils. This mixture needs to be continuously stirred to keep the ingredients from separating and becoming solid as they cool. I put the lid on my mason jar and just shook it up every couple of minutes. This went on for about 20 minutes as it cooled. I just held the jar in a towel because it was hot.  

An almost butter consistency
As it cooled and started to form into a semi-solid mixture, I transferred it to jars that I bought at Hobby Lobby. They have a sealed top and a little wooden spoon that is perfect for scooping.  I have to say, I love this product. I use it on my hands as well as in my hair. Just a little but smoothed away the frizz that my hair is prone too. I love it!

This morning I woke up really in the mood to make some comfort food after experimenting all week in the kitchen on non edible things. It was a cold start to the day, I was up early to take my son to meet his church youth group who were volunteering at a local homeless shelter, so why not? When I got home, I had a cup of coffee and decided to bake some bread.  This was all spur of the moment so I went with a new recipe that I kind of made up as I went.

I used:
3 cups of bread flour
 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
 1cup grated parmesan cheese
 1 tsp of salt
 1tbsp of sugar
 2 tbsp of soft butter
Beer I used
 2 tbsp of sour cream
 2 tsp of dry yeast
½ cup of beer
1/3 cup of water (check for consistency and more or less depending)  plus an additional ¼ cup of water for the yeast to bloom in.

In a separate bowl, I added the yeast and ¼ cup of warm water. Set this aside until the yeast is frothy.
I mixed the dry ingredients into my Kitchen Aide Mixture with the bread hook. I mixed the dry ingredients all together before adding anything else. 

Then to the dry I added the butter, Sharp Cheddar, sour cream and the yeast filled water. Slowly I incorporated the beer first to be sure that all the beer was used and then added water until the dough formed a mass swirling around the mixing bowl all attached to that trusty bread hook. I let this bead for 4 minutes.

In a bowl, covered with a damp cheese cloth or kitchen towel let this rise for about 45 minutes or until it doubles in size. Then punch down the dough and knead it again for a few minutes. Into a greased 9x5 loaf pan it goes and let it rise again for half an hour. This went into a preheated 350F degree oven and baked for 35 minutes. 
The bread is good. It is a dense bread and not at all light and fluffy but it is a good consistency and I like the flavor that the sour cream and beer left. The cheese all but disappears in the baking and leaves it with just the hint of flavors without any gooey-ness. Overall a nice bread for slicing and eating with butter. Yum. 

Pre-Thanksgiving dinners this week will not be elaborate meals. I am thinking beef stew tonight. Sounds good and its easy to make.

: )
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