News for the ‘bread’ Category

Nice Buns and Booking

That’s right.  You look at those and you say to yourself, “Wow Nate, nice buns.”

I’ve been baking a lot lately, challenging the quotable Jesus, “Man cannot live on bread alone.”  I’m also trying to drop a few winter pounds.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Our camera’s been on the fritz and I know photos are essential to tricking people into reading so I’ve put off blogging for awhile.  But now with a shot of my nice buns (the joke never gets old) I can see that you’ve been sucked into my typographical vortex.  Suckers.  I mean fan base.  And Mom.

In my wordy absence I’m happy to announce I’ve got some great shows coming up in the next few months.  For all the details checkout the Tour Page.  For highlights:

The end of this month I’ll be on the bill with a veritable cornucopia of Lutheran artists as part of Lutheran Songs Today Live!  I successfully weaseled my way on to this tour by co-writing a song with Jonathan Rundman.  Yay for Nate!

In April I’ll be in the Fargo Moorhead area – I’ve got some openings in that schedule – book me!

And in June I’ll be on (drumroll) Bike Tour!  That’s right, I’ve got two confirmed dates and a couple in the hopper.  I tried doing a bike tour last year and it didn’t quite pan out.  It was my bike tour by car tour.  For this tour I’ll be playing at churches and coffee shops.  For those of you tiring of liturgical Nate, this is your chance to hear me get my folk on.

And at the end of June I’ve been invited to join the Wild Goose festival in NC.  For those of you sick of my folky side heres your chance to hear us get our liturgy on.

These are some pretty sweet shows and I’m honored and yes, giddy, that I get to play them.

Till then, lets have one more laugh together.

Nice buns.

Posted: February 10th, 2011
Categories: bike, bread, music
Comments: 1 Comment.


Our Vanagon is changing our life.  This isn’t actually ours, but it’s identical to the one we own that is resting in our garage.  Hopefully not in a final resting sort of way.  I had no idea when we bought this thing how much koolaid we were sipping into.  It’s a Vanagon cult out there people!  Nor did we do much homework on this thing.  It was cheap, we had savings (note use of past tense), we had dreams, it was time!  And now?  Our dreams are changing.  And yes, this Vanagon is changing our life.  (I’m using the singular in the sense of the life of our family – just in case you were wondering.)

I’m an independent type that relies heavily on community.  My interests fit that well.  Writing songs is solo – performing songs is communal.  Working on bikes -for me- is solo.  Riding bikes is communal.  Baking bread, solo.  Braking bread, communal.  I think there is the same sort of independent/communal dichotomy to the Vanagon as well.  I was hoping to jump into the communal aspect without the independent time.  But it looks like the new dream is learning how to replace head gaskets.  Or more accurately, learning what and where the head gasket is.  Then we’ll dream of replacing it.  Same with CV joints and starters.  It might get into some body repair too.

Admittedly I’m bummed that it’s going to take this much time and energy to get out there and join the community. As much as I love (and this is not sarcasm) riding down sloppy snowy streets with my guitar on my xtracyle,  today is one of those days a second car would be nice.

So we spend some time alone in the garage, or with a notebook and pen, or flour salt oil sugar yeast, or in bed, and we work on these dreams and join the community.

On second thought maybe its not such a dichotomy – maybe there’s more overlap then I realize.  Maybe the community of vanagon forums will allow my independence to thrive.  Just as listeners and neighbors and family allow me to write, tinker, and bake.  Dichotomy was the wrong word.  I’m not so sure you can separate the individual from the community that  succinctly.  It’s way more messy than that.

Coincidentally, based on the Vanagon community’s input, so is replacing head gaskets.

Posted: December 7th, 2010
Categories: bike, bread, friendship
Comments: No Comments.


julekakeJulekake.  Because Norwegians need more butter and sugar in their diet.  I was going to make stollen to embrace my German roots as well but yesterday started with caramel rolls and Jodi put a moratorium on sweet breads.

Posted: December 25th, 2009
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

Sweet Jesus

I often make the communion bread for our church and I really enjoy doing this.  Usually I make small round wheat loaf.  I think this reflects my view of Jesus for the most part – simple and good for you.  But since today is the first Sunday of Easter I thought I’d make a more celebratory loaf so I searched for Easter breads and sweet breads and found this recipe:  I left out the raisans and mace and didn’t glaze it.  As tasty as that sounded I thought it was probably enough of a theological leap to through in the lemon zest.  So tonight as we gathered around the table we broke the bread.  Our’s is a chuch with an open table – meaning all are welcome to take part in the bread and wine/body and blood.  And generally if there is bread left over after church it is consumed at the weekly pot luck.  So the kids that come up to the table, like my 2 year old daughter Elsa, apparently don’t realize the difference in the meal as part of the service and the potluck after the meal.  I say apparently because Elsa kept sneaking back up to the table and grabbing more bread.  And more bread.  And more bread.  My wife Jodi was busy with serving communion, and I was playing guitar and I don’t think we realized it right away.  (As I’m writing this I realize I haven’t really ever blogged about the church we go to – it’s called Humble Walk, Jodi is the pastor and I often help lead singing – there’s your context for this story – if you want to know more about the church you should come and see – sunday nights at 4:30, potluck at 5:30ish – randolph and w. 7th in the Pilney building in St. Paul MN.  There, I’ve blogged about our church.  Done.)  Anyway, this story just got long and boring, sooorrrrrry.  So we sang accapella, I picked up Elsa, she put up a fight, but it all worked out.

Point of the story?  Passive reader:  huh.  long boring story.  Practical reader:  Don’t make the bread too good, or people will get all 1 Cor. 11 on you.  Emergent Theologian Reader:  What is the difference between the meal during the service and the meal after the service?  Should the two become one?  Let’s deconstruct it!  Better yet, Betray It!  And rather than ‘Emergent Theologian Reader’, could you please refer to us as “an (un)named group struggling to understand this god thing in a time of highly valued skepticism and doubt using literary means in the context of a pre/post variant model of (on)going antiquity?”

Justin, why’d you have to turn me on to Rollins?  That dude’s too smart for his own (brit)ches.  And I thank you.

Posted: April 12th, 2009
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

Pizza Night

You should have pizza night.  I myself could have pizza night every night, provided I had plenty of bean burrito lunch options.  I think I could feasibly live on bean burritos and pizza for a very long time.  Until I was 80.  Than I’d probably want to start introducing more into my diet.

We at Operation Houge have adopted a Friday night pizza night policy for the last who knows how long and it’s been good.  Sometimes we pick up pizza from places like Papa Murphy’s or Papa John’s.  We used to order from KNX up the street but they kept switching hands and I’m not sure what the place is called anymore or how to get a hold of them.  We’ve got the Pizza Factory around the corner at Skinners which is pretty good, they don’t skimp on the cheese that’s for sure.  If I’m out of town Jodi will sneak a frozen pizza into our oven.  But generally 90 percent of the time we make our own pizza.  I think making your own crust is the most intimidating part so let’s talk about that.

Proper Nate’s Pizza Recipe.

1 1/2 cups warm water (put your finger in it, if your finger’s happy it’s probably about right)

1 tsp. yeast. 

1 1/2 Tbl. Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tbl. Honey

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups wheat flour

2-3 cups white flour

Before I bore with details, allow me to sum everything up:

Combine.  Knead.  Rise.  Flatten.  Top.  Bake.  Eat.

Or in more rambling detail:  Dump everything except for the white flour into a bowl.  Mix it up.  Add white flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a nice not to firm dough.  If your mixing it up with a wooden spoon and it’s all stuck to the spoon and no longer to the sides of the bowl you’re probably pretty close.  At this point toss some flour on your hands and on the counter, dump the dough out and knead it for 5-8 minutes.  If it’s getting crazy sticky try adding more flour to your hands before adding it to the dough, only because I think a wet dough makes a better pizza crust.  I could be wrong.  You could be the one to prove me as such.

All right.  Let it rise for about 45 minutes.  Generally I clean out the mixing bowl, put a little olive oil in it, put the dough in there, turn it over to coat it, cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and stick it in the unheated oven.  Then I put a bowl of hot, straight off the boil, water in the oven with it.  That usually works well in our drafty kitchen.

Okay.  Your dough rose.  Good job.  Take it out of the oven and preheat the oven to 425.

Now punch it down and divide it into four pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Flatten the ball, toss it up in the air, use a rolling pin, work it out on a cookie sheet.  Any of those or combinations of those seem to work to make your crust.  It’ll be about 12″ round.  One tip I’ve appreciated:  When you get to the part where you’re working it out on the cookie sheet put a wet dishrag between the pan and the counter to keep your pan from wiggling all over the place.

I have two round pans so what I do is make the first pizza – usually just sauce and cheese to appease the youngins – and put it in the oven on the upper rack for 6 minutes.  While that gets going I get the second pizza ready.  When my 6 minutes is up I slide the top pizza off of the pan onto the lower rack to get a nice crispy crust and put the next pizza on the top rack.  From sliding that first pizza off of its pan I can get the next pizza going.  Watch the times on this because every oven is different and because all the opening and closing of the oven door does a number on the consistency of heat.  For the most part though this becomes a pretty fluid process.  I actually set my timer (which I recently discovered also works as a cellular phone) for 5 minutes to account for the transfer time and to make sure I don’t burn anything.  Too much.  Also if you’re pizza doesn’t want to slide off the pan onto the bottom rack don’t force it, it needs more time.  If you do force it you’ll end up with a big clump of pizza ingredients dripping through the rack onto the bottom of your oven.  At least that’s what I’m guessing would happen….

See how simple that was?  Tune in next time for tips on topping.

Posted: March 31st, 2009
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

Holy Family, Bread of Life


A crushing blow for the holy family. 

I have a writing deadline to meet.  I have a show to practice for.  So I made this bread.  Part procrastination, part soothing meditation.  Now I’m prepared to get some work done.  But what just showed up on my doorstep?  A new pickup for my Danelectro and a Bigsby for my Telecaster.  I know neither of these things should be rushed through but it’s taking all my will power not to take both my guitars apart right now and try to install this stuff before 6 o’clock load in…

I’ll make some espresso, slice into the bread, and give it a good thought.

Best of luck Nate, best of luck.

Posted: December 16th, 2008
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

Bread for the best journey ever.

This is the most beautiful loaf of bread I have yet to bake.  It’s a sour dough from a wild yeast starter.  A starter that is by my own fault no more.  But this is what came out of the oven after a month of nurturing and 2 days of kneading and rising.  The crust was all crackly and crisp, the crumb exactly what you’d expect of a sourdough, and the texture all chewy and brilliant. 

big bread


Posted: November 11th, 2008
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

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