The following is a work in progress. This is the third variation of a recipe I’ve been working with for about a year. It’s getting there. Baking is a science to some and an art to others. Sometimes I weigh, time, and check temperatures at every stage. Other times I eyeball the entire process. Don’t let the details bog you down. Bread knows how to be bread.
2 C / 300g Wheat Flour
5 C / 750g Bread Flour
1/2 C / 50g Oatmeal (uncooked)
5 T / 50g Flax seeds (raw, whole)
2 T / 30g Salt
1 T / 12g Yeast
3 C / 700g Water (room temp)
Mix Flours, Oatmeal, and Flax Seeds in a bowl.
Add the water.
Get your hand in there and bring it all together so that the dry ingredients are wet. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic bag and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Add Salt and Yeast, remove from bowl and knead for about 10 minutes.
Place back in bowl and cover with towel or plastic bag (I prefer a bag) and let rise until double. This will take 2 or so hours depending on water temp and room temp. (The last time I made this I used cold tap water and our house was chilly so it took about 3 hours.)
After it has doubled, gently push it down, rework it into a round, and place back in the bowl for a second rise. This will take about half the time of the first rise.
After it has doubled a second time, remove from the bowl and cut the dough into two equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball. Set the balls on a parchment lined or corn meal sprinkled baking sheet. Lay a towel over the top and let rise a third and final time.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
When the formed loaves have risen to nearly double use a lame, razor blade, shiv, what have you, and make a few decorative slashes in the top of your loaf.
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 375 and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for at least an hour before cutting.
That lower right one came out a bit wonky. I’ll admit I rushed these a bit because I had to get some DVD’s back to the library before it closed. But even rushed it turned out nice. I think with the next batch I’m going to add sunflower seeds and toast them with the flax seeds before adding them. The possibilities are endless folks. Let me know how yours turns out.
Bake more bread,
Posted: December 5th, 2012
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TUESDAY MORNING (the time not the place)
Though a decade has passed since my vegetarian days it has remained true that eating animals still kind of grosses me out. To overcome this I tend to eat meat in forms that least resemble its source. I’ll take a hamburger over a steak and a chicken strip over a drumstick any day. If the turkey is carved in the kitchen I have an easier time with it.
Similarly I rarely prepare meat. When I’m on the road or Jodi’s gone (as she is this week) I naturally cook vegetarian because as it turns out dead animals have blood on them. And I don’t like blood.
I think that blood and evidence of life are the root of the best arguments both for and against eating animals.
I think that I’m not interested in arguing right now so I won’t go there.
What I will say is this: Yesterday I bought a whole chicken that looks a lot like the chickens a few of my neighbors have in their backwards – except the one I bought doesn’t have feathers or a head. Or a pulse. And tonight I plan on roasting this chicken. All by myself. Me and a dead bird.
LATER THAT DAY
Here’s how it went down:
Step 1. – Find A Recipe.
I enjoy watching America’s Test Kitchen on PBS so I started here and won.
Here you have it.
In watching this video my recipe choice was confirmed when they acknowledged this recipe was created with Tuesday evenings in mind. Someday I may try it on a Wednesday or even, gasp, a Sunday. But for now the fewer variables the better.
Step 2. – Instill Responsibility/Pass The Buck.
The next step in handling this bird was trying to convince my 9 year old that she’s old enough to bake a chicken all by herself. She was not interested.
Step 3. – Follow The Recipe.
I thought this would be the crazy part. Crazy kitchen hijinks would befall me and hilarity would ensue. Not so. Everything went smooth. Real smooth. To the point of being a boring blog smooth. (Like you hadn’t already figured that one out.) In the end I was only mildly grossed out during the prep work and totally thrilled when I pulled this out of the oven:
Step 4. – Eat.
I made some buttermilk biscuits too. Yum. And then a variation of the pan sauce in the above recipe. Also yum. Bonus: The kids loved the sauce. After professing said love I told them it had onions and dijon mustard in it. They were flummoxed.
Moral of the story?
Posted: October 24th, 2012
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It’s not uncommon to desire hope for our children. That’s a good thing, but I think it’s really just how old folks look for their own hope. We (the old) put our worries on our children and then offer them hope so that we can feel hopeful. Tracking?
Sure you are.
With all my churchyness, I hear a lot of adults voice concerns about churches shrinking, membership declining, Sunday schools drying up and only a handful of kids getting confirmed.
Well as a hack professional allow me to assuage your worries with these two words:
Hmmm… Perhaps I should rephrase that. On second thought, No. I would only make it worse. But I can explain.
I like to bike. In mountain biking there’s an important concept you learn early on in navigating single track:
Look where you want to go.
Why? Because where your eyes look your body will follow.
This last weekend I was surrounded by church folk who were doing just this: Looking where they want to go. Rethinking. Reimagining. Reworking. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong they are looking at what’s right. And similar conversations are happening all over in worshiping communities around this country and around the world. They’re sharing a story of hope. They’re telling the story of where they want to go.
It’s fine and healthy to name the junk in your congregation. It’s cathartic to name things that suck. It’s important to know what dangers lie about on the trail. But that’s not where you want to go now, is it? Duh.
So acknowledge what is and live into the hope of what is to come.
You want hope for the children? Then be hopeful.
Posted: October 17th, 2012
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I recently released Stumbling Service. It’s been well received and hopefully that will continue. If you’re not familiar with it, skip this post, click on the link and listen/read all about it.
Now that you’ve done that…
This is an all digital release. There’s no physical songbook or CD available for purchase. This allows for a number of things. I can sell it for $20. You won’t have 10 extra copies floating around your church library 20 years from now. You can pass on the MP3s to the rest of your band without first converting file formats. All in all it makes things much more functional. It also allows for immediate use. You buy it. You download it. You use it.
Unfortunately my initial online store set up kind of stunk. I was paying for way more options that I needed and there were all kinds of steps the buyer had to go through. It was kind of a mess. And then when the first few folks followed the links, jumped through the hoops and ordered Stumbling Service they had to e-mail me because the download link didn’t work. I ended up e-mailing files to people individually. I don’t mind doing that and I felt horrible that they had to go through yet more step. As the head of Nate Houge Industries and Frivolity I knew something had to change.
And it did.
Now I’m using bitbuffet. I’m telling you this for two reasons.
1. I’m sure I lost sales because of the previous store. It was too complicated. If that was the case for you, now you can click here buy Stumbling Service via PayPal. Easy.
2. Of the 6 people that read this blog 5 of you are in the same business as me. And Mom, you might want to sell a digital download someday too. So for all 6 of you I recommend bitbuffet. It’s simple. It’s cheap. It works.
Posted: September 5th, 2012
, nate houge
, stumbling service
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My to do list today included: Write A Song.
I have been spending a lot of my time lately on the business side of things. Once you start making music for a living you find yourself with less and less time to make music due to all that ‘living’ implies.
But I finally got some web stuff ironed out. The cumbersome download process for the Stumbling Service has been streamlined. My wife is on a retreat and the kids are out of the house. It’s quiet. Seems like a good time to write a song.
My ukulele was the closest instrument. I started strumming. And singing. Writing. Editing. Editing. Editing. Googling ‘trailer park.’ And so on.
And now I get to check something off my to do list.
Next on the list?
Install railing on basement stairs for mother-in-law.
Now that’s living!
Posted: August 22nd, 2012
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My 5 year old and I took off for the weekend in “Our Lady of Disrepair.” “Our Lady of Disrepair” is our 86 VW Vanagon Weekender. We love her. (Her actual name is Gomer as in Hosea 1:2,3. Not the most faithful vehicle and I’m convinced plenty of others lust for her.)
Our first stop was Maplewood State Park. We’d camped here once before and it is one of our favorite MN parks. We biked around a bit. Pondered this sign:
And did a little wading:
It was perfect camping weather. Nice and cool. In the morning we went for a swim in Lake Lida. Still cool. Down right cold. Carpe Diem.
Onward to Walhalla ND and the Rendezvous Arts and Heritage Festival where I was playing and MC’ing.
We were poking along just fine. Then about 20 miles south of Grand Forks the gas pedal went loose and dropped down to the floor. Zero acceleration. Hazards on, I coasted to the side of the road. There’s a reason we refer to Gomer as “Our Lady of Disrepair.” Stranded on the side of the I-29 in ND with a 5 year old is not my dream situation. Unless of course that dream is a nightmare. I was a little stressed. Thankfully she took it all in stride:
Dad: “Looks like we need to call a tow truck honey.”
Daughter: “Oh goodie, I’ve never ridden in a tow truck before!”
I went ahead and bought her a pony.
If you need to wait for a tow truck, I recommend doing so in a Vanagon. We popped up the table, played Farkel, ate bing cherries, and chatted with State Troopers. There are worse ways to spend a summer afternoon.
In about 1/2 an hour Jason and his tow truck arrived and the folks at the Cenex on 32nd took fine care of us.
Thankfully no parts were needed. The accelerator cable had simply come loose and they were able to get us in right away, fix it fast, and barely charge us. I love ND.
We spent the next 24 hours in Walhalla. Not nearly enough time, but a wonderful time all the same. I got to play cards with my favorite mother in law, eat the best corn of the summer so far at the firefighters’ fund raiser, and the Art and Heritage Festival was great. Tons of local artists displaying their work, offering demonstrations, and inviting artists of all ages into hands on lessons.
As it wrapped up Saturday evening Elsa and I headed back to Fargo to spend the night. Sunday morning we headed east on 10 and I led music at Glyndon Lutheran where my friend Jeni is the pastor. One of the highlights was an infant baptism where they sat the naked baby right in the fount a la bath time. Apparently it’s a 3rd century tradition. Who knew? Jeni for one. And now we all do. I am a little curious how this translates into adult baptisms.
Back in the Vanagon again Elsa and I made the final leg of the journey. Stopping at Dunn Bros in Alec (Or as non-locals call it: Alexandria) the barista asked if I needed anything with my coffee. I asked for someone to drive me to St. Paul. She said no. I tipped her anyway.
The whole parenting-camping-driving-working-weekend thing is a bit exhausting, but we made it home safe and sound and all in all it was a great trip. Tow truck and all.
Posted: August 13th, 2012
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On Saturday the Houge Four returned from a week at Outlaw Ranch near South Dakota. It was spectacular as always. Great folks, great conversations, great music and songwriting sessions… A stellar week. (Sidenote: If your family is looking for a great vacation next summer, check out family camp at Outlaw!)
One of the beautiful things that happens at camp is that someone else cooks for you. And they do it well! If I had a camp name it’d be “Seconds.” ’Cause who doesn’t like seconds? Coming back from all that love – I mean food – is there a difference? – and inspired by a couple great conversations on homemade bread and pizza I decided to do some baking yesterday and brushed off this recipe for Oatmeal Molasses Bread. The beauty of molasses is that it makes your bread dark. And when your bread is dark people assume it’s healthier and that you’re a better person for it. Then you go and sprinkle oatmeal on top. Seals the deal. Bonafide whole grain huggin’ hippy you are. Fooled ‘em all. It’s white bread gone brown due to all the sugar. And it’s killer toasted with raspberry jam and a slice of sharp cheddar.
OATMEAL MOLASSES BREAD
2 cups warm water
6-8 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast (one packet)
1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup dry milk
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl honey
3 Tbl molasses
Whisk 2 cups warm water, 2 cups bread flour, and yeast in large mixing bowl. Cover (I use a plastic bag) and rest for an hour. At this time set out eggs so that they come to room temperature. After an hour, add oatmeal, dry milk, salt, olive oil, honey, molasses and eggs and mix well with a big spoon. Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time. When you get to six, be careful not to add too much. I like to use to mix with a spoon as long as possible and then dump the gloppy mess on to the counter and begin kneading it. You want the final dough to be on the wet side – just barely sticky. Knead it for 5 minutes or so. The wetter the dough the less kneading needed.
Oil up that bowl, put the dough in, stick a bag on top (retains moisture better than a towel), and let it rise till doubled.
Doubled already? Sweet. Now divide the dough in two equal parts, you egalitarian hippy you. Form two balls of dough and place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle them with oatmeal if you want to look cool and make friends. Give them space. (The balls of dough, not your cool new friends. If they’re really cool, space won’t be an issue.) Cover with a towel. (Again, the balls of dough.)
Let these soon to be devoured boules (Now that you’re making friends we’ll move beyond terms like ‘balls of dough’) hang out for about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes into that time preheat your oven to 375 F. Spoiler alert: If you’re going to throw ice into your oven later you should slide another baking sheet on the bottom of your oven now.
The boules look ripe? The oven is hot? Shazaam. Use a razor blade and slash the top of your loaves so that they can blow up a bit when they get into that hot oven. (That’s a little thing bakers call Oven Spring, or in the case of Amish Friendship bread: Ovenspringa.) Right after I put the loaves in I also throw a handful of ice cubes into the bottom of our oven to up the steam factor which in turn ups the chew factor. Yum. (If you’re baking something with less sugar in it and you’re at 450 0r so the steam also gives you a killer crust. At the temperatures we’re using for OatMol it seems to have less of that effect. That’s my experience. Yours may differ. I honor your story. Let’s move on.)
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Then take the loaves off the baking sheet and place directly on the oven rack. Reduce heat to 325 and bake for another 15 minutes.
With your cool friends.
Posted: July 30th, 2012
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For some dumb reason my summer has been short on biking. Lot’s of short run-an-errand rides and what not, but very few rides for fun and distance. Along with that I haven’t been working on bikes nearly as much as I normally do. Thankfully I had a chance meeting with two forlorn alley bikes that I tore down yesterday and should be ready for a new rider tomorrow. It’s nice to have a little grease under the fingernails again. And that odd citrus degreaser taste to the uncovered cup of coffee on your work bench. I’m sure it’s clearing out my arteries as we speak.
But even cooler than my dinking around the garage is that this last weekend we stuck the tag-a-long on the back of my bike for Elsa. Her legs are finally long enough. Now she can pedal along with me. This is huge. Last summer we couldn’t really bike as a family because she was too young to keep up on her little bike and old enough to reject sitting passively in the trailer. But now she can keep up. She can ride along. She’s in and active. She loves it. I love it. Feel the love people.
This sparked in her a sense of freedom. The power of going fast. She subsequently realized her training wheels were holding her back. And now they’re off. Hurray!
She still needs my hand on the back of her bike but she’s growing in confidence. And now that they’re off there’s no going back.
I think I’m more stoked about this than she is. I’m okay with that.
Posted: July 18th, 2012
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Here are the finisher’s of the 1st Annual Grandpa’s Minithon. My dad (bottom left) is an avid distance runner and hiker. This year he was all set to go for another running of Grandma’s Marathon up in Duluth. Unfortunately a torn calf muscle put a crimp on those plans. So my brother (middle right) and I came up with Grandpa’s Minithon. We moved the decimal over one to create a 2.62 mile course. Initially Dad was going to run it and we were all heading up the water stops but at the last minute I decided to run it with him. And then Ben joined. And then Jutta jumped in.
Lydia made us race numbers that we pinned on to our shirts. Instead of timing chips we were each given a handful of potato chips to eat as we crossed the starting line. The first stop was at Mojo Monkeys for a chocolate donut. The next stop was at McDonalds for milkshakes, but apparently no one had clued in this location on being a fast-food destination and after a 10 minute wait we decided to carry on without them. (Not to mention the donuts weren’t sitting so well with us at this point.)
A mad dash to the finish, an awards ceremony, and a round of celebratory drinks at Skinners followed.
We’re already looking forward to next years. (With plans for water balloons, a bacon station, and a found object requirement)
This is one of few races I’ve run with my Dad, but definitely my favorite. Cheers!
Posted: June 18th, 2012
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Here’s a shot from one of the 3 Holden Youth Weekends I just returned from. Huge thanks to the folks at Trinity Lutheran College for putting this on, Holden for hosting and welcoming me into the community during the in between days, and all the youth and adults that participated!
A bonus thank you to Nancy at Delta in St. Paul for tracking down my guitar during it’s 20 minutes of wandering between uninformed baggage claimers and jackassed gate checkers. Man alive, airports are inhumane. I need a Smith’s shirt with the quote, “I am human and I need to be loved,” for my next trip through the airport. Let’s make that happen folks.
Thank you all, check your pulse, hug a loved one, Nate.
Posted: May 31st, 2012
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