Join the local evolution

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Community, Events, Food and Drink, Locavore, Sustainable OKC, Transition OKC | Posted on 20-04-2011

0

evolve no shadowSix Oklahoma City chefs, restaurants and caterers are creating tasty local food as part of Sustainable OKC’s EVOLVE juried art exhibition and fundraiser at Oklahoma City’s first juried Local Food Challenge this Saturday, April 23, 7 p.m. at Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), 706 W. Sheridan on historic film row in downtown Oklahoma City.

The Local Food Challenge is organized by Transition OKC, a program of Sustainable OKC. The art exhibition will explore sustainability, resilience and community and proceeds from the event will benefit Sustainable OKC and IAO.

Food Challenge contestants will be judged by a panel of food industry professionals as they compete for a $500 juried prize. Guests enjoying the art exhibition will also have the opportunity to sample the local food creations and vote for the contestant they feel deserves the People’s Choice award via raffle tickets.

Follow the EVOLVE / Local Food Challenge on Facebook, buy $25 tickets (or individual sponsorships!) online at Sustainable OKC’s website here or at IAO, 706 W. Sheridan, or at the door the night of the event.

It’s all about local art – local food – local fun!

Art exhibition jurors (awarding a $500 grand prize to the winning piece)

  • Randy Marks, Groundwork
  • Stephen Kovash, Istvan Gallery

Local Food Challenge contestants

  • 105Degrees
  • Chef Kurt Fleischfresser
  • Chef Kamala Gamble
  • Prairie Gypsies
  • Chef Ryan Parrott
  • The Wedge Pizzeria

Local Food Challenge Jurors

  • Gail Vines, Flip’s Wine Bar & Trattoria
  • Chef Jonathon Stranger, Ludivine
  • Linda Trippe, The Lady Chef

+ YOU vote for the People’s Choice Award

$1 raffle ticket = 1 vote / vote as many times as you like

Music

thespyfm.com

Tickets

  • $25 @ the door or online @ www.sustainableokc.org 
  • or at IAO, 706 W. Sheridan, Oklahoma City
  • or at the door the night of the event
Technorati Tags: ,,,,,sustainable okc,transition okc

One local food meal = one step toward reducing foreign oil dependence

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Community, Conservation, Consumption, Energy, Food and Drink, Local Economy, Locavore, Oklahoma City, Peak Oil, Resiliency, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Sustainable OKC, Transition OKC | Posted on 14-04-2011

0

Slide14

A couple of weeks ago Transition OKC helped host a Local Food Meet and Greet. The Meet and Greet provided a host of folks passionate about growing a local food system the opportunity to network and get to know each other better. It was enthusiastically and well-attended, with more than 110 people coming on a sunny Saturday afternoon to IAO Gallery in Oklahoma City to nosh on locally produced food, wine and do a little “speed meeting.”

The event was organized by the “Going Locavore Group,” a loosely organized and growing grassroots coalition (or alliance) of several Oklahoma City organizations focused on catalyzing and transitioning our food system to a healthier, more sustainable and resilient one – and one strategy for doing so is to localize it. The team organizing the event was for the most part all-volunteer, and although we were scrambling up until the last minute to put all the details in place – we pulled it off – a total team effort if there ever was one. If you have any interest in networking with this group, or want more info, email us at localfoodokc@gmail.com

As one of the volunteers working on this event, part of my task was to put together a slide show about the reasons for transitioning to eating local food, and to provide a high-level overview of some of the initiatives in other states focused on growing regional and local food systems. As we researched, we discovered coalitions in New York City and Vermont have aggressive strategic plans for regional and localized food sheds and the body of work on this topic is growing exponentially — encouraging.

Above you’ll find one of the slides from the presentation and I’ll be sharing more of these in the coming days. Eventually will put the whole presentation online at ThinkLady and here on Fresh Greens as well Transition OKC’s website so if it is useful in any way to other local food efforts, it’s available for anyone to use and adapt.

In the meantime, given the high price of gas these days, the fact the era of cheap, easy-to-produce oil is over, and the growing production decline in one of the U.S.’s major suppliers of oil – Mexico — thought this slide might be a good one to start with. It illustrates one way we can begin to reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports. Ebullient and grateful hat tip to Barbara Kingsolver and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, for helping us imagine a different way of eating in the world.

Imagine abundant local food. Imagine the jobs it will create and the ways it will strengthen our local economy. Envision the health it will bring to our school kids, our communities, the resilience it will give our communities. Imagine how much we can reduce our country’s oil addiction if we eat not just one, but two local food meals a week, three, five, etc. Imagine. And then try it. I think you’ll like it.

If you’d like info on how to get started eating locally head over to Transition OKC’s website where we have a page full of local food resources.

– post by Shauna Struby, this post originally appeared on ThinkLady 

EVOLVE presents The Local Food Challenge

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Food and Drink, Locavore, Sustainability, Sustainable OKC, Transition OKC | Posted on 07-04-2011

0

Local Restaurants & Caterers Compete as part of EVOLVE Art Show

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lindsay Vidrine

405-802-5572

(Oklahoma City) April 7, 2011 – Sustainable OKC and Transition OKC are pleased to announce a Local Food Challenge on Sat., April 23 at 7 p.m. The challenge takes place at Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO) as part of EVOLVE, a juried art exhibit and collaborative fundraiser exploring sustainability, resilience & community. The fundraiser will benefit Sustainable OKC and IAO, and the local food challenge is organized by Transition OKC, a program of a Sustainable OKC.

Local Food Challenge participants include Chef Kurt Fleischfresser, Chef Kamala Gamble, Chef Ryan Parrott, Prairie Gypsies, The Wedge and 105Degrees. Contestants will be tasked with creating a signature appetizer or non-dessert finger food using as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.

Three prizes will be awarded, including the People’s Choice, a $500 juried grand prize and a runner-up prize of dinner for two at Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy. Judges for the challenge will be Carol Smaglinski of the Oklahoma Gazette, Chef Jonathon Stranger of Ludivine and caterer Linda Trippe.

Tickets for the EVOLVE art exhibit and local food challenge are $25 and can be purchased at www.sustainableokc.org. Sponsorships are also available online. 

Sustainable OKC is a non-profit, grassroots organization working at the crossroads of business, environment, and social justice in Oklahoma City. For more information visit www.sustainableokc.org or the community blog at freshgreens.typepad.com.  Event and community information are also shared through Facebook.com/SustainableOKC and Twitter.com/SustainableOKC.

Transition OKC is part of an internationally renowned movement and offers an ongoing slate of free or low-cost educational workshops, film screenings and events focused on catalyzing Oklahoma City’s transition to more sustainable, resilient communities. For more info visit www.goinglocalokc.org.

###

Transition sweeps down the Oklahoma plains

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Christine Patton, Community, Education, Energy, Environment, Locavore, Oklahoma City, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Transition Movement | Posted on 30-07-2010

0

logo with spaceTransition OKC, a project of Sustainable OKC, became the nation’s 27th official Transition initiative in May of 2009. The TOKC coordinating team took several months to lay the foundations of this project by discussing the “Transition Handbook,” hosting a Training for Transition, and setting principles, guidelines and a constitution in place (neatly stored in PVC-free binders, thanks to Shauna Struby). Once the team worked the consensus process and crafted a mission, vision, and goals, a tornado of creativity and energy was unleashed here on the Great Plains. Here’s the scoop! 

Going Locavore
Local food champions are very active here in Oklahoma City, but we don’t often have a chance to get together to discuss strategies, share updates and success stories, and plot ways to expand the local food market. Enter Transition OKC, which is now sponsoring Going Locavore happy hour potlucks so all these fabulous people can get together in the same room and share ideas. After one meeting and some intense brainstorming, the next meeting is slated to focus in on the most promising of the hundreds of ideas and start serving up some local food projects. Several members of the coordinating group are working on this project, but Christine Patton of the TOKC coordinating team has taken on the responsibility of pulling the meetings together for now. photo8

Sustainability Center
The indomitable Susie Shields, another TOKC coordinating team member, was so inspired by the "Hands" portion of Rob Hopkins’ “Transition Handbook,” she vowed to create a Sustainability Demonstration Community Center. She put together a diverse team of architects, sustainability pros, nonprofit, business and government folks to forge a way forward with this dream. Education and programming and site selection subcommittees are already hard at work brainstorming and researching.

Reskilling Videos
TOKC’s coordination team believes reskilling workshops (learning how to do things for ourselves again) are a fantastic way to help people transition. It’s learning valuable skills, education, sharing information on the challenges we face, networking, food and/or beer and wine – all rolled into one. Put all that learning on video and wow – that’s one way to spread reskilling beyond the 10 or 20 people that can make it to a workshop. Luckily Trey Parsons of Enersolve and Christine Patton, TOKC coordinating team members, are ready to take on the challenge of creating a set of short reskilling videos to share information about how to cook with local food, install a rainwater catchment system, weatherize a house, use a sun oven, grow a garden, make pesto and peach jam and sun-dried tomatoes, and more. Lots of excitement about this as it will give these two the chance to run around all over the metro area asking questions of interesting people and maybe learning a few things too.

Movie Night
Several TOKC team members – Vicki Rose, Marcy Roberts, and Susie Shields – are planning quarterly movies night at Oklahoma City University. Since movies raise awareness about environmental problems, economic crisis, our precarious energy situation, and climate change, they’re a great way to start a conversation and brainstorm on how to address the issues.

Permaculture Design Course
Randy Marks of Land+Form and Shauna Struby are in the early stages of working with Permaculture teachers to design a course for Oklahoma. Short courses on Permaculture design (Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human settlements) have photo1been held here in Oklahoma, but if people want the full course, they have to go out of state which makes the cost prohibitive for so many. By bringing a full-scale design course here, Randy and Shauna anticipate greater participation and lots more Transitioning. Interestingly enough, Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry just had a team train in Permaculture design before they headed to Afghanistan, and this helps folks here in Oklahoma make a connection to the potential of Permaculture design for our communities.

Wired and Connected
TOKC’s Going Local OKC website has been enhanced with new navigation, a new look and a lot of new content. Shauna, Trey and Christine redesigned it to be more user-friendly, timely and flexible. Plus, it needed to expand to be able to contain all the new info TOKC will be posting on various projects (see above), as well as the handy OKC Resource pages (six at last count). TOKC also ties continuously updated media, such as this collaborative Fresh Greens blog, Sustainable OKC Twitter feed, and the TOKC Facebook page, into the website. A big thank you to Transition OKC and Sustainable OKC volunteers for keeping the content fresh and updated.

Teaching and Listening 
One of the things TOKC often hears when out and about in Oklahoma City is there is a great need for more education and awareness about the challenges we face and possible solutions within the general population. TOKC has given many presentations and conducted workshops over the last few months and plans to not only continue with this work,but the project has made it a goal to increase the number of presentations as they go forward. Shauna, Marcy, Vicki, Adam and Christine are working together to make this happen. If you’d like to have TOKC make a presentation to your neighborhood, civic, church group or school, please email them at info@goinglocalokc.com.

But Wait, There’s More
Susie just created a Buy Fresh Buy Local Farmer’s Market guide and she and Marcy are working on a comprehensive eight-page "Big Book" guide to local food. Plus Transition OKC is planning to redesign printed materials such as brochures and offer a fall and winter gardening workshop.  photo2

So there you go. The whole TOKC coordinating team – Randy, Shauna, Christine, Vicki, Marcy, Susie, Trey, Adam, Jim, Chase and Joseph – have all been working hard. Whether you’re in Oklahoma City or elsewhere, you’re invited to join in the workshops, presentations, friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter! They’ll be sharing what they’re doing here, reading all about what everyone else is up to, and sharing that too as they keep on sweeping down the plains.

– Inspired by a post written by Christine Patton, TOKC team member, on her blog at Peak Oil Hausfrau; tweaked and reposted with Christine’s permission on “Fresh Greens” by Shauna Lawyer Struby, TOKC team member

Cooking with Cornmeal

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Farming, Food and Drink, Locavore, Recipe, Tricia Dameron | Posted on 30-06-2010

0

Ressler Farms cornmeal

Larry Ressler's cornmeal.

I met Larry over a year ago. He was a new co-op producer—selling eggs and smoking wood—and was visiting co-op pick-up sites to meet his customers. We chatted and he asked what unmet demand there was in the co-op. Besides the typical needs at that time—produce, chicken, and bacon—I mentioned cornmeal.

Later he wrote to let me know he planted meal corn. He periodically dropped a line updating me on the corn's progress. In late June he lamented his corn was 6 inches tall, while his conventional-farmer-neighbor's corn was 6–8 feet tall. By September his corn was catching up: “It’s as big as an elephant’s eye (or something like that),” he said.

In late February Larry's cornmeal was ready. He sent me about one pound of finely ground cornmeal. It was a precious gift; I knew how much effort, thought, and consternation went into it.

This year Larry is growing about three times more corn than he did last year. Let’s wish him luck to endure this crazy weather and prevail against hungry raccoons.

Here's what I made with the cornmeal:
apple cobbler

I made one of my favorite desserts, cornmeal cobbler.
This time I made it with some apples I canned last year. But I’ve made this cobbler many times: with blackberries, blueberries, peaches, and pears. You can add different spices to the cobbler batter to complement the fruit you’re using. For instance, I added
cardamom when I made the pear cobbler.

 polenta and mushroom gravypolenta, kale, and pepper bake

I made polenta, which I baked on top of sautéed kale and roasted red peppers. Cold polenta forms a firm loaf, so I sliced the refrigerated leftovers, pan-fried the slices, and topped them with Om Gardens mushroom gravy.

lemon berry cake

I also experimented with a lemon berry cake recipe. I really liked the dense, lemony, cake-like topping that soaked up the juices from the cooked strawberries. When cooked, the batter forms a nice crisp glaze on top. This cake gets baked in a pie plate. (Disregard the springform pan in the photo. That was a bad idea.)

Lemon Berry Cake

:: 3 c strawberries, hulled and sliced (any type of berry will do)

:: 1 3/4 c sugar, divided

:: 1 c melted butter, cooled

:: 3/4 c flour

:: 1/4 c cornmeal

:: 1/2 t lemon extract

:: 2 eggs

Put sliced strawberries in a pie plate. Stir in 1/4 c sugar. In a medium-size mixing bowl combine the remaining 1 1/2 cup sugar with the melted butter, flour, cornmeal, lemon extract, and eggs. Stir until smooth. Spread evenly on top of strawberries. Bake for 40 minutes at 350˚.

Posted by Tricia Dameron. This post originally appeared on Oklavore on 6/18/10.

Wayne Coyne’s house in the news and other assorted green stuff

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Food and Drink, Home and Garden, Locavore, Sustainability, Sustainable OKC, Transition Movement | Posted on 21-02-2010

0

twitter3 We’re still in the Fresh Greens reorg phase. Yes we’re slow, a little like a turtle, but since the turtle symbolizes perseverance, patience and ancient wisdom, we’re hoping this will turn out to be a useful thing.

A few months ago Sustainable OKC joined the Twitter universe and you can follow us here. Our top ten tweets from the last few months:

  1. RT @TheGreenBuff: SustainableOKC workshop Feb 27 teaches how to start yr raised bed garden. Sign up @ http://ow.ly/18HC6.
  2. Wayne Coyne’s trippy house in OKC is not so weird, on Treehugger http://ow.ly/18TDa.
  3. Right on London! RT @transitiontowns: 2,012 community food growing spaces in London: funding for London food projects: http://bit.ly/5a6g1V.
  4. RT @OKAgritourism: Early birds will get a spot in Strawbale Construction Workshop @ Turtle Rock Farm, June 6-12. Space limtd.
  5. Training 4 Transition wrkshp to org your community to make Energy Transition Plans, on April 10,11. Details coming @ http://ow.ly/16tdk.
  6. RT @TheOilDrum: WSJ reports The Next Crisis: Prepare for Peak Oil. http://bit.ly/c03AYa.
  7. RT @transitionus: How to Start a Buy Local Campaign (PDF): http://bit.ly/ahQcDG.
  8. A certain number of number of deaths caused by dioxins released from incinerators are considered acceptable. http://bit.ly/6o82G1.
  9. RT @OKAgritourism: TGI Locavore Friday, Earth Elements Market & Bakery, makin’ the season bright wi/yummy OK food. http://bit.ly/4NOkHR.
  10. RT @sejorg: RT @theCIRESwire: New rprt: Climate chng acclrating beyond expectations, urgent emissions reductions reqrd. http://bit.ly/7sOsne.

Nosh, nibble and buy local goodies at the Local Food Fair today

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Community, Direct Farm Sales, Family, Farming, Food and Drink, Local News, Locavore, Oklahoma City | Posted on 14-07-2009

0

Sample delicious food, shop, chat and gab at the Local Food Fair this evening. No admission!organic-food-mmwwo-001

A Local Food Fair

Tuesday, July 14

6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Harn Homestead

1721 North Lincoln Blvd.

Oklahoma City

Local foods, plants, flowers & wine vendors and live music!

Come ready to:

  • Shop for locally-grown food & wine (please bring a reusable shopping bag).
  • Learn how easy it is to make more sustainable food choices.
  • Sample fresh locally-grown food & get to know the people who produce.

Sponsored by:

BFBLsierraclublogo

Show and Tell

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Chelsey Simpson, Food and Drink, Locavore, Tips | Posted on 01-07-2009

1

By Chelsey Simpson

You know how it feels the first time you visit a new grocery store—the way nothing you need is where you want it to be and shopping take twice as long because you wrote your list according to the order of your usual store, and that just doesn’t work here? And if you love the new store—if every item calls to you from the shelf like a beautiful, exotic stranger—you will inevitably spend way too much time and money. If you take one of those hot little strangers home (perhaps it called to you from beneath the shower of the produce mister, “buy me, steam me, eat me with butter!”), you will inevitably find that you have no idea how to actually prepare it, and the odds are very good it will sit on your counter and rot.

 

I think the switch to eating local can be a lot like this for many people. If anything, it is far more daunting than an unfamiliar supermarket. First of all, the system itself is different. Instead of aisles there are farmers’ market stalls (which usually only take cash), or in the case of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative there is a website to navigate (and it is helpful to have a PayPal account). Unlike at the grocery store, where every can of beans opens with the same tool, new skills are sometimes required to make the most of local food. Or maybe I shouldn’t say “new” skills, but rather forgotten skills like cooking with whole chickens, baking bread and canning.

 

I have suffered the confusion myself—and I am still learning—but by and large I have converted, so I thought I would take this opportunity to do a little show and tell in hopes that someone out there will find it helpful. First, the “show.” Cropped food

 

A few weeks ago my friend Tricia posted two links on her blog that were very revealing. One is a photography project showing the interior of people’s refrigerators and the other shows families with all the food they typically eat in one week. I was still thinking about the post when I got home from the farmers’ market that week, and I was inspired to take a photo of my own daily bread, which you can see on the right. But first I had to determine what I was going to eat that week beside just the stuff I bought during my shopping trip.

 

I think that one of the keys to eating local is meal planning, so ever weekend I follow the same steps:

1) I take stock of what I have on hand that needs to be used before it spoils;

2) I think about what I have going on during the week that might take away from my cooking time;

3) I think about what is in season and what I might be able to get from the farmer’s market;

4) I make a list of all my meals on one side of a scrap of paper and a shopping list on the back.

There are only two people in my household, so I have to consider the fact that I will have leftovers, and I also plan to have extra food we can take to work for lunch.

 

Because local food (especially meat) costs more sometimes and comes in a more whole form (bones, skin, etc.), I always plan meals so that I can get the most mileage out of everything. For example I cook with whole chickens, but a lot of recipes call for boneless, skinless breasts, so sometimes I cut just the breast meat off of the bird and use it in a stir fry or pasta dish one night then save the rest of the bird to cook whole in the oven, slow cooker or on the grill. Then, if I am really feeling frisky, I use the bones and scraps to make stock. I am afraid I am making this sound like a lot of work, but it isn’t really. And sometimes I just throw a whole bird in a slow cooker for a few hours and call it a day; there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

So here was my meal plan for the week, roughly in order by day:

  • Steak fingers with new potatoes and sauteed Swiss chard
  • Buffalo burgers for a food co-op volunteer party
  • Pizza with tomato sauce, mushrooms, asparagus and cheese (salad on the side)
  • Salad with asparagus, feta cheese, sunflower seeds and green onions
  • Egg frittata with new potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, cheese and greens (salad on the side)
  • Buttermilk pancakes or waffles for dinner with fruit salad if I feel lazy one night
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as needed

If you look closely at the photo, you can probably make out most of the ingredients. The local things are generally on the right-hand side of the photo, including some Swiss chard from my church’s community garden (isn’t chard beautiful?), andthe grocery items are on the left. Yes, I buy bananas; I like them. And usually we eat a little more meat than this, but somehow this week my husband let me get away with serving him several vegetarian meals.

 

If I had to guess, I would say this is about $100 worth of food, but we won’t eat it all in a week; a lot of it, like the PB and jelly, will live to see another meal plan. According to this estimation, about two thirds of the money I spent stayed local.

 

So there you have it—a fast and dirty look at one week of local eating! It would be fun to see other people’s weekly menus in the comments section. How do YOU make local work?

Urban agrarian market takes off in Oklahoma City

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Farming, Food and Drink, Local Economy, Local News, Locavore, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Urban Gardening | Posted on 24-06-2009

0

by Shauna Lawyer Struby

Woohoo. I’m so excited to write this post. Here’s another great way to support your local farmers, ranchers, producers and eat healthy local food. Blooming on the Oklahoma prairie is the new mobile Urban Agrarian Local Foods Market. I’ve been hearing about and watching Matt’s progress on this project and am so thrilled to write just a little about this. Other great local food goodness is on its way as well. Bob Davis and I chatted on Facebook last night and the way is clear with the City of Midwest City for a new farmers market in that area.

Both Matt and Bob are absolutely passionate about local food and are stellar examples of what happens when people set their minds on being the change they want to see in the world. Kudos to them! Now let’s all get out and support them! Eat, enjoy, spread the word!

urban agrarian Urban Agrarian Local Foods Market

Local, sustainable food delivered with local, sustainable energy

· Sunday, June 28, 2009

· 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

· Across the street from Cheevers on the SE corner of NW 23rd and Hudson, Oklahoma City.

The Veggie Van is making a stop and setting up shop on 23rd street every Sunday for an outdoor market. All local food transported by waste vegetable oil. Displays are made out of recycled fence panels and if you get your stuff bagged, it is in a second-use bag from a local retailer. It is an official part of Sunday-funday in the historic district.

Products from local growers and vendors such as: Earth Elements, High Tides & Green Fields, Seasons Catering, Briarberry Farm, OM Gardens, Peach Crest Farms, Redland Juice Co., Rowdy Stickhorse, Urban Farms, Wichita Buffalo, Snider Farms Peanut Barn, Bob’s Best Bon Appetitin’ Bulgar, and others available seasonally. Plus local garden extras.

Questions: Contact Matthew Burch, matthewrburch@gmail.com.

Getting To Know My Inner Little Red Hen

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Books, Food and Drink, Locavore, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Tips | Posted on 12-01-2009

7

by Shauna Lawyer Struby

GetAttachment-1
I have a confession – I’ve never been very good at making yeasty-type bread. Try as I might, bread-making efforts in my 30-plus years of cooking have resulted in heavy loaves that more closely resemble bricks. I’ve suffered great guilt about my lack of yeasty prowess, and over the last few years, as sustainability has turned our minds to learning how to do things for ourselves again, or ‘reskilling’ as it is sometimes called, I’ve dreaded the day when the next thing to do on my self-sufficiency to-do list would be learning to make bread.

Praise to the Goddess of Yeasty Muses, fortunately for me a couple of bright folk, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, of Minneapolis, found a way to make bread that makes my bread-making deficiency moot. For about the past three weeks I’ve been using their Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method (also featured in the December 2008/January 2009 issue of Mother Earth News magazine). As Hertzberg & Francois note, the secret to their method is amazingly simple. Here’s what Hertzberg says about it in the Mother Earth News article:

“It all came down to one fortuitous discovery: Pre-mixed, pre-risen, high-moisture dough keeps well in the refrigerator.”

As a result of their discovery, I am happy to report I can now make beautiful, crusty loaves of bread that look like they belong on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine. Beyond the looks, the bread is moist on the inside and has that delicious multi-dimensional flavor so prized in bread-making. As an added bonus, the dough which is mixed and stored ahead of the baking process, can be used to quickly make pizza crust and a whole host of other delectable meals, breads and pastry delights, making it a great kitchen aid for busy folk with little time for meal prep.

So far I’ve only experimented with the bread and pizza, and at every holiday outing where I lugged either item, both brought rave reviews. But here’s the real icing on the cake (uh, bread) – the method’s authors estimate the cost is about $0.50 per loaf.

GetAttachment
The method is easy, simple and really does take very little time. There’s no kneading or punching. The five minutes a day refers to the actual time you’re actively involved with the dough shaping and getting it ready to bake. The bread is easily made with equipment any kitchen has on hand, although I did purchase a food-grade container to keep my pre-mixed dough in the refrigerator, and my guess is the recommended baking stone and pizza peel would take the final product to the next level. The article in Mother Earth News gives you the basic recipe and process but there’s also a book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking, which goes into much greater detail with tips and techniques, and a bundle of recipes for peasant loaves, flatbreads and pizzas, and enriched breads and pastries.

 To add some sustainability to this process, last week I took organic hard red winter wheat berries I purchased from GOOrganic Whole Wheat through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and ground the berries in our coffee grinder using the espresso setting which rendered a fine wheat flour. I doubt this will work for grinding large quantities of flour long-term, but until I settle on a wheat mill, it will do.

And about the Little Red Hen – I think she was on to something. Eating this bread is not only a pleasure-filled tasting sensation, but it brings a dimension of wholeness, comfort and security to our lives. Comfort in the aroma and taste of baking bread, wholeness and security in knowing our bread is made from healthy ingredients. Here’s to finding your own inner Little Red Hen.