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I started this series when I moved from my home town of San Francisco CA up north to the Shadows of Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta, Chico CA.  My :Landlord had died, my apartment building had sold, and they turned the building into a construction site.  I looked and looked in SF for Apartments, but on my fixed VA Pension, and Social Security, the reality was that SF out priced me, in no way could I pay $2800 for a Studio Apartment and still have the quality of life that I was used to.  So I checked all around the Bay Area via Craigslist and called and sent emails and no one would get back to me. The reality seemed to be that no one wanted to rent to a disabled, service connected veteran with special needs.  So using Craigslist again, in utter frustration, using Craigslist again I put up ads all over California in the Housing Wanted section.  Figuring this was like throwing a bottle into the ocean, I waited, and I did not wait long.  The next morning I had over 20 replies to my ads, in the next four days I got over 180 replies.  Oddly 80% pof them were about housing in the Chico area.  Seemed the writting was on the wall if I wanted housing I might have to relocate to Chico.  I corresponded and looked some closer places, but the draw of a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with a yard for $1,100 was just to great! I jumped a train and went up to Chico to check out the 3 most promising places.  There were all nice, but the one that really stuck with me was the 2 story home with 3/4th and acre of land! A blank slate to do with as I pleased.  Freshly panted, new carpet and floors, this was the place for me  Signed the lease and started the moving process, and what a process it is.  I ended up pretty much moving myself, but move I did, and I have landed in paradise!  Chico is a little college town in the shadows of Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta, it is an island of civilization surrounded by mile after mile of far land.  The closest REAL city is Sacremento, and hour and a half south, or Redding a couple of hours north. It has places, movies hiking, lots of bike paths to explore, Bidwell Park which seems to go on forever, local refer to places in the park by there mile markers, Oh at 1 mile, oh that's up near 5 mile.  The swimming whole seem to all be named for animals, Bear Whole, Fox Hole, oh and then there are the Hot Springs.  I just love natural hotsprings and this area is loaded with them.  Well that is all well and good, but the reality of the situation is that my health and physicality is shaky, I have good days and I have bad days. So one of the first things I did was hire an In-Home Care person, a local that can help me out and show me around.  His salary includes room and board.

Well that is the short and sweet of it all. Which brings us to the Bread Project, inspired by the movie Julie on Julia I decided to create for myself something that I could focus on each day and write about.  I picked up a copy of Mary Henspeerger's THE BREAD LOVER'S BREAD MACHINE COOKBOOK, with 300  different breads in it.  I had decided that it would give me something to focus on everyday, a simple medial task that I could do, and then write about preparing and eating the breads.  With my special psycho-social problems I need something to get me out of my head.  While I learn the area, find volunteer opportunities, (I applied to help teach people to read at the Public Library, and to be a mentor to an at risk kid, and to help out at the Food Bank, for starters.), I needed something to focus on and write about daily while I create a new existence.  I figure it will also give me an indoor activity to do when the temps reach over 110 or under 32!

THE MACHINE

On a 'retail therapy' session, or some say 'splurge" I bought myself a BreVille Cadillac of the bread machines.  It was not how much I spent that I focus on, but how much I saved, being marked down 75% on a clearance sale.  Now even at 75% off it was still considerable more expensive than most the other machines at the store, but you pay for quality, right?!  I really love this machine.

TODAY'S LOAF - SOUR CREAM BREAD

The book says this is going to be a dense textured bread reminiscent of a brioche or a cake. Sour cream is one of those ingredients that adds a special texture, flavor and a keeping quality to a bread.

1.5 Pound Loaf
'=1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 cup sour cream'
3.5 cups bread flour]
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons gluten
1.5 teaspoons salk
2.5 teaspoons bread machine yeast

I can already tell you from the ingredients this is not a bread to make on delay start! So I set the alarm at zero dark thirty hours to get up and start this bread.  A short morning walk to the 24 hour market to get the Sour Cream and the Light Brown Sugar and I was set.  I dumped all the ingredients into the machine, and pushed start.  

2 and a half into the process the house started to fill with the wonderful aromas of the backing bread.  Right when the machine chimed complete I took the bread out, setting it upright on a rack to cool before our breakfast trials.

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I have found that the best way to test a bread is to cut off and eat the crust, so my first piece was the crust. The loaf is light and airy, but nicely abnd the crust was like biting into a little slice of heaven, it was flavorful and light, and dances across the tongue swear sour salty all represented.  It took butter nicely! My next slice I lightly toasted, which just served to evewn bring out the subtle flavors more. I love the text and the flavor, this going to be one of my favorite breads!

Originally posted to l3m0n - A Veteran's Journey of Recovery on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Personal Storytellers, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your bread making looks delicious. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm afraid if I had a bread machine and the ambition to use it I'd look more like a loaf than I already do.

    Did you start any fun volunteering yet?

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:32:39 PM PDT

    •  OOPS! I need to read more carefully. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga

      "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

      by glorificus on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:36:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am in the process of contacting agencies ... (6+ / 0-)

      The American Cancer society has a very promising opportunity that I am really hoping for as does the Red Cross. Sorta like apply for a job! but I will have something soon enough.  This weekend I am off the San Francisco to see freidns, and a doctors appointment.

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:08:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That looks so yummy! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding

    Unfortunately, a daily loaf of bread would not be good for my waistline. This sounds like such a cool project.

    Chico is such a great town. Too hot in the summer though.

    Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

    by voracious on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:43:47 PM PDT

    •  Been vert termperate the last few days ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      but I have been warned.  I have central air, I am just dreading the first bill!

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:09:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh The Joy Of Living Someplace Cheaper (5+ / 0-)

    The first part of your Diary got me thinking.

    I grew up in rural, southern IL (where I live now). But after college lived for almost 20 years in DC. For what I paid to live in a small one bedroom place in DC here I have a five bedroom house and could also make a car payment and pay all my utilities and have money left over.

    Don't get me wrong I miss DC. The culture. The food. But then again I can walk out my front door and in about 100 yards be in a forest and just walk, walk.

    As for bread, I am a huge fan, although I don't bake my own. I live in an area founded by German's about 200 years ago. I didn't know this until I asked in a foodie diary here, but I guess German's are good at making bread.

    This little place by me, maybe 110 years old, makes bread that is so darn good I think I could live on it alone! One of the things that always stuns me is how many folks I know that don't appreciate "good" bread.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:47:12 PM PDT

    •  I have friends that eat wonder bread, (4+ / 0-)

      and I wonder about them, there are so many great place in SF that make GREAT bread why buy it from General Mills

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:11:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Almost Everybody I Know Does (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, ms badger

        My parents used to laugh at me when I moved back here and ordered this stuff online and had it shipped to me:

        http://www.shilohfarms.com/...

        Now I've found that little German bakery I no longer have to do that.

        I mean I was raised in a family where my mom cooked every meal. There was ALWAYS a loaf of Wonder bread and butter on the table. We ate bread with every meal.

        Then I found out there were other breads out there I fell in love!

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:19:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You Mentioned The Cost Of The Bread Maker (6+ / 0-)

    a few years ago I decided to stop buying that soda. That DVD I'd watch once. That cup of coffee someplace. Save that money and buy myself one super nice thing for the kitchen. A $100 knife. A $150 wok. Best thing I ever did. Not saying you have to have those things to cook well, but it sure doesn't hurt :).

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:55:37 PM PDT

    •  LOL, I did the same tring, but with Lattes and (8+ / 0-)

      Mochas. I figured out that I spending over $2340 a year buy lattes and Mochas everyday.  That afternoon I went out and bpought an Nespresso machine for $199, and now I make my double shots at home for less than a dollar.  The money I sayhaving my latte at home I put into a "blow it jar" to fuel my "retail therapy" trips.  It is sure nicer to have something nice and useful than to waste the money daily in a stream of yellow down the toilet!  Literally I was just pissing away thousands!  I think my dollar a day Latter is Far better than Starbucks or Petes, and so do most of my friends.

      Now that I have had bread machine bread daily, I could NEVER go and buy a loaf a bread in a super market, it just sticks in my throat, not to mention the cost.  for me to make a loaf of bread, minus the electricty costs about 53 cents!

      - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

      by l3m0n on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:17:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The First Thing I Bought Was Like A (4+ / 0-)

        $350 Kitchen Aid coffee maker. Has its own water filter and grinder built in. Makes an amazing cup of coffee. And it has made thousands of them for me for a fraction of what I'd pay at my local place.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:23:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nespresso here, too. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, LSophia

        I'm on my second machine. It's a miracle.


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:21:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am about to buy a second machine ...; (0+ / 0-)

          I have fallen in love with the 599.00 machine with the built-in/removable milk thrather.  I am saving for it, and hope to be ablke to "gift" it to myself for Xmas!

          - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

          by l3m0n on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 03:37:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I kept a spreadsheet (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Youffraita, DamselleFly, Damnit Janet

        on how much I saved after I bought my first espresso machine and it depressed the heck out of me.  I figure I had it paid off in about a month.

        I love my espresso machine.  <3  It's my only kitchen gadget and I use it every day.

        It also freaks my friend out how much I save by cooking (gasp!) my own food.  I doubt I spend more than $7 per day on all of my meals put together.

        •  That's the truth. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LSophia

          I might spend a bit more than you do, cooking my own meals, but I bet it's pretty close except when I splurge on something like a terrific imported cheese (and even then, the cost is probably amortized over about a week).

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:50:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My costs may go up (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Youffraita

            this winter, but I did put in a fall-winter garden.  Hopefully, it will keep me in winter salad greens.

            Every now and then, I splurge, too - but I'm amazed at how low my costs have gotten since I added legumes back to my diet.

            •  I have an apartment, so, no garden (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LSophia

              but I'm only three blocks from a farmer's market, and one block from a discount grocery (frozen string beans and chopped spinach can be excellent.  Stay away from the canned stuff, though).

              Just putting together a casserole to cover you for the weekend when you're at work will save you tons of money and give you the option of healthier food.  For example:

              I had leftovers of three different cheeses:  Parmesan, bleu, and cheddar.  OK, let's do mac & cheese!  First, make a roux and then a white sauce, into which you melt the cheese/s.  

              To make it healthier, into the mac & cheese I added a bag of frozen string beans (cooked) and a well-drained can of Ro*tel (hot version), and swapped out the macaroni for a box of whole-wheat penne.

              It came out great and people at work have said how wonderful it smells.

              I keep telling them it's just mac and cheese...okay, slightly embellished, but still: it's your basic mac and cheese.

              Anybody with a stove can make this, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying the stuff ready-made...plus you can do what I did, and adjust it for your personal palate.

              To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

              by Youffraita on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 01:01:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You should write a cooking series (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Youffraita

                I'd contribute.  :)

                For me, it's legumes with a combination of cooked and fresh vegetables.  Last week, it was black beans with corn, blanched green beans and carrots and tomatoes and cucumber, with cilantro-lime vinaigrette.  (Don't even get me started on how much faster it is to make your own salad dressing ;))

                This week, it will be lentils, blanched carrots again, celery and tomatoes.  If I want to get fancy, I'll throw in some sauteed mushrooms.  This will be with sherry vinegar and shallot dressing.  

                I'm also making and freezing my own tomato sauce and blanching and freezing green beans and corn for the winter.  I wish my freezer was bigger!

                •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

                  I think there is already at least one cooking series here -- check out Macca's Meatless Mondays.

                  My cooking is very plebian, and rather boring overall.  It's just...I have been making certain types of things for so long, I don't need a recipe, I can just do it.

                  Like mac & cheese.

                  This week, I think I will do a soup with plenty of barley and mushrooms...I did the same thing two weeks ago, but I have a lot of barley & that soup was great.

                  If you have any alternative barley recipes, though, I'm curious: I know Mark Bittman in the NYT once suggested barley (and a few other grains) for non-rice pilafs, but I've never had the nerve to try making a barley pilaf.

                  To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

                  by Youffraita on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 11:59:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I AGREE. with Moving money has been tight (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Youffraita

          and they have Dollar Tree stores, I have saved a bundle and lived through a money tight time by eating at home, making my own bread and my own lattes.  It is amazing how well you can eat on less than 10 bucks a day if you shop around, hit the sales, especially SAFEWAY and it new Just for U app.  (I got a 5.99 box for $1.29 usi9ng a sale and the Just for u app! What a deal!)

          - Jeff US Army/Retired ... With a long enough lever one person can move the World! DoSomething-Anything.Info

          by l3m0n on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 03:40:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If you play music (7+ / 0-)

    my son just opened a new music store, 2Cool Music on W. 8th. Chico still has old orchards among the homes and businesses. You go through an orchard and around a traffic circle round-about to get there. Check it out: http://www.2CoolMusic.com.

    working for a world that works for everyone ...

    by USHomeopath on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:06:24 PM PDT

  •  Nice Diary (7+ / 0-)

    Your Story will be republished

    on the Daily Kos group blog

    Personal Storytellers.

    "Personal Storytellers is a group dedicated to learning more about fellow kossacks via the art of sharing personal stories. Every life is an adventure, and through sharing those adventures we hope to bring kossacks closer together."


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:19:46 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your service and (4+ / 0-)

    Welcome Home..in more ways than one.  Bread looks like a great therapy and treat for the tummy.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:31:54 PM PDT

  •  You make me smile, l3m0n -- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, ms badger, LSophia, Youffraita

    I like the way you're taking care of yourself.  You've taken the time to understand how your limitations (disabilities? health probs?) work, and you've set about building a life that gives you the kinds of structures and supports that you need.  I admire how you're going about taking care of your life.

    And Chico sounds like heaven!  Good luck in your new home!

    Actually, Mitt, I AM entitled to food.

    by CroneWit on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:35:14 PM PDT

  •  You left out... (11+ / 0-)

    one of the best features of Chico. Yes it's a college town so you know there's going to be at least one good radio station, but Chico is also home to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the mother lode so to speak of some of the best brew around.

    Congrats on your interest in bread making, but consider going beyond the machine. I would recommend "The Bread Maker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart. Lot's of insight in to the art of bread making, and in that area you should have no trouble procuring the right ingredients.

    And also, thank you for your service and best wishes.  

  •  I'm sorry you had to move, but I'm glad you landed (5+ / 0-)

    in a place that seems so right for you. You always seem to have good ideas about how to handle things. Maybe you have lots of good days, and may the bad ones disappear.

  •  Glad you found a congenial home (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita

    I'm sadly avoiding wheat right now, but your loaves look delicious.

    One of my hobbies is to check out homes on Redfin. My dream is to buy some land and "hobby farm" with a part-time job, if I ever get to retire.

    Of course, by then, I may be so tired, I'll just want a studio condo with plenty of books, which is fine, too - so, at least, I have a community garden plot in the meantime!

  •  Have a fav cottage cheese bread, must try this. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 12:12:55 AM PDT

  •  I love sour cream. I am going to have to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia

    give that recipe a try.

    I don't have a bread machine.  I just make bread the old fashioned way.  Which means not too often.

    In a previous diary of yours I mentioned that I had purchased a bag of einkorn flour.  Einkorn is the oldest know ancient wheat.  It is supposed to be much more easily digested by those with gluten intolerance.

    I made my first loaf last weekend, and it had very good flavor.  Much better tasting than spelt, I thought.

    The dough is a wet sticky dough, which is next to impossible to knead.  I used a large flat spatula to help with the kneading.

    The one mistake that I made was to cook the loaf in a small dutch oven.  I wanted a round loaf and the dough was too loose to form a free-form loaf.  The gluten in this bread is quite delicate, and the diameter of the pan was too large to support the bread as it rose.  So a small section of the center of the loaf fell...not unlike a cake falling.

    I plan to make another loaf this weekend and will use a regular narrower loaf pan, which I hope will help with allowing the bread to rise more properly.

    The flour I bought is organic and is priced at $8.00 for a 2 lb bag.  It is pretty expensive.  Larger bags are much less expensive.  

    My understanding is that this flour can be used with all regular wheat bread recipes in a 1-to-1 replacement of einkorn for wheat.  So I will try that sour cream recipe with this flour and let you know how it turns out.

    I would only opt for this type of bread flour if you have gluten intolerance.  For me - I was able to enjoy a regular wheat bread and not have major indigestion, reflux, etc as an after effect.  

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 06:58:18 AM PDT

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