Grit Blogs > News From The Nest In Rural Pennsylvania

When the Weather Outside Is Frightful, Homemade Bread is So Delightful

Icy cottoneaster 

The weather around these parts has been pretty nasty the past couple of weeks! Snow, ice, and wind have made for some pretty tough traveling conditions at times, especially the ice.

Ice-covered branches in winter 

At one point we were without power for 2 days. Thank goodness we have a generator for back up on these occasions!

Ice-covered white pine 

Ice-covered brush 

So what to do when the outdoors isn’t fit for man or beast?!

Icy drive. 

Why, you bake of course! I decided it was the perfect time to try some new recipes, and experiment with others. I opened my trusty copy of “GRIT’s Guide to Homemade Bread” to find which recipes would be the lucky candidates to try! The first I chose was the Cheesy Herb Bread found on page 44. This is not a yeast dough, is very easy to make, and soooo worth it. I actually made 2 batches. The first I made in a normal loaf pan.

Cheesy herb bread 

The next batch I baked in a pie pan. When it was finished I made deep dish pizza out of it. The cheese and herbs in this bread make it really good. Simply add some pizza sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings your family happens to like, then put it back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. A very easy meal your family will thank you for!

Cheesy herb bread as deep dish pizza 

The second recipe I chose to make, I’ve made before so I decided to play with it some and changed it a bit. I used the Rustic Wheat Bread with Savory Herbs and Onions recipe found on page 41. I followed the recipe with everything it calls for except I didn’t add the herbs or the onions, and I didn’t use the cornmeal to coat it with. Instead, I replaced the herbs with cinnamon and ginger. I also had to add a little extra water when mixing the dough because it was very dry for some reason, but the end result was wonderful.

Cinnamon and ginger bread 

I baked it as called for. When I removed the loaves from the oven, I buttered and sugared the crusts. I can’t tell you how good this smelled while baking! Absolutely heavenly! I got 3 nice sized loaves from this recipe, enough to share with family! I also made French toast with this bread and topped with real maple syrup and walnuts! Delicious! Don’t be afraid to change up your recipes. Try some different spices and seasonings! Who knows, you might just come up with a winner that is requested over and over again!

Now that you have freshly baked, homemade bread, why not sit back and enjoy a few slices while relaxing and watching the birds!

Cardinal on icy branches 

An icy Carolina wren 

A chickadee makes an icy landing 

Gold finch on an icy limb 

Golden crowned kinglet on ice 

Icy bird feeders 

Male downy woodpecker 

Tufted titmouse with berries 

Junco with berries 

charlie greene
3/11/2011 9:32:30 AM

Great looking bread......I was just in the process of making some just plain loafs of white bread....Receipe comes out of The Secrets of Jesuit Bread Making by Brother Rick Curry, S.J........It was given to Brother Rick by Brother Fitzgerald from St. Joseph's University in Philidelphia......I took a break on the last rise and discovered your's......You did a great job! Loved your pictures of the bird's......Just makes you wonder how much we just need and how much more we want.......

2/19/2011 4:15:30 AM

Nebraska Dave, We had temps in the high 60's yesterday! Boy, does that ever make me long for Spring! We have tapped our maple trees this year.We're tryin our hand at makin maple syrup. The sap has really been runnin, and we're going to do our first boilin on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to experiencing the whole process!

2/19/2011 4:12:40 AM

Lisa, Thanks for stopping in! I love watching the birds. I think they are amazing little creatures to be able to withstand such harsh elements! We had Delawares,and I was very impressed with the breed! They were not flighty birds at all. Very tame and easy to work with. I'm sure you won't be disappointed in them!

lisa dugan
2/18/2011 7:28:44 PM

Lori, I just love your bird photos! I was raised in Pennsylvania and can't say I miss those ice storms, but it sure is beautiful. We have a flock of 13 assorted chickens and just got our first Delaware chicks so we're looking forward to watching them grow! Lisa

nebraska dave
2/11/2011 6:09:14 PM

@Lori, I see that you have been busy. When the weather gets bad then it's to get bakiing huh? Sticky buns are a great winter comfort food. It's been a long winter and the temperature in the 40s today only makes me want it to stay here. (Big sigh) Unfortunately I don't think that's going to happen but for the next few days I'll just enjoy it while I can. There's too much February left to even hope for such a thing but the end of winter is not too far away. I can almost see the ground and hopefully by next week much of the snow will have disappeared. That cheesy bread looks wonderful and I can only imagine how it generates a delicious smell in the house. Have a great Valentine's day.

cindy murphy
2/10/2011 6:05:26 PM

Too funny, Lori - about sticky buns sticking to buns. Unfortunately, as I can attest, too true! Thanks for the camera tips. I've always thought my birds were quite tame too. I can be out there, all year 'round working in the garden, putzing around, or playing with the dog, and they don't budge, (except for the cardinals - they seem more skittish). I yak back and forth to my crows constantly, and even the little juncos will tolerate the dog running through the yard without much bother. Stop to take a picture though, and they become camera shy. Today, I sooo wanted to capture them in a photo - the chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches were flying back and forth from a feeder to the huge smokebush just beyond it. On top of the feeder sat a male cardinal, and in the bush were my 3 crows (I LOVE my crows), waiting their turn to scour the ground of whatever the others dropped. The smaller birds - even the cardinal - didn't seem to mind the crows at all. But shoot, as soon as I ran to get the camera, the mood changed. I got within about 6 feet of them, the crows let out a warning, and the feeder and bush were vacated. I've got a couple feeders, positioned where I can see them from the front and back porch. I think, come spring I'll put one closer to the windows, as you recommended (it'll drive the cats insane, I'm sure). And next time, I'll try the action setting too. Thanks again.

2/10/2011 3:44:10 PM

Hi Cindy! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! The cheesy herb bread is a real winner. It was delicious made into pizza as well.I absolutely LOVE homemade bread, maybe a little too much! My absolute weakness though, is sticky buns! They definitly stick to the buns all right! I don't make them very often cause I can't stay away from them when I do. Birds can be very hard to capture, so you have to be tricky. As far as the camera is concerned, you need a fast shutter speed. If your camera has an action setting, use that. You also need good light. Trying to shoot at dawn or dusk probably won't work. Those are the best times of the day for lighting, but not for capturing an action shot. The hardest part is getting as close as you can while having the birds still feel comfortable enough to come in to the feeders. I have my feeders set up on an old swing frame right on my front porch just a few feet from our front window. This way I can sit on the inside and get good shots while they come in to eat. They can still see me if I make sudden fast movements, but they can't see me as well as if I were outside. "My" birds however, are very tame. They are used to us walking past on the porch to come inside and to me going out to fill the feeders. Most times the chickadees, titmice, and golden crowned kinglets will come right in while i'm filling the feeders, or they don't even fly away to begin with.You could always try a blind too. I've used one before and gotten very good shots

cindy murphy
2/10/2011 3:04:49 PM

Oh-my-gosh, Lori. That bread looks soooo good! I wish you had posted the recipes - especially the cheesey herb bread. (I know, I know - I should buy the book). And the pizza! Shoot, I'm hungry now. Good thing it's not too long until dinner. You know I've always loved your nature photography; your bird photos here are amazing. I've got a question. I've been trying (in vain) to get even a fairly decent shot of the birds at my feeder. I can't seem to get close enough though, for them to be more then specks in the photo. My camera is pretty cheap - an older model Nikon Coolpix 5600 that has hardly any zoom capabilities. Any suggestions?