I do truly love running an off-grid homestead but I’ve learned a few things along the way, one of the things I’ve learnt is that you must always be looking for the most efficient, low cost, no waste, simple and effective option in everything you do.
I credit a particular book in helping me really streamline my activities to cut wastage, and that’s a really powerful tool when the thing you’re wasting is yourself, your time and your energy. That book is called ‘The Lean Farm’ by Ben Hartman and I recommend it to everyone, not just worn out farmers! We changed the way we do so many things after Nic and I read this book together.
Here at the Freedom Farm we bake all our own bread from scratch every other day and at the beginning that task was totally overwhelming. If you’ve ever made bread before you’ll know that it can take hours and hours and hours. Very quickly I became tired and started relying more heavily on long life store-bought bread substitutes like crackers or tostados.
Eventually, after much sweating, I figured out the easiest and most effective way to turn out fresh bread without the stress, and it includes our home grown olives. It is quick, simple, and extremely popular with my friends, family and neighbours.
Here is the recipe for my 90min olive bread.
284g warm water
500g plain white flour.
Handful of olives, pits removed.
Rock Salt for sprinkling.
A large round pizza dish.
Before you start, assemble all the ingredients and set a timer for 70mins. My oven takes 20minutes to preheat so after 50mins on the clock I light my oven. You should have your oven ready for when the timer goes off. I use a little wind up timer for efficiency but you can work out what works best for you.
1. Mix warm water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl.
2. Add 500g flour, salt and oil. Mix thoroughly.
3. When loosely combined turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins.
4. Place rounded dough back into the mixing bowl with a tablespoon of oil, make sure the dough is coated in oil and then cover it with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Place carefully in a warm place.
5. While the dough rises you can run around like a crazy person, forget about that bread and rely on the timer in your pocket to tell you when to run back to the kitchen.
6. Ten-fifteen minutes before the timer goes off take the dough, that should be fluffing up by now, and knock out all the air, form a smooth ball and place it in the centre of a pizza dish.
7. Then using your hands press the dough into a large disc that touches the edges of the pizza pan.
8. Cover with oil once more, and then your damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place.
9. Whisk the egg and pit the olives while the bread gets a few minutes to relax.
10. Just before you put the bread in the oven, take your olives and gently push them into the dough. Using a pastry brush paint the top of the bread with the egg mixture and then sprinkle on the rock salt.
11. I bake my olive bread for 21minutes on high. For people with normal on-grid ovens I expect that will be about 20minutes at 220c.