12 oz fresh cranberries
1/3 to 1 cup sugar
1 or 2 cups water
+ pick through the berries and remove any that aren't firm.
+ for faster cooking and faster dehydrating cut the berries in half
+ in pot or wok mix the water and sugar and heat on high until it boils
+ add in the cranberries, stir frequently until you reach a boil
+ as soon as the cranberries are soft remove the pot from the heat
+ place a colander over a large bowl
+ place the cranberries into the colander
+ stir a few times to let the juice drain into the bowl
+ place berries on a dehydrating mat, they will be too fragile for trays, and separate the berries so that they are close but not touching
+ if you didn't cut the berries in half then be sure to tear any whole berries in half
+ dehydrate at 135f for 6-12 hours
! bonus: Make some mild soda syrup! pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer into a mason jar, use this within 3 days or water bath can it for 15 minutes with 1 inch headspace.
* How much? It really depends on if you are going to save the juice. If you are go with the more sugar/water. Otherwise save some resources and go with the smaller amounts.

Add a comment

cranberry jelly

Chunky Cranberry Jelly

Servings: 3 cups
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp ground clove (optional)
+ pick through the berries and remove any that aren't firm.
+ in pot or wok mix the water and sugar and heat on high until it boils
+ add in the cranberries, stir frequently until you reach a boil
+ add the spices
+ boil and carefully stir until the temperature reaches 220f, the jelly stage,
on a candy thermometer
+ pour the mixture into wide mouth 1 cup sized mason jars
+ process in a water bath for 15 minutes

Add a comment

roasted beef stock

Join me on a journey of smell and taste as we make some roasted beef stock.

This stuff is cheap to make at home but costs at least $3 a quart in the store and gets pricier for the good stuff. The stuff you buy comes in two types: regular and reduced sodium. The unstated implication is that the regular stuff has a lot of sodium in it. Yet when you make it at home there is very little to no salt added. Why is there so much sodium in retail stock? Because salt is a flavor enhancer and they can bulk up the flavor while reducing the costs to them. Our stock costs less than $2 a quart. We could do it for less than that but the best source of beef stock bones for me is a local grass fed organic beef farmer and they charge $2 a pound for bones. I am sure I could ask the local grocer and find them for less but I am too lazy and I know exactly what types of bones I will get from the farmer.

When I made the non-roasted beef stock a while ago I threw the still frozen bones into the pot when I started. But these bones will need to be roasted so I first started by thawing them out. You do not want to try and roast frozen bones.

unroasted bones

Every time I use my baking sheets I line them with aluminium foil or a silicon baking mat. This prevents burning and makes cleanup easy. But when roasting bones you aren't just going to use the bones but you are going also going to want use all the browned roasted juices and fats that are left behind on the baking sheets. This stuff is impossible to scrape off aluminum foil and it will ooze under the silicone baking mats and become difficult to free it up for your pot. So we break from the tradition of the baking mat and put the goods right on the sheet.

If I could break down the bone into smaller pieces with my butcher knife I did. This will maximize the surface area of the bones which will in turn maximize flavor extraction. There are some bones you will not be able to break down without a bone saw. While I do own one I am in the company of a sinus infection and was not about to take the effort to cut the bigger bones down. So they are on a different baking sheet since they will need to roast a little longer than the smaller bones. Bones should be close but not touching. If they touch they won't get browned on those spots. Most of the smaller vegetables are also grouped with the smaller cuts because that tray will leave the oven sooner than the bigger bone baking sheet.

The carrots and onions were also tossed in a bowl with some olive oil to assist them in their browning. Roasted celery won't offer any joy in a stock so it will go into the pot instead of the pans.

roasted bones

Once those bones have roasted for 40-50 minutes with the larger ones being in the oven longer take all of the stuff and dump it into your stock pot. pour one cup of water per sheet pan into the sheet pans and use a metal spatula to scrape all the browned goodness off the pans. It is really baked on then you may want to put the sheet pan on two burners and turn them on like you are making gravy and scrape it some more. Drain all the contents of the pan into the stock pot. Add your celery, pepper corns and bay leaves.

stock in the pot

It is now time to add the water. If you look at a lot off recipes they come down to something like a little less than one pint of water per pound of bones/meat. That really doesn't work in practice. The real amount of water is "as much as it takes to just barely cover the bones. The vegetables will float so you can't use them as your marker. Over time the vegetable will soften and take up less space while they also release their own moisture into the stock. But the bones have to be covered. If they aren't then you are wasting their potential. Depending on the size of your bones you may need more or less water to cover them. The less water you use the more concentrated the flavors and the less likely you will need to reduce your stock later on.

water added

Get this thing up to a boil and then reduce it to a slow, very slow, like one bubble a minute kind of slow, simmer. Let it simmer for three hours. As scum and fat start collecting the top you can start skimming the surface to get rid of both. Scum creates haze. Fat steals from umami. Get rid of them both. But don't be overzealous on the fat. There are two ways to take care of that and the will be covered very shortly.

Do not stir. You may need to poke a few items that pop above the water line but stock making is a non-stirring event. Stirring causes haze. We don't want haze.

If you have a pot with a spigot on it then you can skip the next step. Don't have one? Don't worry. Most people who don't make beer don't.

It is now time to remove all of the solids. You can line a super sized colander with a double layer of cheese cloth and place it into your second largest pot. Pour the stock, bones and all, into it. Then I lift up the colander and place some wooden spoons on the top of the pot to then rest the colander on top and let it drip into it for a while. If you really want a condensed stock you could have this two tier system on a burner and return it to a simmer until you get to your desired flavor concentration.

If you have a pot with a spigot on it you can drain the stock into your second biggest pot. But don't drain all of it. Leave the fat layer that is floating on top of the stock in the original pot. You now can skip the cooling faze that is next if you like and go right to canning.

Cool the stock. You can use an ice bath but it will take a whole lot of ice to do that. You can cover it and let it sit at room temp for a few hours. I am not a big van of that method though because you have an environment in that stock that is an ideal home for lots of bacteria that want to live in and in a few hours even the cleanest pot filled with stock can become a zoo. You can move it into the refrigerator. This is very effective. It is also going to cause your refrigerator to work very hard and it could heat up stuff that is next to it, above it, or if you have glass shelves, on the same shelf as it. So a mostly empty fridge is recommended.

When is it cool enough? When the fat on the top becomes solid and easy to remove. This could take over night. You could, in theory skip all the cooling and skim off all the fat as it was simmering, but you will loose a lot of hard earned stock in the process. This is one of the reasons I love using my brew pot with the spigot on it.

Now prepare your pressure canner and jars. Leave one inch of head space in your jars. Process pints at 20 minutes and quarts at 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Adjust for altitude and all that good stuff.

You now have stock that is very well suited for all kinds of tasty things like lentils or kale with tortellini soup. But I know that the only reason you made this was to make French Onion Soup.

Oh, you want the recipe? It is just a roasted version of the Ball cookbook recipe. Get it here:

Add a comment

Slow Artisan Bread

Note: must be prepared in advance. The dough keeps for up to two weeks
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
3 cups water
Cornmeal, semolina or oats
+ Grab in large plastic resealable container with a lid
+ mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 105 degrees) water.
+ stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead.
+ Cover with towel (not with an airtight lid)
+ Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours.
+ apply container cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks but at least 3 hours.
+ When ready to bake:
+ Preheat oven to 450 degrees,
! this dough will be sticky. Get you hands wet for this next step.
+ With a serrated knife cut enough dough for your needs
+ Sprinkle down a layer of corn meal on insulated cookie sheet or a sheet pan lined with a silicon baking mat
+ Sprinkle a little flower on dough
+ Place dough on prepared cookie sheet and let rest, uncovered, for 20-40 minutes.
+ Using a serrated knife create 1/4 inch deep cuts about 1 inch apart from each other in tic-tac-toe pattern on the top
+ Place a cup or two of boiling water in the oven with the bread (optional but it can help prevent dry crust)
+ Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 20-30 minutes depending on how big a loaf you made.
+ Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool.

Add a comment

fresh baked bread

White Bread

Servings: 2 9x5 loaves
2 cups (450 grams) water, 110f/43c
2/3 cup white sugar, divided
18 grams of dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fat (melted butter, lard or oil), divided
6 cups (720 grams) All Purpose flour
+ in a large bowl mix the water and yeast..
+ Add 4 Tbsp of the sugar and mix it in.
+ Add the yeast and mix it in
+ Let that rest for 10 minutes until it gets frothy
+ In another bowl blend the salt and flour and remaining sugar
+ slowly mix and stir the yeast into the flour mix and then add half of the fat
+ knead until the dough on a lightly floured surface or grab your hand mixer and and kneading attachment and mix it in the bowl.
+ go until the dough passes the Windowpane Test.
+ oil the inside of a bowl or straight edged water pitcher.
+ place dough in the that, cover the top with a damp towel
+ when doubled in size (30-60 min) split the dough into two portions
+ oil two loaf pans
+ transfer the dough into the two loaf pans
+ punch down the dough in the loaf pans
+ let rise until the mound of the dough is one inch above loaf pan (30-90 min)
+ preheat oven to 375f / 150c
+ bring a pot of water to boil
+ score the dough lengthwise down the center of the top of the loaf with a sharp knife
+ place the pot and loaf in oven
+ bake for 25 minutes
+ let it cool down and then transfer it to a cooling rack
+ store in air tight container for up to 6 days.

mise en place

Here is the mise en place of everything ready to get started.

dough pre and post rise

Above is what it looks like before and after the dough doubles. The pitcher gives us a very accurate way of knowing if it has doubled

If you want to make the bread even softer, like Wonder Bread soft you can do that. Use just 2 Tbsp of sugar and cut the yeast in half to 4 grams. Follow the rest of the recipe exactly the same. It will take longer for each rise but it will be as airy as can be and a little less sweet. Before cutting the bread flip it over. It will help you avoid squishing it.

Add a comment


Facebook Feed

Google+ Feed

Twitter Feed

CookScratch This Mexican restaurant makes its own sour mix, from scratch.
CookScratch Do people actually use Crisco to make biscuits? No idea. But we ended up with some and I feel adventurous.
CookScratch Scratch pasta and gravlax. A tasty cold pasta dish. Next time zucchini noodles and some fresh dill.
CookScratch Cooking shows "make your own stock" Rachel Ray <pours from container of her "stock">. Have you read the ingredients of her stuff?

Contact Us

Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.