Wednesday, April 8, 2020

When Flour is in Short Supply

Flour might be in short supply right now, just when you need or want to bake more bread. There are ways to stretch the flour you have.

First, every time you empty a sack of commercial bread, empty the crumbs into a container and freeze. When you slice homemade bread there are usually more crumbs, so make sure to save those, too. When you have enough, put it your blender or food processor or work it with a fork until it's fine like flour and use it to replace up to a fourth of the flour in breads.

Other things than wheat flour can be used to stretch the wheat flour you have. Consider using a half cup of cornmeal, instant oats or hot cereal blend. If you have hot cereal like Wheatena, use that.

If you have a flour mill or a good food processor, so much the better. You can make flour from any grains, bought or wild (seed). Oats, rye and barley are the most common but don't overlook quinoa, millet and amaranth.

If you're a wild food enthusiast, you may have various wild grains or seeds that can be milled and added.

Don't be afraid to experiment, just keep a few things in mind:

Remember that it takes gluten for bread to rise and wheat is the best source for that, so you need wheat in some form after it has been milled.

Knead bread that has other grains in it a little more than with plain wheat flour. Whole grain flours absorb more liquid than processed white flour, so allow a little more liquid than your recipe calls for.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

3 Frugal Reminders for Times of Scarcity

It's no secret that some things are hard to find right now. If you find yourself wondering how to stretch what you have until you can find what you need, or if you are trying to stretch to keep from having to go hunting... or if you just want to be frugal and mindful of the situation, here are a few things we may have forgotten along the way.

1. Manufacturers nearly always recommend that we use more of a product than is necessary. Laundry detergent, shampoo and dish soap amounts can all be cut back and still do their job. For laundry detergent, cut back by a third of what you usually use and if your clothes get clean (they will), cut back a little more and a little more until you see a difference then increase until you are happy with it.

For shampoo, only lather once. There's no need to lather and rinse twice unless you have been mud wrestling, and even then, a good rinse before lathering does just as well.

If, when you do dishes by hand, your water is still quite sudsy by the time you're finished, you are using too much soap. The suds are not what cleans anyway but they are a measure of how much is "used up" in the water. That's assuming you know  how to wash dishes in a pan and not under running water. Using a sponge or cloth and reloading it constantly while washing dishes is very wasteful, both of soap and water.

2. Use less meat by cooking more  soup, stew and casseroles. You can cut down the amount of meat in those dishes and no one will even notice. Other sources of protein, like eggs, cheese and peanut butter may be in short supply also, so get used to stretching what you have. 

There are many eggless recipes online and just being a little less generous with peanut butter or cheese can help.

3. Use rags instead of paper towels. Cut up  old t-shirts or hem other material for tissues and napkins. Even think about "family cloth" to stretch the toilet paper. It wasn't all that long ago that we didn't use disposable anything and we don't need to do it now, when products are hard to find.

There are many other ways to cut back on our use of products. This blog and many other frugal living blogs can give you ideas that will make getting through this thing a lot easier!