Autumn is upon us (although we keep regressing back to Summer in Philadelphia). Time to try something new! I sold my beloved kiln and controller that I used for bead annealing, fusing glass and, most recently, metal clay. I want to upgrade to a kiln that can handle cone 6 firing so I can work with porcelain on a regular basis. Here are some new baubles I’m currently working on. Cone 6 white porcelain and Mason stains, unglazed.
I wrote a review of Prometheus Clay while back. This time I tried Five Star Bronze Clay which is also torch fireable. And I can say that Prometheus clay wins hands down, at least for torch firing. I find Prometheus easier to condition, easier to work with and I got more consistent results with the torch. I have not tried kiln firing with 5 Star Bronze yet. I’ll let you know the results when I do. But the BIG story is that I am now making my own bronze clay. I saw Alan Wiggens’ YouTube videos on the subject and decided to give it a try. I read about metallurgy to get an understanding of the sintering process so I could find the best deal on a powdered bronze that would work. Preliminary torch fire tests have been successful! Not in making a finished product, but in making metal that I can pound out with a hammer. I am eager to test my homemade clay in a kiln which is how Alan Wiggens recommends firing it. Stay tuned.
My mother made bread every week when I was growing up so the process is no mystery to me. I generally throw flour into a bowl, add yeast and some honey and sugar to feed the yeast and park it under the kitchen tap and turn on the water. No measuring, no recipe. And no salt.
I have a friend who says that the flour and bread we buy in the United States is stale and a bit moldy and that is the reason most (not all) people have a problem with gluten. (I have another friend who gets sick every time she eats pasta in the U.S. but can eat all the bread an pasta she wants when she goes to Italy). So I decided to grind my own flour. I got a grinding mill and 40 lbs of wheat berries. Grinding your own flour is not cheaper than buying it, although there are wheat berry bargains to be had. And the process is labor intensive. First, you have to drag the 40 lb bucket into the house. Then you have an argument with your husband about where to set up the mill. Then you and your husband have to watch an [expletive deleted] video to figure out how to get the [expletive deleted] lid off of the [expletive deleted] bucket of [expletive deleted] wheat berries.
Next comes the grinding. After hand cranking the wheat berries, we learned why we refer to arduous tasks as a “grind.” (Or maybe he knew already. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature).
Here is the flour. What you don’t see is all the[expletive deleted] flour around my kitchen.
Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven,. Well, almost nothing.
And in the spirit of trying something new, let me introduce you to our new motor for the grain mill. It makes a sound like squealing pigs on steroids, but it does the job. And the towel is to keep down the flour dust.
Now, on to trying the autolyze process.
On a final note, even Boris is trying something new. He is off the Prescription Diet and is now eating a new, almost as expensive Hills Science cat food. And he likes it!
Talk about starting from scratch! I’m impressed! [But I think your link to the DIY Bronze clay is broken…]
The link, she is fixed! Thanks for letting me know. I will be impressed if I get good results with the bronze clay in the kiln. 🙂
Your adventures in wheat grinding were good for a laugh—but the finished product looks delicious! As for the differences in domestic and foreign wheat, I believe it is glyphosate that is used here, but banned elsewhere. I’ve heard imported Italian pasta can be eaten by lots of gluten sensitive people. Where did your wheat berries come from? I agree you can dodge the mold and staleness that way, but if it isn’t organic and nonGMO it could still be a problem. Have fun. Love your blog!
Thanks for your kind comments. I do not pretend to know much about gluten intolerance. I am going to read up on glyphosate with which I am totally unfamiliar. I suppose I could say the same thing about men, but I don’t think I will find as much research on them.
And I firmly believe that people have the right to eat what they want and to stay away from food that makes them feel bad or that they simply don’t like. Without unsolicited comments. I knew someone with a nut allergy that a relative decided was “all in his head.” She put some ground up nuts in a cake to test her theory, and he ended up in the emergncy room.
A lot of things are touted as “ non-GMO” but in fact, only a limited number of crops are on the GMO list (so far!). So the consumer thinks she is getting something special when in fact it’s the standard. Kind of like pushing candy corn as a no fat snack. Which I have seen. 🤦🏻♀️ For more information, go to https://gmoanswers.com/current-gmo-crops. (I love candy corn btw)
The wheat berries, from Augason Farms, are labeled “all natural.” (Yikes! I sure as h**l hope so! 😫.) The all natural label is often used misleadingly. Lead and arsenic are all natural too, but I would not eat them. I bought the berries on Amazon. Augason Farms deals with the energency preparedness and survival market. The berries do not list any preservatives or additives (which is what Augason Farms must mean by all natural) but the berries don’t need them if they are dried and stored correctly. People were eating and storing wheat long before modern preservatives came into being. The berries are not certified organic.
I must confess that I have still not gotten my mind around the whole organic thing. Maybe that’s my sceptical Sicilian half. I refuse to spend my money on organic junk food at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. They are as much a part of agribusiness as General Mills. OTOH, I am in favor of buying local, from Farmers Markets and small farms even if they are not certified. For more info, see https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certification/need-be-certified.