Talking, baking and planting

I've spent a few Saturday mornings on Skype recently chatting away to people I know through this blog. It's been a lot of fun and many of the women I chatted to said they enjoyed it too. We were all in our own homes, many of us had a cup of tea or coffee and it was like meeting up at the coffee shop with the girls. So I've been thinking I might make it something I do just to socialise. I wonder if there are six people who want to chat on Skype for an hour on a Saturday morning (Brisbane time). You can ask about bread, or cooking, or mending, or whatever, or we can just socialise and get to know each other. Isn't that a great idea! I'll start it in April because I still have a writers chat and a bloggers chat coming up. When they're finished, I'll pick a date and if you comment here or follow me on Instagram, you can email me and let me know you're interested. I think we'll have a great time.

ADDED LATER: Please not, I'm not taking names now. In April, I'll let you know when to contact me via the contact form on the right.


I made a new bread recipe yesterday. Well, I suppose I can't call it a new recipe, I just added oats to my normal bread.  I ground it up in a small food processor and substituted one cup of ground oats for one cup of flour.  I wonder why I waited so long to do that, it was fabulous.  Here is the link to one of my bread posts with the bread recipe.

I put the ingredients in a bread maker to mix and knead, then bake the bread in my normal oven. 

It will save you money to make your own bread. Currently, if you buy a sliced grain loaf at Woolworths if will cost about four dollars.  If you buy bakery bread, it will cost about about the same for a white loaf and about six dollars for a sourdough. Us home bakers can do better than that.  Five kilos of white baker's flour costs $10 at Woolworths, good wholesome flour at a bulk bin shop is about five dollars a kilo.  I usually use half and half when I bake white and wholemeal or grain bread and one third rye and two thirds white when I bake rye bread.  A white loaf made at home will cost about $2.75 to bake at home, a more nutritious loaf will cost nearly as much as you'll pay for it at the bakery, but your loaf will be better. When you bake at home you can add as much or little salt and sugar as you like, you can use whey, watered down yoghurt or milk instead of plain water.  There will be zero packaging on your home made loaf and you'll know with certainty who has touched the bread, what is in it, and exactly when it was baked.


To store the bread, wait till it's completely cold then slice it. I use either an electric knife or a meat slicer. Then it's packed in a plastic bag and stored in the fridge or freezer. It lasts well for about four or five days but after day two, I toast it.


Outside I'm still planting seeds and Hanno is clearing old crops and enriching the soil for the new ones. We have beetroot and turnip seeds to go in soon, the sweet potato slips and cucumbers are ready to plant and the Welsh onions, butter lettuce and long white icicle radishes are all ready to eat. I'm going to plant up a grow bag of potatoes on the weekend. I put in a few new parsley plants a few days ago and they're doing well and the hot chilli I have in the old sand pit must have about 30 chillies on it at the moment. I'll have to make a few jars of chilli jam soon.

So far we have these growing, or the seeds to start them growing: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, ruby chard, green silverbeet, dill, golden nugget pumpkin, red and green curly kale, Tuscan kale, Welsh onions, radishes, pirella leaf, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, beetroot, basil, parsley, oregano, bay, thyme, sage, garlic and red pak choi.  All these will be small amounts and some will have follow up crops.





Of course, it's not all seeds and plants. A couple of days ago I did some garden housekeeping outside. I cleaned all my plant labels with methylated spirits so they're ready for the season.  Today I plan on organising the empty pots and garden tools in the bush house.  And if I think of it this afternoon, when the shade is over the garden, I'll prune and fertilise a couple of roses.

Grown from seeds, I have five F1 Cherry Falls tomatoes to plant in pots.

If you're planting a garden this year, I recommend a new cherry tomato I grew for the first time last year.  Cherry Falls is a delicious, large cherry tomato that was bred to grow in hanging baskets and pots. It's not cheap - $4.95 for 10 seeds, but they're worth it and they produce masses of tomatoes that taste like tomatoes should taste.  It's not a heirloom variety, so you won't be able to save seed at the end of the season, but I don't mind buying fresh seed every year for something this good.

Happy gardening and baking everyone! 💕

24 comments

  1. Hi Rhonda, Wow, that's a great idea about using Skype to chat with your friends and blog followers. You are so creative. It sounds like fun. I have been baking bread again. It is so delicious. I use half white flour, and half semolina flour. It is so chewy and tasty. It stores well in my covered Pyrex bread pan. (with a rubber lid.)

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  2. Good tip to clean the plant labels with metho. I didn't think of that!

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  3. Hi Rhonda I would love to chat on Skype. I think that it would be a great way to spend time on a Saturday morning getting to know other ladies all around Australia. I also really want to try and improve my breadmaking skills as I always fail and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

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  4. I checked out your bread recipe, and it's quite similar to the one I always use for my bread machine, although my recipe adds in an egg. I love the idea of replacing one cup of flour with oat flour - I will definitely try that.

    I always make my bread using the machine now, because it kneads the dough better than I ever could, and also creates the perfect temperature for rising - but I do not bake it in the machine. I don't care for the hard crust the machine creates, and also, if I bake the bread in the oven I can separate the dough into two loaf pans rather than have one super tall loaf.

    I have been making bread for many years, and it's a bit of a shame that I only discovered about two years ago how convenient a bread machine is. I love mine and use it two or three times per week to make dough for bread, pizza or rolls.

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  5. Hi Rhonda and everyone
    A few years ago I discovered soelt flakes as an addition to my bread. It makes beautiful tasting bread. Shame they are now trendy and so expensive.

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    1. Spelt flakes? They'd be similar in texture to oats. White flour has almost no taste so the addition of anything is usually an improvement.

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  6. That bread looks so good. Time time to get proactive here. Our garden has not done too well with the extra hot summer, as it seems for many others . Let's hope we see some good rain soon. New task will be to try and save some seeds.

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  7. Hi Rhonda,
    I make a few different breads but my favourite is sourdough made using half white flour and half wholemeal spelt flour. Rye flour, white flour and caraway seed sourdough makes the best pastrami sandwiches and is also lovely toasted and spread with cream cheese. I also regularly make sourdough bagels and vary the flours I use. My young adult children no longer eat commercially made bread or bagels, saying that they have been spoilt by eating my home made bread.
    As you have said Rhonda, the cost, quality and taste of home made bread makes it a worthwhile activity and using a bread machine or stand mixer with a dough hook makes it a little easier.
    I will definitely be making your delicious looking bread this weekend.
    Take care and enjoy your lovely sounding garden produce.
    Regards,
    Maria from Adelaide.

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  8. I am in Texas USA but would love to be included in chat if I am awake!

    Your posts always validate and uplift me in my ongoing life of simplicity.

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  9. What a great idea about the Skype chat! That would be late afternoon for us, here, which is usually busy, but I'd love to be in the loop for it! I could make it a dedicated tea break! ;)

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  10. Goodmorning Rhonda,
    I love the idea of adding extra goodness to bread especially oats which are so good for you. Rhonda can I ask where you buy the grow bags for the potatoes? I’ve tried Bunnings but have had no luck. I’ll keeo my eye out for F1 tomatoes they sound perfect for me. You certainly have got things ready for your growing season in the garden, can’t wait until we’re doing the same thing. Have a lovely day, Fi.

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    1. Good morning Fi. We bought our grow bags from Green Harvest at Witta. Here's their page with prices etc. https://greenharvest.com.au/tools/pots_and_planter_bags_prod.html

      Last time I looked, Bunnings had Cherry Falls seeds. Have a lovely day.

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  11. It's a lovely time to be gardening now isn't Rhonda. Garlic arrived yesterday, thanks so much and planted this morning. Fingers crossed. I'll send you a note. I've checked out the Green Harvest website and there is a lot of potential there for the future. Your skype session sounds fabulous and should include like minded people from all over the world. Best wishes, Pauline

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    1. Excellent. I hope they grow up there. Let me know what happens. xx

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  12. Hi Rhonda I am hoping you receive this your skype linkup sounds great I would like to be included cheers moira

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    1. I'm not taking names yet Moira. I'll let everyone know in a few weeks time and then everyone will have the opportunity to express their interest.

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  13. Hi Rhonda I am having trouble contacting you Cheers moira

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    1. I just tested the contact form, Moira, and it's working.

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  14. I'm so glad you posted about using the breadmaker. I bought mine from Gumtree and love it. Hubby doesn't like how the bread paddle leaves big holes in the finished loaf so I just let the machine do the kneading and then put the dough into my own bread tin and let it rise and then bake it - love it! I have troublesome knuckles so I struggle with kneading and love that I can have the best of both worlds - home made bread with a bit of help! I've also used the dough setting to do bagels using wholemeal flour and it does a great job prepping the dough. I do have a question though - if I am doing rye bread or using other flours apart from stronger bread flours, would you always add gluten flour? And if so, in what proportions?

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    1. Hi Tracey. I don't add gluten flour to rye bread but I use 1 cup of baker's flour to 3 cups of rye. That is where the gluten comes from. You can bake rye without gluten but the loaf will be very dense - more the traditional rye loaf than what I make. If you want to change plain flour into baker's flour, add 1 tablespoon of gluten flour into 3 cups of plain flour and mix it well before adding anything else.
      I encourage new bakers to add gluten flour (if they can eat gluten) to their bread recipes because when they start, usually they don't knead the dough properly, or for long enough, and it saves a lot of unusable baked loaves. Gluten adds lightness and generally produces a better loaf for most new bakers.
      If you're using a bread machine to knead your dough, you can leave out the gluten flour because the machine will do a good enough job without it.

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  15. I bake our bread, too. Nothing can match it for taste, especially in central Maine where we don't have any good bakeries. Also, as you noted, you know just what is in it, and packaging is minimal. (I store my bread in saved wrappers from other food.)

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  16. Rhonda what a great idea to have regular Skype chats! I'm looking forward to our next writer's chat and will miss them after that, so I will definitely be putting my hand up for a chat later on. Your bread looks so beautiful. I admit to being quite a bread snob and wouldn't eat bought bread any more. The ingredients list is scary.

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  17. We bake all our bread here and since my husband's retirement he has become the better bread baker of the two of us. I am able to buy 50 pounds of bread flour for about $7.50. A loaf costs us a mere 70 cents to bake. We make one loaf at a time in our bread machine. It seems like punishment of we have to eat store bought bread as it is just not as good.

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    1. That is a good price for flour, Lana. We over-pay for just about everything in Australia - from houses right down to our weekly food. My dad was a good baker too. Some men just seem to have the right touch.

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