Monthly Archives: January 2016

Baking Bread: Brazilian Cheese Bread

I have been borrowing cookbooks like crazy from the library. One of my recent borrows is the cookbook, Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson. I’ve taken to placing post-it notes at each recipe that I want to try and one of them was her recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread. I was able to make this bread on Friday, but I haven’t had a chance to post about it until now. I do have a few bakes scheduled for today, but before I go tackle those, I wanted to post about these little puff balls of chewiness.

Here is a recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread at Simply Recipes. I haven’t tried this particular cheese bread recipe but I probably will soon. I love anything I have made from Simply Recipes.

I can’t seem to find the actual recipe I used online anywhere. This is probably because it is from a published cookbook.

Some issues I had with the recipe from Simply Nigella:

  1. The batter was really, really runny. I think this might be because I didn’t bring the milk up to enough of a boil before adding it to the tapioca flour.
  2. I had one child who did not like the cheese bread. I think for him it was a texture thing.
  3. I ended up making about 90 of these breads instead of just 50 like the recipe said.
  4. I don’t think the breads puffed up as much as they should have.



I have quite a few bags of gluten-free flours in my fridge. Tapioca flour is a lot like cornstarch!

Josh and I went on a gluten-free diet for about a month sometime last year. So I had to buy gluten-free flours. Once we were off the diet though, I was left with flours that I don’t use very much taking up space in my fridge! This is one reason I made the macarons a few weeks ago. My goal for the next month or two is to use up these flours. Who knows though; I may end up buying a few of these flours regularly!



This is the consistency of my cheese bread batter before I added the milk mixture from the stove.


This is after I added the milk. It was very, very runny!


The cheese bread on the baking sheet and in the oven.


My cheese breads all puffed up after baking. But… some of them didn’t stay that way. Some of them went flat after baking!

The texture of these was a little odd and took a bit of getting used to (very chewy!), but they were kind of addicting! In fact, I had little people (and one big son who is taller than I am) coming into the kitchen every few minutes to take one or two to snack on. I think they lasted maybe two days. They were really, really chewy the next day, but that didn’t bother my kids any. They still ate them up with lunch or as a snack. The cheese bread also toasted up decently in the toaster oven and regained its crispy exterior.

I will definitely make these again! I will try a different cheese next time and use a different recipe. I also need a recipe that doesn’t make quite so many!


Please visit us on Facebook.

Sourdough Pizza Crust – 3rd time!

I had two bowls of sourdough starter taking up space in my fridge, plus it is Friday! So what do I decide to make? Sourdough pizza crust using one bowl of sourdough starter!

Number one, I probably will not do this again when my oldest son has band practice (he plays the flute). It was at the wrong time of afternoon and I had to put off getting the crust into the pans because of it. Dinner ended up being at 6:30! That’s a little too late for us.

Number two, I don’t know why, but my family ate this crust up. There were no leftovers! The last time I made this crust there were leftovers.

I used the same recipe I did the last time: King Arthur Flour Sourdough Pizza Crust.

The things I changed:

  1. I used my own Pizza Dough seasoning.
  2. I doubled the recipe.

Pizza Dough seasoning

Pizza Dough Seasoning

Note: I used Penzey’s spices.

2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle

1/4 Tbsp roasted garlic seasoning

1/4 Tbsp toasted granulated onion

1/4 Tbsp Tuscan Sunset


This is my happy sourdough starter. I had an extra bowl of it in the fridge for when I wanted to make pizza crust again. I have to double the recipe for the pizza crust to feed all of us and that takes 2 cups of starter. If I used my main starter for this, I would have no starter left!


Because of the larger amount of pizza dough, I wasn’t able to use my KitchenAid mixer to knead the dough for me. I ended up kneading the dough by hand for about 15 minutes. I’m still not sure that was long enough either! It probably could have used another 5-10 minutes. I got a good arm workout today.


My pizza dough proofed for a VERY long time. Probably too long! I just was not able to get the dough into the pan when I wanted to. I started the dough around 10 and had it in the bowl to rise by about 11. I was going to try and get the dough into the pan around 2:45 to 3 but that didn’t work out (band practice was at 2:15). I had to wait until almost 4 to prepare the pans.


One of the pans of pizza dough ready to be baked. I pre-baked the crust for 8 minutes at 450 degrees F after brushing it with olive oil.

pizzaslice pizzawhole

After the pre-bake, I put the toppings on: pizza sauce, bacon, salami, provolone, mozzarella, and purple kale. Yes, kale! The pizza needed some green (and some purple too!) and that was all the green I had in the fridge that would work.

My suspicions on why these pizzas disappeared and my last ones didn’t:

  1. Everything tastes better with bacon. This is a fact.
  2. The kale? No, that can’t be it.
  3. The pizza dough seasoning?

I think I might have gone overboard with the garlic. The roasted garlic seasoning I used is VERY strong. I probably could have used half what I did.

The crust didn’t rise in the pans as much as I would have liked, but that’s okay. Since there were no leftovers, I guess the crust was good!

I was REALLY surprised that there were no complaints about the kale. At least, no complaints that I heard. My youngest son did ask “what are these black things?” though. He did eat it even after picking it off. I actually liked the kale on the pizza. It provided some leafy crispiness.

My pizza must always have bacon on it from now on. Always.


We have a Facebook page!  Visit it here: The Geek Homestead.






Baking Bread: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Since we started making our own bread, I have been using our bread machine almost every day! And since I am new to this, I have been starting simple with my breads.

My next bread bake is supposed to be pretzel rolls and I am going to use A_Boleyn’s recipe from her site. We still have plain bread though and we need to finish it before I make something new. I had made a blueberry bundt cake for breakfast, which actually turned out to be mostly a fail. This was because my kids weren’t too happy with the amount of blueberries in it. Josh and I enjoyed it though.


Maybe I did go a little overboard with the amount of blueberries because this bundt cake had a hard time staying together!

Now that the bundt cake is gone, I had to come up with something else for breakfast. I went with a cinnamon swirl bread. The best thing about this bread is that I was able to prep the dough using the bread machine instead of having to knead it myself. This recipe from was simple, which is the best way for me to start with breadmaking. Was I tempted to try and do something a little different than the recipe said?  Oh yes!  Always! But I behaved myself and stuck to the recipe, mostly.


After the dough cycle was done in the bread machine, all I had to do was dump out the dough onto a floured surface, punch it down, and let it rest for 10 minutes while I mixed up the cinnamon filling. I left out the walnuts because I wasn’t sure if my kids would like it. I’m actually not that big of a fan of nuts in my cinnamon bread either. Then, I cut the dough in half with this crinkle cutter.  I think I am going to need a bench knife someday if I am going to keep making bread like this.



This dough was so easy to work with. I had to roll out and prep each half of dough in between dropping off and picking up my oldest son from his piano lesson. Good thing his piano lesson is just down the street!


This is the bread right after I put it in the pan. It didn’t rise that much during this stage. I let it rise for about 45 minutes. I probably should have given it a little more time.


Here are the two loaves after they were done baking for 30 minutes. I did go away from the recipe by topping the loaves with some butter and brown sugar before putting the loaves in the oven. The loaf on the left might have browned just a little bit too much.


Of course, I had to let my kids taste test the bread for me. This is the loaf on the right side of the cutting board. I’m not sure if the bottom is underbaked or if that is just the melted brown sugar that got underneath the loaf. My kids did like it because they have been asking if they can have more. With the seven of us, I think these two loaves will be gone pretty quick! This would probably make some really good French toast but I don’t think it will last that long!


We can also be found on Facebook.





Branching Out

We’ve created a Facebook page that is linked to our WordPress blog! There will be a few different things posted on the Facebook page that might not show up here on the blog, so it will not be a complete mirror of this site. Please like our Facebook page if you can!

Also, I feel like we should explain the change in our name. .44 Hobby Farm is a little bit confusing because of the first character being a period. I think it also might have given the impression that we own 44 acres instead of only a .44 of an acre! I know though that Josh would love to own 44 acres! I’m not sure we will ever own that much land, especially here in Southern California! So we wanted to change our name to something a little simpler and easier to remember.

Hopefully, next month we will be changing our WordPress site address to the domain name, The Geek Homestead. Only the name will be changing though, not our posts! We will still be posting about our successes and failures in our journey to becoming more self-sufficient.

Why The Geek Homestead? Josh and I love computer games and video games (though with 5 kids, we don’t get to play them so much anymore!  Priorities you know ;), science fiction of most any kind (Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek), board games (Catan and Dominion), and books (we don’t have nearly enough bookcases in our house, but it’s hard to buy more because we don’t have space for them!). We also tend toward technology and science in the extra-curricular portion of our homeschooling.

Thank you so much to all our readers and followers! You have all been an inspiration to us. We really love the community we have found at WordPress and look forward to being around for quite a while!

-Joshua and Lynn


Lego Challenge Tuesday – Build A Race Car

Source: Lego Challenge Tuesday – Build A Race Car


Thank you to Gather Love Grow for another Lego challenge.  Today’s challenge was to make a car and drive it down a ramp.

Our 11 year old made the car that was the fastest, most durable, and drove the furthest.  I guess that isn’t a surprise since he is the oldest.  All of them had problems with the wheels staying on the cars when they drove from the ramp onto the concrete.

We also used a piece of drywall to create a ramp in the house.  That one was for who could drive the furthest.  Unfortunately, none of the pictures of that turn out well.

This challenge was such fun that our 2 year old daughter wanted to get involved.  She didn’t have a car so she grabbed a Lego piece with a Lego flower attached and slid it down the ramp.  Her “car” almost did as well as the cars her brothers made.


crash1 copy

All 4 of the cars together

All 4 of the cars together

Our 11 year old's car

Our 11 year old’s car




Half a sheet of plywood makes a good ramp

Half a sheet of plywood makes a good ramp









I am also going to put a couple of short videos of the cars driving on our Facebook page.


%d bloggers like this: