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I have been making a lot of beef broth the last few months between a bull we brought in and a few extra boxes of bones we’ve since gathered from that same butcher. Beef broth is no joke with its thick layer of fat on top of each pot and its necessitating a hacksaw to get the bones into the pots. But it is deep nourishment and cheap as well so I am grateful.

So every week I have been about the business of making plenty of broth. Here’s how.

Making Beef Broth

We bring home large boxes full of bones from the butcher. After cutting the larger ones with a hacksaw, we generally fill three large stock pots. I then proceed as follows:

  1. Cover the bones with filtered water and a splash of apple cider vinegar and simmer for 12-18 hours.
  2. Turn off heat and let pots rest for an additional 8-12 hours.
  3. Skim off the fat and set aside. Remove bones and pour into quart jars.
  4. Eat straight away or preserve either by canning or stashing in our solar freezer (or our neighbor’s).

frozen-broth

Preserving Broth: Freezing

Do you see the crack at the bottom of the jar above? Also, notice the fat pushing out from the jar rim. This batch of broth I had jarred thinking they were making their way into a refrigerator. I later found out we would be storing them in our small solar freezer but didn’t change the volume in the jars to compensate. Big mistake!

Liquids expand when they are frozen and so the most important thing you can do when freezing broth is to fill your jars only about 80% full. This should give them room to expand and you will be far less likely to lose jars and broth in the process.

We eat through our broth in a week as we can’t store it too long with our solar freezer. We have also been using the frozen broth as “ice” in a cooler we keep a few grocery store items in. So every morning we move two jars from the cooler into the kitchen for cooking and then two jars go from the solar freezer and into the cooler to thaw and act as ice.

Preserving Broth: Canning

The main method I use for preserving broth for the long term is canning. This gives us long term storage without having to use our solar freezer which isn’t always reliable. After all of the broth is made and strained into jars I follow these canning guidelines from the USDA:

Table 1. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 25 11 12 13 14
Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 25 10 15

Source

With all of this broth going in and out of pots, we have been consuming at least two quarts per day or 3-4 gallons per week. If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of bone broth and the minerals, collagen, gelatin, and easily assimilated amino acids it contains, this article has a lot of great information.

Do you make and eat bone broth?

easy-sourdough-rolls-close-2

For this easy overnight bread I simply mix four ingredients together in a bowl right before I go to bed. The next morning, whenever I get around to it, I dump the dough onto a floured work surface. Pat it down and cut into squares. Let rise 1 – 1.5 hours and then bake. That’s about 10 minutes of hands-on time for fresh sourdough bread.

Breads like these are the kind I bake several times per week for my bread eaters and I know I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t so simple. These little rolls are somewhere between a soft dinner roll and an English muffin. They have lots of nooks and crannies for holding grass-fed butter and work great for tucking in homegrown eggs for breakfast.

When it comes to bread there are only a few requisites in our house. As the baker, I choose breads that are simple and hands-off and sustainable in the sense that I can make it frequently without it being a huge burden.

Secondly, it has to be homemade and fermented. Homemade so we can do it inexpensively and make sure we’re eating real food. Fermented because the lactic acid in a sourdough starter helps to break down the grain, boost the B vitamins, and leaves us without that heavy feeling often felt after eating bread.

Sourdough starter also allows us to avoid having to buy commercial yeast. This, again, saves money but we also just feel better when we avoid commercially-leavened breads. It might be the yeast or the lack of the non-industrialized fermentation process, but either way its recipes like this that make eating bread regularly possible.

easy-sourdough-rolls-close

Easy Overnight Sourdough Rolls

Note: All-purpose flour does work in this recipe but it does not absorb as much moisture. To compensate, knock the hydration down by lowering the water volume to 1 1/4 cup.

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the starter and water in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and flour and mix with a fork or wooden spoon until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover and allow to ferment overnight at room temperature.

After 8-12 hours, generously flour a work surface or parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle again lightly with flour. Pat the dough down into a rectangle one inch thick. Use a dough scraper or large, sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 squares.

Space the rolls evenly on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 – 1.5 hours. After 45 minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Once the rolls have had their rise time (they should have puffed slightly but will not have doubled), place them in a hot oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through. To serve, split with a fork and pass the butter, jam, or fried eggs.

For more easy-to-make naturally leavened breads (both wheat and gluten-free) see Traditionally Fermented Foods, available for pre-order now and everywhere May 9th.