Sunday, November 30, 2014


Here begins the adventures I am sharing with you as we go along our journey to our Sustainable Sanctuary.

Kirsten Mia

Friday, November 28, 2014

Salted Caramel

1 cup sugar
6 T butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt

Set out the butter and heavy cream for a bit to come up to room temperature.

Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.

Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir.

Be careful not to burn it at this point.

Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.

Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream while whisking. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.

Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.

Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.

Kirsten Mia

Photographs by Kirsten Hughes Photography
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

French Bread

6 Cups All Purpose flour
2 1/2 packages (or .25 oz.) (or 2 Tablespoons bulk) active dry yeast 
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Cups warm water (110 degrees F or 45 degrees C)
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water and beat until well blended using a wooden spoon. At this point I tend to be mixing with my hands, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface knead in remaining flour, add more by tablespoons until enough flour has been added to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into a large rectangle. Roll up, starting from the long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.

Grease a large baking sheet or use parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and gently brush on tops of loaves. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.

With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across the top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush loaves again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. 

I use this recipe for the bread for my bread pudding and it makes wonderful french toast!

I received this same bread knife as a gift about 15 years ago. I have only used it for bread and have hand washed it and it still cuts like it's brand new. Set of 2 Tramontina Optimum Stainless Steel Bread Knives with 8" Serrated Edge Blades & Wood Handles

 Sustainable Sanctuary 

 Kirsten Hughes Photography
Photos by Kirsten Hughes Photography