Mountaintop Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 beaten egg
1 cup low-fat milk

1 Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.

2 Stir flour so it is not packed from being in container. Measure dry ingredients and level off. Sift flour with sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt into medium bowl.

3 Cut in shortening, with pastry blender or 2 knives (used scissors-fashion), until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

4 Combine egg and milk, and add to flour mixture all at once. Stir with fork just long enough to make a soft dough that forms a ball.

5 On lightly floured surface, knead lightly about ten times. Roll or pat dough to 1-inch thickness using as little flour as possible. Cut straight down into dough with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist cutter.

6 Place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Staffordshire Oatcake


225g fine oatmeal
225g wholewheat or plain flour
1tsp salt
15g yeast
450ml warm milk
450ml warm water
1tsp sugar


Mix the water and milk together.
Mix the salt to the flour and oatmeal in a large bowl.
Dissolve the yeast with a little warm liquid and add the sugar. Allow the mixture to become frothy.
Mix the dry ingredients with the yeast liquid to make a batter adding the remainder of the warm liquid.
Cover the batter with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
Pour out enough batter on a well-greased griddle to make an oatcake of about 22cm. The surface will be covered in holes as it cooks.
Flip the oatcake after 2-3 minutes when the top side has a dry appearance and the underneath is a golden brown colour and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Try to use the heaviest frying pan available as this will keep the heat constant which is best for making oatcakes. Great served with fried bacon, mushrooms and cheese as a savoury snack or with butter and jam as a sweet treat.

Oatcakes can be frozen and a microwave is the ideal method of defrosting and reheating them.

I’m not sure if you would call these a pancake here in the USA or not. The Brits serve them with cheese bacon, or sausages. Or else covered with Brown sauce.

Oat cakes on cooling rack

Finished Oatcakes with different fillings

Peasant Bread

The bread hardly rises at all because it does not contain a rising agent, but it is excellent with pasta dishes or stew. Italians often serve the garlic version as a first course.

500ml (2 cups) bread flour
10ml (2 teaspoons) olive or sunflower oil
a little salt
milk to mix

Mix all ingredients together well to form a very stiff dough. Knead thoroughly to spread the oil through the bread, then form the dough into a ball. Divide the ball in 2 and flatten each half. Roll each out into a circle 5mm thick. Cook on both sides on a grid or griddle over hot coals. Serve hot, either plain or with butter and jam. VARIATIONS Garlic Bread: Sprinkle 2 cloves garlic (chopped), or 10ml (2 teaspoons) dried crushed garlic over each bread round before baking. Serve plain or with butter. Herb Bread: Add 45 ml (3 tablespoons) Parmesan cheese to the dry ingredients, and sprinkle 15ml (3 teaspoons) dried mixed herbs over each bread round before baking. Serve plain or with butter.

Beer Bread Recipe


500 g of self raising flour.

One 340 ml beer can of your choice.

¼ teaspoon of salt
Mix flour, salt and beer.Prepare pot with thin layer of butter, and add the mix.Place a thin layer of coals underneath the pot, and 4 to 5 coals on top of the closed lid. (Lid coals should be replaced after 20 minutes)Total baking time is 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Onion Bread


500 g of self raising flour.
500 ml butter milk.
Packet of onion soup.
Teaspoon of baking powder.

Add flour, baking powder and onion soup. Add butter milk and mix. Prepare pot with thin layer of butter, and add the mix. Thin layer of coals underneath pot, and 4 to 5 coals on top of closed lid.

Lid coals should be replaced after 20 minutes. Total baking time 45 min

Mountainman Bread

Mountainman Bread

24-hour rise; makes one 2 lb loaf

3 cups flour + 1 cup flour for kneading

1¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon yeast

2 Tablespoons sugar

1½ cups water at 125º

4 Tablespoons melted butter

Dry mix 3 cups flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Pour in the warm water and stir with the handle of a wooden spoon to incorporate. Let sit for half an hour and then knead for 10 minutes on a floured counter. Put the doughball back into the bowl, cover with a cloth and set near the fire to rise for several hours.

Mountain Man Bread on Quarry Tiles
Barely melt 4 Tablespoons of butter and pour over the risen dough. Work the butter into the dough, and knead on a floured counter. With the addition of the butter, your dough will take in a bit more of the flour. Work for a few minutes until supple. Put doughball back into the bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator to rest overnight.
In the morning, take out the bowl, punch down the dough and let sit on a counter for a few hours, covered with a cloth.
Line a bread basket with a thin cloth (dish towel or cloth napkin) and sprinkle flour on the cloth. Deflate the now puffy dough, form it into an elongated ball, and put it into the lined basket. Sprinkle more flour over the dough, cover with the edges of the cloth and let rise for 1½ hours.
Put the rack of your oven one notch below center, and set 6 quarry tiles close together on the rack. Preheat oven to 425º for 30 minutes or more.
Once loaf has risen and the oven is preheated, quickly remove the dough from the cloth and shove it onto the hot quarry tiles. Close the oven door and bake at 425º for 30 minutes. Lower heat to 350º, and bake another 20 – 30 minutes, until crust is medium brown. (For extra bloom, throw 4 ounces of hot water onto the bottom of the oven in the first 5 minutes of baking.)
Cool on a rack for 1 hour before digging in!

Woodfired Sourdough Bread

Make 3 loaves, 23 ounces each

For the Starter:

2/3 cup rye flour

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup cold water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Mix these together in a large bread bowl with the handle of a wooden spoon, scraping the sides clean as you go. Cover with a clean dish cloth or a loose-fitting lid and let rise in a cool place (55-60° environment) for 12-14 hours until frothy.

First replenishment:

½ cup rye flour

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/8 cup cold water

Add these to your starter to ‘feed’ it in the morning. Scrape the sides again, put on a loose-fitting lid or a piece of plastic wrap and let it sit in a cool place for another 10-12 hours.

Second replenishment:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup cold water

Feed the starter again, this time with wheat flour only. Let sit covered in a cool place for 10 hours or overnight.

Make the dough: By morning, the starter should be bubbly and somewhat risen. It will also smell sour, which is the smell of active lactobacillus fermenting in the mix. This is good. Now add to the starter

2 cups of water at 105°

½ teaspoon of active dry yeast

4 cups of unbleached white bread flour (I use Pendleton Mills ‘Morbread’ with 12% gluten)

3 teaspoons of salt

2 Tablespoons of flaxseed meal (optional)

Mix the dough well, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients, and then knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Return the dough to a clean bread bowl, cover and let rise for 5 hours at room temperature (68-70°).

Deflate the dough, turning it over as best you can and leave to rest for a further 1 to 1½ hours before shaping into loaves.

For Baking in a Woodfired Oven: For best results, bake this bread in an oven that has been heated for 2½ hours by a medium-sized active fire. In the last hour, move the fire from side to side to allow even heating of the floor tiles. After this time, move the active but non-flaming coals to the back, throw on a fistful of hardwood twigs and sweep the floor clean of ashes. Once the twigs have finished burning, you’re ready to bake the bread.

For Baking in a conventional oven: Line the center rack with quarry tiles or a pizza stone and preheat at 450° for at least half an hour. When the loaves are ready for baking, drop the heat to 400°.

Form the loaves / final rise: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. (note: if using a conventional oven, you can only bake 2 at a time; put one of the pieces back into the bread bowl for another hour.) Form a ball with each piece by stretching the longest skin of dough across the surface and tucking it underneath.

Line 3 baskets with cloth napkins or dish cloths, and sprinkle generously with flour. Plop the dough balls into these, toss on a bit more flour, cover with the corners of the cloth and let rise for 1¼ hours in a warm place.

Once risen, turn the unbaked loaves onto either a wooden peel or the back of a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush loaves lightly with an eggwhite mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water and slash as desired.

For Baking in a Woodfired Oven: Slip the unbaked loaves into the oven in a semi-circle about 12” away from the coals. Close the door all the way and bake for 1 hour, turning several times to bake evenly. Loaves are ready when the crust is medium brown.

For Baking in a conventional oven: Slip loaves 2 at a time directly onto the tiles or pizza stone. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°, lower the heat to 350°, and bake for another 40 minutes, turning the loaves as necessary to ensure even baking. Loaves are ready when the crust is medium brown.

Spanish tortillas

Bearing no resemblance to the Mexican flat breads of the same name these potato omelets are very filling in the mornings.

Almost a national dish of Spain they seem to be relatively unknown in the USA.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 (7-ounce) package pre-cooked chorizo, thinly sliced
1/2 pound red potatoes, cubed, boiled until tender and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1 pinch
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 eggs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick or cast iron saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers, cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chorizo, potatoes, garlic, and cilantro stirring carefully as to not break up the potatoes, cook 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl whisk eggs with a pinch of salt until well blended. Add eggs to the pan with the chorizo mixture. Stir gently with a heatproof spatula, allowing the bottom to cook, pulling away at the sides to allow the egg on top to run underneath as if cooking an omelet.

When eggs are mostly set but still a little runny place pan in oven for about 5 minutes until set and slightly puffed and brown on top.

Remove from oven. Cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Or even

Spanish Tortilla

1/2 cup of Olive Oil
2 pound potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
6 eggs
2 tsp salt
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
Medium onion, chopped

Before starting you have to put your potato slices in warm water and let them sit until they get soft. After heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in an iron pan. Stir in the slices of potato, chopped onion and peppers. Season with salt and let fry on medium heat for 15-20 minutes turning occasionally. You will see the potatoes and onions start to brown. Drain off the additional oil and set it to the side. While your potatoes are cooking beat your eggs with 1 tsp of salt until they are frothy. After your potatoes are finished take them out of the pan and stir them in carefully with the egg mixture. Take the remaining oil that you set aside and put it in a nonstick pan.

This is the important part that many people mess up (myself included). You need to heat the oil and make sure it is really hot, but be careful not to burn it. Olive oil burns easily so you need to watch it. When the oil is hot put the egg and potato mixture in the pan. The heat will cause the outside shell to get hard, making it easier to turn around. Do not leave the heat on high for too long because you will burn the egg, and nothing tastes worse that burned egg. When you see the outside shell beginning to form, flip the mixture over with the help of a plate. Cook on the other side. Touch the tortilla and when it is soft you will know that it is ready. If you like the inside juicy, don’t leave it for too long.

Hate rolling out your tortillas and flat breads?

If you’re like me you detest rolling out tortillas and flat breads. Well there is an easier way that you don’t often see mentioned in the recipe sections.

A tortilla press. The one pictured below is a cast iron eight inch model.


Cast iron eight inch tortilla press

Eight inch Cast iron tortilla press



All you do is roll the dough into about golf-ball sized balls place them slightly to the back of center and press. Out comes a perfect tortilla. (If everything goes right)

My personal favorite is this style:


Wooden tortilla press

Wooden tortilla press.



As you can see this model is easy to make yourself if you wish. The only really critical point is to remember that when the press is shut there should be an 1/8 inch gap between the top and bottom.

After all, you are making flat breads not crepes.

To buy a press usually costs around twenty dollars.

The two I’ve pictured her are from Amazon and can be found at:

Cast iron

Wooden press

Making mead

I ran across this on the web about 4 hard drives ago. I just found the disc it was saved on and thought I would post it up here. To the original author I’m sorry I don’t remember who or where this came from.


Basic concepts about making mead:

Making mead is really very simple.  You combine water and yeast with some ‘food’ for the yeast (honey) and flavoring agents.  The yeast bubbles away in an anaerobic environment, turning some of the sugars into alcohol, and you get a nice beverage at the end.

When you add spices to the basic honey/water/yeast mixture, it’s technically called a metheglin.  Don’t count on anyone outside of the local Renaissance Faire or homebrew shop knowing that, though.

You will be adding wine yeast (or sherry or champagne yeast) to do the fermenting.  You want to keep all of the other ‘wild’ yeasts in the air out of your mead, since they may sour it.  Therefore:  wash everything with a mild bleach solution and rinse it very well before you use it.  This includes pots and pans, funnels, and especially glass jugs.  (Some people say this isn’t necessary, including some well respected mead-makers, but I don’t have their confidence yet, so I’m careful to keep things clean.)


2 or 3 cloves, lightly cracked

2 sticks of cinnamon, cracked

dash of cardamom

2 to 4 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (just the thin yellow part, not the white part of the peel)

2 lbs. raw honey (get this at a health food store – don’t use a processed honey like “SueBee”)

1 packet of wine yeast*

¼ cup vodka or grain alcohol

*Get this yeast at a homebrew shop.  I have tried several kinds with good results.  Some to try as a beginner:  Flor Sherry, Cotes des Blancs.


large stockpot, 4 quarts or larger with lid (or use plastic wrap to cover)

strainer or sieve

1 glass wine jug (but 2 will make it easier)

4 to 6 feet of plastic tubing (1/2” or so) OR a large funnel

Optional Equipment: (definitely not necessary, but more “techie”)

rubber stopper and airlock to fit the glass jug

specific gravity indicator

commercial “yeast nutrient”

wine bottles for serving (or sharing!) the mead more easily


Day 1, preferably during a waxing moon, to encourage the mead to ripen: Clean the stockpot with a bleach solution and rinse well.  Put cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon peel in about 2 quarts of water and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the spices have scented the water.  Add water to bring the volume to about 3 quarts, and return to a simmer.  Add the honey, stirring constantly, and heat but do not boil.  Skim off white scum as it forms.  If the scum is yellow, reduce the heat.  When no more scum forms, remove the pot from the heat, cover it to keep out airborne yeast, and leave it overnight.  It must reach room temperature before you continue, or you will kill the yeast.

Day 2: Strain the mixture to remove as much of the spice particles as possible.  You will have to strain it into something, so use another (cleaned and rinsed) pot, or the (cleaned and rinsed) wine jug.  The mixture should end up back in your large stockpot.  Add the packet of yeast, stir it in, and put the cover back on.

Day 3 or 4: (when the yeast has formed a thick foam on the surface of the liquid.  Preferably before this foam sinks like a rock to the bottom of the pot.  But if the foam does sink, it’s not a big deal, but it’s time to proceed with this step.) Rack the mixture to a jug, leaving the foam and dregs of yeast behind.  (“Racking” is the techie term for transferring liquid.  Use a clean funnel or plastic hose.)  Add enough boiled, cooled water to reach the neck of your jug.  To seal the jug but allow gases to escape, cover it with a double layer of paper towel, held on by a rubber band.  (Techie option:  use an airlock with water to allow the bubbles to escape.)  Leave the jug somewhere at room temperature, and watch it to make sure the paper towel doesn’t get fouled with foam.  (If it does, just replace the paper towel with a clean one.)

Two to four days later: Wait until the vigorous foaming stops, or at least 2 days.  Make sure the paper towel is clean, and move the jug to the refrigerator (or the porch, if the weather is predictably 45°F).

12 to 24 hours later: Rack the mead (it’s becoming mead now!) to a clean jug, put on a clean paper towel, and return it to the refrigerator.

12 to 24 hours later: Rack the mead to a clean jug again, and add ¼ cup of vodka or grain alcohol to kill the yeast.  Put on a clean paper towel, and return the jug to the refrigerator.

Keep the mead in the jug in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.  Then bottle the mead, using a clean funnel or plastic hose.  The mead is supposed to be drinkable in 10 days, and really pretty good in about 2½ weeks.  (I find that I can start this mead about a month before I want to serve it, and it turns out fine.)  Keep the mead refrigerated, and don’t let it get too old – drink it within 6 months or a year.  It’s not a fine wine, and it doesn’t age like one!

Keep in mind that you’re dealing with living yeast and wild honey.  Your results won’t be entirely predictable, and you should adjust things as you see fit.  Occasionally, things just won’t work the way you expect them to.