Homemade Laundry Powder

I cup washing soda

I cup Borax

1 bar of Fels Naptha Soap (grated)

A few months ago I found a great recipe to make your own laundry powder.  I gave it a try and now it is the only laundry powder I use.  It is very effective and my laundry comes out clean and spotless.  People who have little children know that dandelion season is horrible for clothes.  Lilija’s shirts and dresses used to be covered with dandelion stains every spring.  I tried everything you could possibly find in a laundry aisle but nothing seemed to work for the stains.  Ever since I started using this product, Lilija’s stained clothes improved incredibly.

Since I do at least one to two loads of laundry every day, I make my laundry powder from five Fels Naptha bars.  To make it easier, I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to shred the soap.

I use the finest shredder attachment to make sure the soap will dissolve in the washing machine.  Once the soap has been shredded, I mix it with washing soda and Borax.  I add a ¼ cup of laundry powder to each load of laundry.  If I have some clothes that have very dark stains, I soak them overnight in a bucket with warm water and 1/2 cup of laundry powder.  The next morning I wash the clothes with the rest of the laundry and our clothes come out clean and stainless.

Homemade butter

This morning we made homemade butter which brought back memories from my childhood.  Growing up in the former Soviet Union, people had a hard time getting groceries they needed.  Supermarkets as we know did not exist.  The stores were full of half empty shelves.  To get basic groceries like bread and milk, people had to wait for hours and even then you were not guaranteed to get them.  Adults had to bring all their children to wait in lines because that gave a chance to get more groceries.  As a child, I remember waiting in lines that seemed endless.  Since my parents had a herd of children, once a month we had an access to shop at a special store where only families with many children could buy food.  During that time, my mom bought heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and other “treats”.  Later that day my mom would make homemade butter which tasted absolutely delicious with fresh bread.

Most days I don’t think about my childhood and how I grew up until something happens that makes me think and miss the time I had with my family back in Latvia.  I am glad that by showing our girls how to make homemade butter I was able to share this story of my childhood.

Authentic New York-Style Homemade Bagels

INGREDIENTS:

***Dough***
1 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons malt syrup
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (more if needed)

***Kettle Water***
6 quarts water
2 tablespoons malt syrup or powder
1 teaspoon salt


***Toppings (optional)***

sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, caraway seeds, corn meal for sprinkling baking sheet (optional)

PREPARATION:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. 

With a wooden spoon, stir in oil, malt and one cup of the flour. Add salt, then enough of remaining flour to make a stiff dough. 

On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 to 12 minutes. Cover with a floured dish towel and allow dough to rest on a board for about 15 minutes. 

Divide dough into 8 sections and form each section into 10-inch long strips. Roll the ends together to seal and make a ring. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let bagels rest 15 to 20 minutes, rising about halfway and becoming slightly puffy. 

Meanwhile, fill a large cooking pot or Dutch oven three quarters full with water. Add the malt syrup and salt. 

Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and, if desired, sprinkle generously with corn meal. Set aside. 

Line two other baking sheets with a kitchen towel, set near your stove. Reduce boiling water to a simmer and cook 2 bagels at a time (do not crowd the pot). Simmer bagels for about 45 seconds on one side, then turn and cook other side for another 45 seconds and then drain bagels on the towel-lined baking sheet. 

Carefully place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake bagels plain or sprinkle with a topping of your choice. Place in the hot oven, immediately reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and bake about 17 to 25 minutes. When almost baked, turn bagels over (a pair of tongs do the job easily). If you have a baking stone, finish bagels on the stone directly. Transfer bagels to wire rack to cool. 

I wish I could say that I came up with this delicious homemade bagel recipe.  The recipe can be found here.  I can promise you these are one of the best tasting bagels ever.  They come out chewy yet moist and puffy.  I love how our house fills up with a fresh bread smell.  Our kids can easily eat half the bagels in just a few minutes.  That is the reason I double the dough. If we have any leftover bagels, I put them in the freezer.

After I made the dough, I divided it and formed into 15 10-inch long strips

I rolled the ends together and made a ring

Once the bagels were formed, I let them rest for 20 minutes.

I simmered the bagels in a Dutch Oven for about a minute on each side.

First bagels out of the oven

The bagels taste great with a little bit of butter