Speaking of DIY skills and such, I think soap and bread are two of the top "it's easier* than it sounds" things you can make and enjoy a direct, material benefit from.
For example, I used to think you needed a bread machine to make bread. Then I realized, "That can't be right. People have made bread for thousands of years."
I think the process of making things like that has become kind of obscured from us in modern life. But you really can just go out and Make A Thing.
@katwylder I learned crochet, and it's come in handy in some unexpected ways. One of the cushions wore off on my headphones, and I was able to make a replacement.
@katwylder I do have a bread machine and use it regularly, but it's the kind of device that makes it clear just how unnecessary it is. Like, I could easily mix these ingredients, let them sit, knead them again, let them sit again, and then bake them. I guess I just like the idea that I can delegate keeping track of the timing to an inanimate object.
growing up, we had a bread machine precursor called a "bread bucket" - i kinda want one because kneading is difficult for me. https://www.backwoodshome.com/the-convenience-of-a-bread-bucket/
I looked and this place makes updated reproduction bread buckets (they also have a bigger all-metal one): https://www.cottagecraftworks.com/ez-doh-hand-crank-bread-mixer-dough-bucket-kneader
@caprimoon @katwylder this is amazing! i'm absolutely putting this on my to-get list... oh my goodness.. even just making pie crusts every now and then i have to sit there for so long and it definitely hurts.
flatbreads are awesome though, they don't take too much mixing (and it's more mixing than kneading and isn't as rough)
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what i *do* make all the time is peanut butter bread. the recipe is gluten free/flourless but i like to add a little bit of flour to bulk it up, otherwise it's so moist it tends to go bad quite fast. i haven't tried bananas in place of eggs but i think that might be good too!
@Griff That's great! It's so rewarding to be able to fix something yourself, isn't it?
I've never used a bread machine, myself. (I like the kneading.) I imagine they're very handy for people with mobility issues, though!
@katwylder soap and bread are great examples, and easy to use the skills for those two to expand into candles and pizza!
I recently used leftover fat from cooking meat to make a candle. It pops and crackles a bit from water I didn't manage to drive out, but it otherwise works perfectly well.
@katwylder Ooh, do you have a nice soap recipe? I'd love to make my own soap. I love making bread and I wish I'd never bought my bread-making machine, what a waste of money that was.
Yes! If you're looking to get into Cold Process soapmaking (i.e., the old-fashioned way), I highly recommend this recipe and the how-to info that goes with it!
And if you don't wish to use palm oil for any reason, you can substitute and equal amount of rendered tallow or lard.
Feel free to tag me if you make some! I'd love to see how it goes. 😄
@katwylder Thank you so much! It does ask for palm oil though, can that be replaced with anything else do you know?
@politicalcustard Yes! Palm oil can be exchanged exactly for rendered tallow or lard.
Ex. If a recipe calls for 8oz of palm oil, you can use 8oz of tallow, instead.
There are other vegan alternatives to palm oil, as well.
@katwylder You are a genius! Thank you. I shall definitely send you pictures of my homemade soap! I've got loads of herbs in the garden so I shall enjoy making up my own herby soap recipes! :D
@politicalcustard Ha, thank you, but this advice is all learned from much more experienced soapmakers. 😄
I hope you enjoy your foray into soapmaking!
@katwylder Thanks so much for the inspiration! I really appreciate it.
To elaborate, the main use of palm oil is to create a hard, long-lasting bar of soap that won't just melt in the shower. (Different oils create different properties in your final soap.)
But if you want to go extra old-school, you can even make a pure olive oil soap! It will take much longer to harden, but this is THE old-fashioned soap recipe. 😊
@katwylder I buy olive oil soap from my local Turkish supermarket, it cleans and moisturises! I love it, and it's cheap as chips. No plastic packaging either! Yep, I definitely want to go old skool! :D
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@aschmitz @katwylder You can even use the bread machine for the messy / effort requiring bit (kneading), and after the first rise take the dough out of it and proceed in the traditional way (forming bread, further rising, cooking.
That's how I used my bread machine most of the time, back before it broke and I decided not to replace it.
It was convenient to cook bread in it in summer instead of using the oven, however…
@katwylder Do you find that soapmaking particularly saves money or otherwise has tangible benefits over buying soap?
I already make my own bread (no-knead overnight-rise); it's both tastier and significantly cheaper than buying at the store, and going no-knead means it doesn't take more than ten minutes work.
But soap... looks like quite a bit more work, and oil's a lot more expensive than flour.
100% flour, 70-75% water. 1/4 tsp dry yeast and 1 tsp salt per 10 oz flour.
Mix dry, add water. Mix just until it comes together as one messy lump, cover and let rise for 12-18 hours. Bake as you like; it works for a loaf or a boule. I recommend baking in a Dutch oven; it helps the crust.
Water, yeast, and salt amounts are all flexible.
If you just want to make bars from something like lard, tallow, or another inexpensive oil, and don't particularly care for aesthetics, you can save money in the long run.
Ex. With the oils I typically use (and 0 additives), I can make 24 bars (which last my household about 3 weeks each), for $1.50/each.
But I treat my soapmaking as a fun hobby, so it costs me about $3-5/each.
@qwertystop The other benefit to making your own soap is that you can control 100% of what goes into it.
A lot of what's on shelves isn't actually *soap* at all. (You'll notice the packaging says something like "beauty bar".) And some folks find those products are hard on their skin.
So if you or a loved one have allerigies or very sensitive skin, or you want just to avoid certain ingredients, you can do that!
It's also just a fun hobby if you like bath products and/or chemistry!
@qwertystop I'm certainly not saying "everyone should do this!" We all have different circumstances and interests.
But I get really excited for more people to know that it's an option. 😃
Well, if you want to make soap, here's a basic questionaire for you:
[ ] Do you want to end the capitalist system?
[ ] Are you willing to make great sacrifices?
[ ] Do you have a split personality?
[ ] Would you like to join a secret club?
[ ] Do you like fighting?
If you said yes to one or more of these questions, congratulations! You're more than ready to make soap!
(Sorry, couldn't resist)
We've been making our own soap and bread for decades. They're both easy to make but hard to master. Get too confident and you'll have fallen bread that's more like a teething biscuit or stinky goo that will not trace.
@DistroJunkie What are your favorite kind of bread and soaps to make? 😃
@katwylder We make an oatmeal soap, normally with patchouli essential oil so we smell like flower children during the late 60s. We make whole wheat bread, buying whole organic wheat berries and grinding it ourselves.
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