Last year, Caroline Landon decided her children needed to learn how to run a business and earn some extra money for the family along the way. So, she opened up her home-based business, Landon House Bakery in Roanoke.
Landon and her husband, Bob, have 11 children: Samuel, 20; Lucy, 19; Joshua, 18; Erin, 17; Joseph, 15; David, 12; Noah, 9; Christiana, 7; William, 5; Elijah, 2; and 3-month old Daniel. This year, Landon suggested Lucy become more involved in the business.
“I wanted to earn extra money. But our kids are home-schooled, and I wanted them to learn how to run a business – and to meet people in the community that they wouldn't otherwise,” Landon says. “I know our economy isn't what it was 30 years ago. I want them to learn the benefits of trying a (business) and see how it went.”
The Landons have a booth at three farmers markets, including the Barr Street Market on Saturday.
“We're maxed out with the three,” she says.
According to Lucy, free samples are given to market customers.
“We have a wide variety of customers. We have a Facebook page that links people (www.facebook.com/LandonFamilyBakery),” her mother notes.
When asked how many of the children work for the bakery, Landon laughs and says, “Well, that depends on how many are at home that day.”
“Joseph does dishes and gets paid with a loaf of cinnamon swirl. We've been paying Joshua when he helps out at the market. I pay him with cinnamon raisin,” Lucy says.
“My policy is if you're in the kitchen, you're baking. Ideally, the older ones should be teaching the younger ones,” Landon says.
Lucy adds, “When we do rolls, Christiana helps with the rolls. She's very good at being the entertainment committee for the rest of us.”
Teaching is the key to allowing the children in the kitchen according to Landon.
“It would be easy to (get) them out of the way. But if we want them to do things, we have to welcome them into our lives,” she says.
Q. What's your specialty?
Caroline: Our biggest seller is the most unhealthy – cinnamon swirl and cinnamon raisin.
Lucy: We usually have different varieties. The basics (such as) wheat, cinnamon swirl, the sourdough and the cinnamon raisin. Those are what people look for. One day, I wanted roasted garlic sourdough. It sold out in half an hour.
Q. What is your baking history?
Caroline: Like any kid growing up in America, I could make a cake mix. I used to be scared to bake bread.
Lucy: Probably cookies. (Looks over at her mom and smiles.) I was 12 and Erin was 10. We were at someone's house, and they were eating raw cookie dough. Erin and I had shocked expressions on our faces. They gave us a spoon and we ate it.
Caroline: I didn't want them to eat raw cookie dough because it contained raw eggs. That's still the policy for the little people.
Q. What's your favorite cookbook?
Caroline: I have two that come to mind. Better Homes and Gardens. My husband bought it when we got married. Also “The Treasury of Creative Cooking.” That was a wedding shower gift.
Lucy: I have (“Treasury of Creative Cooking”) in my hope chest.
Caroline: Each of the girls will (have) a copy. I need to get one for Christiana. I hope to get one for each of the boys, too.
Q. Who's your cooking idol?
Lucy: (laughs and points to her mom) I would love to cook as well as she does. She can look at what ingredients she has and make something without a recipe.
Caroline: My bread idol would be Peter Reinhart.
Q. What's something people would not find in your refrigerator?
Caroline: Squeeze cheese. I have never purchased it, as I recall.
Basic Honey Wheat Bread
21/4 cups very warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
5 cups wheat flour, divided
1 tablespoon instant yeast (available at grocery stores)
In a mixer equipped with a dough hook, combine the water, oil, honey, salt and gluten. Add 21/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. Mix on low speed until well-incorporated. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. After the 20 minute rest, add in the remaining flour gradually with the mixer on low; you might not need the full 21/2 cups. The moisture content of the flour will determine how much is needed. If dough cleans the side of the bowl, add back in a few tablespoons of water. The softer the dough, the softer the bread will turn out. A stiff dough with too much flour will strain the mixer. Knead on a medium-low speed for 6 minutes. Oil a counter or bread board to turn dough out. Divide dough into 2 loaves. Form loaves and place into oiled 8-by-4-inch bread pans. Slash the tops to avoid the sides tearing as it rises. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 25 minutes. The loaves should be doubled in size and nicely domed. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Finished loaves should be golden brown and have a hollow sound when thumped on top. Remove loaves to a cooling rack, allowing them to cool before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.
Day 1: Combine 1 cup of flour with 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup water. Stir well, cover loosely and let sit at room temperature.
Day 2: Discard 1/2 of starter and add 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup pineapple juice and 1/4 cup water. Stir well, cover.
Day 3: Repeat Day 2
Days 4 to 10: Discard 1/2 of starter; add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water.
The starter should be vibrant somewhere between days 7 and 10. It should bubble and rise after each feeding over a period of several hours. Note: Pineapple creates an acidic environment, which discourages things from growing in the starter.
Roasted Garlic Sourdough
Prepare roasted garlic by wrapping 2 heads of garlic in aluminum foil. Roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool and peel.
In a mixer, combine:
35 grams (4 cups) sourdough starter
30 grams (33/4 cups) water
53 grams (102/3 cups) whole wheat flour
Let rest for 20 minutes.
Add 1.2 grams (2 tablespoons) sea salt and the roasted garlic. Combine and knead for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Turn out into a glass bowl, cover and let rise 2 to 3 hours. Turn onto floured countertop and divide into loaves (this will yield five 11/2-pound loaves)
Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Form into loaves (freestyle or baguettes) and allow to rise 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
If using a baking stone, cloche or Dutch oven, preheat in the oven. If using cloches, carefully open the lid, transfer the loaf, slash the tops, and spray with water. Close the cloche and move to the next loaf. Boules are most easily transferred with a pizza peel or baking sheet with no lip.
If using a baking sheet or pie dishes, simply spray the loaves, slash and transfer to the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 425 degrees. Remove lids on cloches. Bake 4 to10 more minutes. Loaves should be close to 200 degrees inside and richly browned when done. Remove to cooling rack.
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