Thursday, 7 July 2011

All about Hedgehogs

I have mentioned a couple of times over the past few weeks that we have discovered hedgehogs in our garden.  At first we thought it was just one but we have now seen three, a mother and two hoglets we think.  Hedgehogs are nocturnal and so, sadly, the children are in bed when they come out at dusk.  We have been taking photos though and this has led onto Boy wanting to find out about them.
Here is the mother and one of her young last week.
Then the two little ones on a separate occasion.  They are completely adorable and we have been feeding them cat food on an evening and really enjoying watching them.  We have sought some advice from The British Hedgehog Preservation Society on caring for hedgehogs and their website is very useful if you find you also have hedgehogs.
 So earlier today we made Hedgehog Bread.  I remember having this as a young child myself so I really enjoying doing this with the children today.  It's a very simple and very good bread dough recipe we used.  It makes a very wet dough but it is far more like bakers bread than any other recipe I have tried.  Ingredients: 500g strong white flour, 14g dried instant yeast, 20ml olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 240ml water.  Put everything into a mixing bowl and combine with your hands.
Then add a further 80ml water and stir for a few more minutes.  The dough will be VERY wet but don't worry - this gives it a great texture and taste too!
Knead it on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.  Then place into the bowl and leave, covered, to prove (the yeast to work!) for 1 hour.
It should 'grow' to double the size.
Then turn it out and knead for a minute or so.  Then cut into smaller pieces and shape into hedgehogs by using raisins for eyes and a nose.  Then cut into the top with scissors to make the spikes.
Then bake at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Sadly, our hedgehogs lost their eyes and noses in the oven but the bread tasted fantastic anyway!  Just needed to push them in firmer I think.
I think we might be doing one or two more hedgehog activities over the next week or so.

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