Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baking in Bulk

Baking in bulk in almost second nature to me. Growing up in a household of eleven persons including five growing boys, doubling or tripling recipes was just part of kitchen survival.

While huge batches are maybe not a necessity anymore, I still usually bake more then one item at a time. It just seems to make sense to bake two pans of brownies at a time or make a whopper batch of cookies while the mixer is out.

My baking is not usually organized in any way, just "I need to make some (fill in the blank), what else could I make." But after joining moneysavingmom's eat from the pantry month, I was in desperate need for some baked goods. We had been out of bread for two weeks and needed some snacks and lunch treats (besides freezer burnt zucchini bread!)

Here is a few tips I have found on baking for the freezer.

1. Plan

Making a list of what I would like to bake, and THEN grocery shopping is much better then my usual method of "start a recipe, find out I am missing an ingredient, and start substituting"! I find it best to do baked items one day and save "cooking" for the freezer for another day.

2. Start early

Which for me is the night before. Having ingredients out of the freezer makes all the difference in how much I accomplish. I could have ground my wheat to speed it up even more. If my plan for the day is already made, I can start baking in autopilot while I waited for my brain to wake up.

3. Keep Priorities

This week's baking day went very well. But I've had some days in the past that have not went so well. There are days that children just need extra attention. When I plow through my list and ignore the wails and whines, things go down hill fast! Since I'm a mother before a baker, some days I need to throw out the list. There will always be another day to bake bread.
4.Expect a Disaster

Hopefully not the food, though that can happen too! If my children are playing nicely while I bake, which they did wonderfully this week, the house will look like children were there. Every room of our house was scattered with toys. I even found lego men in my bed!
5. Know When to Quit

Maybe some of you can keep going all day and slide the last pan out of the oven at midnight. For myself, I know that I need to be quitting soon after noon. If I had an early start, by 1:00 my feet are getting tired. Every surface of my kitchen is probably covered in dirty dishes. (In the photo above, you only see the counter by the sink. There was also dishes heaped on the island, and stacked on the table!) By the time I help the children pick up the toys, get them down for naps, clean up the kitchen, and wrap and freeze the food items, Ed will probably be home looking for supper.

Is it worth it? It is to me! Bulk baking or cooking makes for a full day but I love knowing my freezer is filled with lots of good eating! Even if dish washing seemed endless (I don't have a dishwasher) I could have washed the mixer and measuring cups five separate times instead of once. So it is worth it to me.

On the baking day this week I made:
six loaves of whole wheat bread
two loaves of cinnamon swirl bread
peanut butter granola
granola bars
whole grain crackers
angel food cake

Do you bake in bulk? Any tips?

6 comments :

  1. I'm laughing out loud at your pictures and post! How true! I keep my sink full of soapy water and wash as I go which helps. Before I dirty another bowl, I wash the one I was using and try to use one set of measuring cups, etc. I end up washing and washing but don't have to look at the mess once I take everything out of the oven to cool. I can't wait to read your cracker recipe :)

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  2. Hello, just curious as I'm going to start baking in bulk - it's just me and my husband but we have 8 horses and it would make life easier but I do have a question?

    Do you freeze your bread and if so, how do you freeze it and how long does it last. My husband loves my homemade bread and I would love to make a few loaves and freeze them if possible.

    Thank you and I'll be following for sure now that I have found your blog.

    Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for visiting Nancy. I do freeze bread. I wait until it is completely cool then seal in ziplock bags and freeze. I've had it in the freezer for probably at least a month and never had it go bad!

    I often slice the bread before freezing then it is super easy to grab a few slices out of the freezer and slide them in the toaster for breakfast.
    Hope that helps! Feel free to ask questions!
    Gina

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  4. I enjoy you blog. I do not have a blog, but enjoy reading about 20 or so. Could you do a post with recipes for casseroles that freeze
    well. I would sometimes like to cook several on weekends so when I get home during the week I have something quick. Thanks for all your info.

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  5. I just found your blog today and already feel inspired by your posts. (I can't wait to read more of them, as I get time! I have 3 boys 4 and under.)I too, can't wait to read your cracker recipe. And I wanna try your bread recipe. My mom has a grain mill, so will do it there for now.

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  6. I have never done an official baking day, partly because I am always worried that I'll get nothing done because L will be grumpy etc.

    I think what you said about starting early is probably the key though. If I would get up really early and get started, I could have a lot of the work done by the time he gets up. Thanks for the inspiration...it might seem silly to you that I never thought of doing that. :)

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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