It has been a while since I've had a big baking day - and even longer that I've shared about one. Though I bake often, I haven't had a planned day to do a large amount of baking. Now I remember why I love baking this way. I was able to get so much more accomplished with a little planning.
Since I mostly bake with sourdough now, I actually started on Monday to get my starter active and growing.
I jotted down some notes of times and activities throughout the day. I'll share what I was doing with the bread and some of our other activities of the day so that you can get an idea of what a baking day looks like with four children.
Monday 8:30 a.m.
Grind Prairie Gold wheat flour. This is the flour I plan to use for all my baking.
My sourdough starter was in the fridge and didn't look very alive.
I stirred in 2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups water and transferred it to a larger container.
In a few hours it had grown and expanded.
Monday 3:00 p.m.
Stirred the starter and added 4 cups of flour and 3 cups water and transferred to an even larger bowl.
Monday 8:30 p.m.
The sourdough starter was now good and bubbly.
I did some premixes of flour, liquid (either milk or water) and starter for muffins, chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls, and English muffins. It only took a few minutes but I knew it would save tons of time in the morning, plus it would give time for the starter to feed on the flour and be full of good yeasties!
I was careful to place the recipe with each bowl because at this point - they all look alike.
Tuesday 6:40 a.m.
I'm not an early bird but my children are. I'm learning the benefits of early rising. I mixed up and baked the muffins for breakfast. I added some chocolate chips to the batter which made me a popular mommy this morning!
While the muffins baked, I mixed up the chocolate cake and had it ready to put in the oven when the muffins were done. Two recipes done already!
After breakfast, I helped the children get dressed and started washing the breakfast dishes. I was interrupted with helping my daughter with her math. Math has been a struggle all year. We've wasted a lot of tears (hers) and frustration (mine) on first grade math. But the last few days she has discovered that if she tackles the hated subject right away in the morning, she can forget it for the day. She is actually very good at it and it takes a very short time if she is motivated. I hope the new trend is permanent! And it is a good reminder to me to tackle my disliked tasks instead of complaining about them!
The dishes are still not done but I mixed up a double batch of honey wheat sourdough bread so that it could begin raising.
Mixed up sourdough cinnamon rolls.
I'll give a confession - I let the children play a phonics game on the computer. We allow our children very little screen time. We'd much rather them playing outside or more creatively. But with the rain (again) and the excellent way they tackled their school work without even being asked, I thought they deserved a reward. And it would allow me uninterrupted kitchen time!
Mixed up and cut out English muffins and allowed to raise.
Kneaded the cinnamon roll dough and set in bowl to raise.
Tackled the dishes again. One thing I love about a baking day is how many utensils and bowls can be used again and again before washing. But eventually they need washed. I don't have a large enough kitchen to let everything just pile up.
Began baking English muffins. These are baked right on the stove top.
While I watched them, I finished up the dishes. Now I have a clean kitchen, three recipes completed and two more rising. All the mixing is finished. The children have been extraordinarily good but they now need some mother attention and help with the school work they couldn't do alone.
Shaped the honey wheat bread into loaves then sampled the English muffins for lunch. This was the first time I tried this particular recipe and I think they were the best yet. And, yes, I plan to share some of my favorite sourdough recipes, hopefully beginning next week.
Shaped the cinnamon rolls. I wanted to get to it earlier but my two year old had a complete melt down (lest you think we are perfect) which earned her an early nap.
One reason I like sourdough baking is the flexibility. If the bread is risen but I don't get to it for another hour, it doesn't flop. The way my life is now, I can't be ruled by a bread's schedule. And the dough rose beautifully today. Maybe it like the rainy weather!
Baked honey wheat bread.
Baked cinnamon rolls.
I overbaked the cinnamon rolls a little. Think anyone will notice if I add a glaze?
And that was the baking for the day. Most of the work was done in the before 10:00. The rest of the day the bread dough only took a few minutes here and there for some checking, shaping and baking. Hopefully now we'll have a little extra to put in the freezer.
Do you ever do a large amount of baking? Any hints to share?