How to Bake in Batches for the Holidays!
The Christmas holidays are upon us, and with that brings the need to bake Christmas goodies! You will want them for your family and to share with others. Trying to get your holiday baking done can create stress! One way to help eliminate the stress of your holiday baking is to bake in batches, then freeze and store for the big day. You can do this over a couple of weeks with batch baking and batch preparing. This post, How to Bake in Batches to make Holiday Baking Easier, will help you plan for a Baking Day to save time in the weeks to come.
The biggest thing to remember is to focus on just one type of baked good in one day. For example, you might want to bake all your Christmas breads one day. Another day you can prepare all your cookie doughs, baking some to freeze and freezing the remaining dough. Yet another time, you can make pie crust dough, wrap and freeze for a “pie making day”, and so forth.
This process makes the most of the time you have and the space you have. You just have to make some advance preparations before undertaking the task of a Baking Day!
Gather together your recipes!
Every type of baked good has a basic starter ingredient mix. You could start with one basic cookie dough, like a really good sugar cookie or chocolate chip cookie recipe. Then add a few extra ingredients to in order to make them into new recipes. An example would be to add M&M candies to the chocolate chip cookie dough. Now you have two cookies from one recipe. Be creative!
The next step would be to divide the recipes into Baking days. Such as, all the cookie recipes together, all the brownie and bar recipes together, all the pie recipes you think you want to make, and so on. Then, get your calendar and mark your days.
Some really good goodies that can be baked ahead and frozen are sugar Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies, Mama’s Peanut Butter Cookies, and Grandmama Hall’s Apple Pie, to name a few.
Mama’s 1949 Spry Cookbook has wonderful recipes in it that are good even today!
You have to have a plan of action. Don’t try batch baking without one. Here are some suggestions:
- Write down your plans in advance so that you are sure you have enough time to do everything that you’ve planned.
- Figure out a basic time line, add up the prep time and the baking time for each oven full. Add some extra time to be sure that you have enough time for the baking, cooling, wrapping and freezing. Everything has to be completely cooled before wrapping for the freezer.
Get Everything Ready to Go . . .
Be sure your kitchen is spotless when you start, and have all the ingredients and appliances necessary to make each item ready to go. If you know, for example, that today you’ll be using about 10 pounds of flour, consider using a large bowl to hold the flour so you can easily spoon the flour into the measuring cup, flatten off over the bowl, without having to get into the bag over and over which usually means spillage.
Clean as You Go . . .
Fill your sink immediately with hot soapy water so you can clean as you go. You will want to wash your mixing dishes and other utensils during the baking process so that you can use them again. There’s no point in totally destroying your kitchen as you batch bake, and you don’t have to. Set out a draining board, fill the sink with hot soapy water, and wash as you go. There are many opportunities during baking to wash a couple of dishes, and this will make the clean-up faster, and the process more organized.
Time for an All Day Batch Baking Day!
Whatever day you set aside for your All Day Batch Baking Day, plan to do just that . . . spend the entire day–usually entails 8 to 10 hours–baking! There are some things to consider so that your Baking Day will go smoothly:
- Be sure all other chores are done, such as the shopping and cleaning the kitchen, prior to your baking day.
- Organize your recipes according to what needs to be done first. For example, if you need dough to rise, start that first, so that it can be rising as you are preparing other things such as cookie dough or pie crusts.
- Read each recipe that you plan to use and pay close attention to ingredient lists and the “how-tos” in making the recipes.
- Organize the kitchen in stations. You will want a station for each type of baked good that you want to create. It’s a lot easier to lay out four pie crusts in pie tins, ready for fillings, than to do one at a time. As much as you can do for one type of thing in one run, do so. A bread making station is also essential. It needs to be a place you can freely flour the counter space, and easily clean up.
- It’s easier to make one type of baked good than to juggle several different ones.
- Don’t try to stuff your oven too full. At most, you’ll want to cook two pies, four loaves of bread, and one large sheet of cookies at a time in one oven. Putting too many things in one oven can drastically change the temperature settings.
Whatever plan of action you take to make some of your baked goods in advance, you will be saving time later as the days get more hectic closer to the holidays. You will be thankful that you set aside the All Day Baking Day because of freeing yourself for other activities or entertaining. The choice is yours. Make a decision, and get ready to BAKE!