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During my “hiatus” from employment last fall, money was tight. I rediscovered the joys of baking at that time. I found that I really enjoyed the process, and the results couldn’t be compared to commercially prepared food.
Even though I am back working, I still want to have the enjoyment of baking and the quality of home-baked food.
During the summer it doesn’t make sense to have the oven on often. But still wanting to do baking, I decided to implement baking days. Like my grandmother, I set aside some time one day and get many things prepared. Here is my method for implementing a baking day:
Pick a Day Based on the Weather
I try to pick an evening to do the baking when the temperature outside is not oppressive. If I can open the kitchen windows to let the heat in the kitchen out, all the better. As the summer progresses, I will probably limit the baking to bread only, using my new-to-me bread machine out in the garage.
Pick the Recipes
Since I don’t do a baking day more than once every three weeks or so, I pick out recipes that can be frozen well. Some cookies, brownies and cakes, as well as quick breads (breads leavened with soda or powder) often fall into this category. This provides a flow of baked goods into the house without more baking.
I like to use up ingredients as well. In my house bananas are either eaten within a day of coming home from the store, or they sit around until mushy. I usually make something that will use up overripe fruit.
During the summer I try to choose recipes that minimize baking time. Banana bread needs to cook for an hour, but a banana cake takes 30 minutes. Cooking a “pan” cookie takes less overall baking time than individual drop cookies. Selecting recipes that can be adapted for quicker baking makes sense.
Choose the Order
Some recipes need to be mixed and left to rest; others need to be mixed right before cooking. By laying out the recipes I can decide on an order to make them work most efficiently.
I also work with the differing oven temperatures. I pick things, for the most part, that have to be baked at the same temperature, but I get things in the oven that need the longest baking first.
By using a little planning, I can continue to produce home-baked goods in my home, even during the summer.
Photo by ginnerobot