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Monday, November 8, 2010

Batch baking

by Francesca
FuoriBorgo

baking

On baking day, my small kitchen looks like a mess, but there's a method behind the apparent madness. Cool baking sheets sit on chairs, awaiting their turn to go into the oven, while piping hot ones are cooling on the table or the stove-top. The countertop, where all the kneading and mixing takes place, is dusted in flour and cluttered with baking ingredients and implements. And my sink? On baking days, you can't even see it for all the dirty pots and pans and mixers piled up there!


baking


The method is: batch baking. On the day when I need to make bread, every 5 days or so, I also bake one or two pizzas, a main dinner dish (like the lasagne verdi shown above), and often a cake or some cookies, too. I slip in odds and ends, too, like the stray potatoes that I keep finding in the garden after we harvested the main crop, or the hot peppers that I'm drying out before grinding them to make chili powder.



I bake in a batch to conserve electricity - I save on pre-heating, which takes up to 15 minutes with my oven, and do most of my weekly baking in the two hours or so that my oven is on. But I also like this system because grouping all my baking in a batch is a more economical use of my time.



In all the years I've baked in a batch, I've only had one mishap, when I tried to bake pretzels and bread at the same time. That day, I learned that some baked goods, like pretzels, need a hot and dry oven, while the bread I tried to bake with them was filling the oven with humidity. Since then, I've baked pretzels first, on their own, and everything else right afterwards.



Baking in a batch has also stood the test of time: it's how most baking was done until not too many years ago, when a frugal lifestyle wasn't a choice, but a necessity (here).

19 comments:

Gardenatrix said...

This is lovely! Yes, yes, yes -- thinking in systems is the way to go. Now, I want to bake today . . . :)

le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Très appétissant. Miam miam !

urbanadaptation said...

I keep meaning to work out a batch baking and cooking system (honestly, I'd love it for the energy savings as well as the time savings, I think), and this might just inspire me to figure something out.

Dea-chan said...

I'm going to say with urbanadaptation that this is something that I'll need to work out on my own, but that it would be useful!

Just A Gal said...

Good idea! I have been baking in batches for a while just because I'm too lazy to cook everyday. Now I can say it's because of energy savings. Brilliant! ;)

connie said...

this sounds awesome, except- dont you still have to turn the oven on to reheat those two pizzas and one main dish?

Paula said...

That's a great idea. We do generally try to aim baking bread for after dinner since the oven is hot- it needs to go higher than whatever I've had in the oven for dinner does.

This inspires me to try to perhaps bake a few more things that day.

Francesca said...

@Connie - in winter, I time my baking so that we can have pizza and a baked dish for dinner that day, and a warm kitchen while eating! Leftovers are rare in my house, especially pizza leftovers, but welcome as they only need a quick re-heating (usually on the gas stove) and not full cooking! Happy baking!

Gremlina said...

a great ritual. Makes a lot of sense & is making me hungry.

Anonymous said...

When we batch bake, or a make large batch of one thing to have leftovers, we use a much smaller toaster oven for rewarming portions.

I would like to hear more about your pretzel baking, if you don't mind.

emilysincerely said...

I like batch baking (never knew there was a name for it). It just makes sense to me for saving energy. Although it does make for a huge mess in the kitchen. It is worth it. I also try to time it for dinner is the last thing that goes in, whether it is something new to cook or a left-over that is just getting re-heated.

I too would like to hear more about your pretzels and how to make them.

Sincerely, Emily

Mrs. Santos said...

Thank you for bringing this up. I was just doing some menu planning and this is a great idea. This may sound naive, but it never occurred to me to do this to save on electricity. So glad I came upon this post.

Amber said...

This sounds like a GREAT system. I think I'll try it myself.

AG Ambroult said...

huh. I never thought to do that. My oven is one sometime a few different times a day. Perhaps I will reconsider, and try to batch bake a little more. thanks for the idea.

Laura @ Getting There said...

Thank you for this reminder. I really need to do this more myself. I use my oven all the time, but I rarely bake more than one thing at a time. Shame on me!

Sense of Home said...

My oven takes that long to heat up as well, so batch baking really is the way to go. Saves money and time. I love to have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to do a lot of the cooking for the week. A beautiful post!

-Brenda

queen of string said...

I have a hankering for a pizza oven, so we can do outdoor baking in summer. Is something like that on your agenda?

Francesca said...

Thank you for all your comments!
Some replies:
About PRETZELS, my recipe is in grams and deciliters, but I just checked, and there are lots of recipes online (like this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-soft-pretzels-recipe/index.html), and they all seem equally good. I use whole wheat flour. Pretzels are really super easy to make, just a little time consuming as the preparation requires several steps.
@ queen of string: an outdoor brick oven would be a dream!

louisa @ The Really Good Life said...

It scares me how hot the oven needs to be on for certain types of bread baking - all that pre-heating energy and all the wasted heat afterwards!

I always try to batch bake at least a few things now - something which needs a lower heat on either the way up or down from bread baking, as well as stuff alongside the bread when possible.

I also tend to freeze an extra portion of, say, shaped'n'ready-to-bake biscuit/cookie or cracker dough ready to bake when I'm putting the oven on for other reasons - we can always use more fresh biscuits/cookies or crackers and it saves me having to mix dough every time.