About once a quarter, I do a big baking day where I make 3-5 recipes in a day either for an event or a holiday. After doing this several times, it can be a very long afternoon, but I’ve gleaned a few best practices to make the day as efficient and manageable as possible. And believe me, when you’re baking for a crowd this holiday season, any time saved is a win!
Game plan. With several recipes on the to-do list, I take a look at baking times, temperatures, and any tricky details in the recipes. If I’m making a cake or quick bread, I usually throw that in the oven first because it takes longer, and then prepare the rest of the batters while it’s baking. I also check the baking temperatures to see what I can bake at the same time, and think about what needs a special pan or utensil (so I don’t use it for another recipe by accident).
Check your recipes. I always check the recipes the day before for two reasons: 1. to make sure I have all the ingredients or to write my grocery list, and 2. many cookie recipes require chilling the dough for 30 minutes up to overnight, so I better make the dough early if it needs to be chilled! Also, if you need anything like butter to be at room temperature, you know you’ll need to set it out early! Forgetting to read the recipes early has definitely screwed me over in the past.
Wash dishes as you go, but clean the kitchen after. The thing about baking is that there is always downtime when things are in the oven. My advice is to get started on the dishes as soon as you put the first batch in the oven. I find it a lot more manageable if you just keep doing dishes throughout. I’m sorry if I sound like your mother. There’s no point in trying to wipe down the counters and clean the floor, however, until everything is out of the oven and stored away. If you’re a Virgo like me, definitely summon the energy to clean up as soon as you’re done. I hate waking up the next morning to a kitchen full of crumbs!
Set up an extra garbage bag. Similar to how Rachel Ray keeps a garbage bowl on the counter to toss waste in while she’s prepping and cooking, I usually set up an extra plastic or paper bag for all of the empty ingredient wrappers and boxes. I don’t want to fill up my regular trash with all the packaging, so I just toss that down the trash chute when I’m done (perks of living in a high rise apartment!).
Got any good tips for me?