Friday, September 3, 2010

Baking Large Quantities

Challah bread is something I make each Friday before Shabbat. Each recipe for Challah always produces two loaves. One for the evening Shabbat meal and one for the next day since you aren't supposed to bake that day. Challah is a delicious "egg" bread. If you have anything left over, and we rarely do, it is wonderful sliced and prepared as french toast. It also freezes well!

Recently, I had the honor of baking the Challah bread for communion for our friend's funeral.  We figured we might need about 14 loaves. I knew I needed to make my recipe 7 times...I also knew that I needed to use my "system" for baking in large quantities.  I'll share that with you today and next post I'll share my recipe and walk you through the whole process from mixing, to rising and from braiding to baking. It's a simple bread!

First step was to gather all of my ingredients.  I then laid out a long line of containers with all of my ingredients in them - pinch bowls (for small amounts like tsp. and tblsp.), measuring cups, eggs etc.

Notice the pink post-it notes?  On each of those I have written the ingredient and its quantity and directly behind it is the ingredient so those containers can be refilled. By doing this, I don't have to constantly go back and refer to the saves a lot of time! Even a child can help you refill those bowls. Although Elijah did many other things to help on the day of Todd's funeral, he wanted to help with baking in the worst way...this was a great job for him. Line your ingredients up in the order in which they will be used.

At the end of my row of ingredients you will find my absolute most favorite kitchen tool...

My DLX Assistant!  I use this for everything! I can mix cookies and cakes, whip cream, make homemade pasta, flake oat groats, grind meat and nuts, juice fruits, press berries, mix and knead 4 loaves of bread at a time, stuff sausages, and more!  I'd much rather have one machine that does everything than 10 machines each with a single purpose.  This is used daily in my kitchen.

Next, I go down my line of ingredients and place them all in my DLX.  When it starts mixing the ingredients, and I've finished adding the flour to make the dough the correct consistency, I set the timer for the correct knead time and let it mix.

While the DLX is mixing, I go back down my line and refill all my containers according to the post-it notes. Now I'm ready for the next batch.

If I ever have a question, a copy of my recipe is taped at eye level right above my work area.

By the time the kneading is done, all of my containers are refilled and waiting the next batch.  I remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer it to another bowl lightly greased.  I like to use olive oil  for this.

While this batch is rising, I go back down the line and put all of my ingredients into the DLX once again.  This becomes so quick and easy - almost like an assembly line! When the first batch is done rising, I separate and braid the loaves and set them to rise again.

When they are done rising, I brush them with beaten egg mixed with a bit of water...

Then put them into the oven and they come out a beautiful golden brown!

Through each step, I am still going down my line of ingredients, placing them in the DLX and starting the next bath.  I usually have 3 batches rising at a time in different stages.  I used two ovens to keep the baking going at a quick pace.  You could do this with one oven but take a little more time between mixing batches.  Otherwise you'll have 3 batches needing to be baked at the same time!

I started laying out my ingredients at about 7:00 a.m.  I was done mixing by 1:00 pm and done baking several hours after that.  Baking takes a little longer because you have two rise times.  But after the mixing is done, the rest is easy - it's just popping your pans into the oven as they get ready!

I ended up making 9 batches - the house smelled so wonderful that my boys pleaded with me to bake some bread for them.  Who could resist those "moo" eyes?  It was so easy using this system that I whipped out two extra batches. They boys ate two loaves warm from the oven and we had french toast the next day for breakfast!

Join me next post as I walk you through making Challah bread step by step...a picture tutorial just for you!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails