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OAMC - Baking Plan

Article by: Kim Tilley
Dated: May 28, 2006

My Strategy: I have been doing "bulk baking" for quite a while, and I really love it! If you're not quite ready to take the big plunge, simply double or triple the recipes you make to go with dinners or for snack (or breakfasts!) and freeze the surplus. Then the next time you have no mess, only the wonderful aroma of baking. I did this a while ago when I had to make cookies for my son's birthday treats at school. I made two different cookies in the evening, chilled them overnight, and froze the excess. This week I have to make cookies for St. Patty's day , so I just took 'em out tonight and out them in the fridge. I will slice and bake them tomorrow morning. (By the way, pick up those red and green cookie decorating sugars and things when they are clearanced out after Christmas - they are perfect for Valentine's Day and St.Patty's Day!)

Some tips:

1. I recycle a lot, so I reuse my juice cans to store my extra doughs in. You can also roll your cookie doughs in logs, wrap in plastic and freeze (I'd put them in Ziploc bags too), then it really is as convenient as store bought, but you know what is in it! Biscuits are great for slice and bake convenience too, and do nicely in the juice cans (kind of like the store cans of biscuits). If you want to reuse the juice cans, line them with plastic wrap so you can pull out the dough, rather than cut away the can from the dough.

2. I do not have a bread machine, but I find a food processor very handy. If you don't have either, all you need is a very big bowl and a lot of energy. I love to beat the heck out of the dough, usually when dh is cranky or the bills come (LOL). In the summer, I pull weeds, but in the winter, I knead dough to relieve stress! I also enjoy making doughs when I know I will be around the house doing other things. It is wonderful to punch down some dough and let it rise and have the washer, dryer and crockpot all humming at the same time. It makes me feel powerful!

3. I make huge batches and freeze.

4. I don't do all of these recipes at the same time. Try one new one at a time, perhaps in conjunction with some of your favorites. If you like the results, make tons next time.

5. Make every cooking count! What I mean is, if you are going to measure for 1 batch, why not make four? If you rotate your baking, stocking up, you will always have great stuff to take out of the freezer, but won't be cooking it all on one day. You'll have bagels leftover from last month, Italian bread from the month before, pastry from Christmas, etc. I have frozen breads and doughs successfully for several months at a time with no problem.

6. The best way to defrost is in the refrigerator, overnight or the day before, the microwave defrost method is ok, but sometimes the dough doesn't turn out as nice.

7. Don't forget: you can also bake a ton of stuff before summer hits so you don't have to get your kitchen hot!

8. Don't forget to have fun and be creative!

Anyhow, on to the recipes! I have tried all of these recipes, and they are great!

Recipes:
Easy Pizza Crust
Avanti's Sweet Italian Bread
Bagels
Pitas
Pastry
Tortillas
Sugar Cookies
Toll House Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Craig Clairborne's Biscuits
Biscuit Mix
Cornmeal Biscuit Crust
Create-a-muffin
Readers' Hints and Tips


Easy Pizza Crust (my favorite - conforms to fit your needs!)
2 tablespoons of baking yeast (or 2 of those expensive little packages!)
2 tsp sugar or honey
4 tablespoons oil
2 cups of warm water
6 to 7 cups of flour

1. Combine first three ingredients in a HUGE bowl. Sprinkle all of the warm water (needs to be a bit hot so yeast will activate, not lukewarm!)

2. Let mixture foam for at least 5 minutes

3. Mix in most of the flour (I mix in the first 5 cups, then add a little at a time until it is the right consistency, not too stiff). Knead for a few minutes until elastic.

4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. You can use it immediately or let it rise till double (45-60 minutes), punch down, rise again for 30 min, like other yeast dough recipes. I have made this recipe hundreds of times, it rises just fine after the 10 minute rest, but if you can't get to it right away, just treat it like other yeast doughs and let it rise twice.

5. Oil a cookie sheet or pizza pan, roll out dough (I mush it right in the pan!) put in pan, add sauce and toppings.

6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Kim's note: I use this recipe for calzone dough, hot pockets, pigs in blankets, soft pretzels, cinnamon rolls, you name it!


Avanti's Sweet Italian Bread: This wonderful recipe is very similar to the gondola bread at a local Italian restaurant named Avanti's. I make double batches of this bread (you need a lot of BIG bowls!) and bake 12 loaves at a time, some as sandwich bread, some long like French or Italian bread, some small for hoagies. It is wonderful and freezes superbly! There are four rising times to this bread. It seems like a lot, but it is perfect for oamc day and the results wills astound you (They loaves get HUGE in the oven, so leave lots of room for them to "grow.") I always have homemade bread on hand, and since we entertain a lot, people are amazed when I pull out a few of these homemade loaves and serve them with dinner. They love it, too!

2 tablespoons of yeast (or 2 small envelopes)
3 cups of very warm water
3 tbsp oil
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
10-11 cups of white flour

1. Dissolve the yeast in the very warm water. Add oil, eggs, salt and sugar. Let foam for a few minutes.

2. Add enough flour to make dough smooth. Place in a LARGE greased bowl (I reuse the mixing bowl) and turn the dough to coat it.

3. Cover, let rise for 1 1/2 hours while you do something else!

4. Punch down the dough. Turn over, let rise another 30 minutes.

5. Cut dough into 5 or 6 portions (more if you want a smaller loaf size). Let rise 10 minutes.

6. Flatten dough, pressing out all of the air (yes that's right, flatten it!). Form into loaves and place on a greased floured baking sheet (or in greased floured loaf pans).

7. Cover, let rise 1 more hour.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy! (You can let loaves cool and wrap them, put in Ziploc bags and freeze to thaw, leave at room temperature for an hour or wrap in foil and stick in a 300 degree oven for 1/2 hour or so if serving hot)


Bagels: The homemade version is so good you may never buy them again! They melt in your mouth! (From the Food Processor Bread Book, if you don't have a food processor, just mix in a regular bowl). The directions look intimidating but they really aren't! Just give it a try!

1/2 to 3/4 cup very warm water
1 package (or 1 tbsp) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 quarts of water for boiling
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cold water

1. Combine 1/4 cup of the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar, stir to dissolve yeast and let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

2. Fit processor with steel blade. Measure flour, oil and salt into work bowl of processor. Process until mixed, about 5 seconds.

3. Add yeast mixture and 1 of the eggs to flour mixture. Process until blended, about 10 seconds.

4. Turn on processor and very slowly drizzle just enough of the remaining water through the feed tube (at the top of the processor) into the flour mixture so that dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process until ball turns around bowl about 25 times. Turn off processor and let dough stand for 1-2 minutes.

5. Turn on processor and gradually drizzle enough of the remaining water to make dough soft and satiny, not sticky. Process until dough ball turns around bowl 15 times.

6. Turn out dough onto a lightly greased surface. Shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 15 minutes.

7. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a strand about 6 inches long. Bring both ends of each strand together to form a doughnut shape. Moisten ends and pinch to seal. Place bagels on a greased cookie sheet and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

8. Combine 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a dutch oven or stock pot. Bring water to a boil. Gently place bagels in boiling water. Cook 3 or 4 bagels at a time. When they rise to the surface, turn them over and cook until puffy, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Remove bagels from water with a slotted spoon and place on a greased cookie sheet.

9. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Beat remaining egg and 2 tablespoons cold water with a fork. Brush mixture over bagels. Bake until crusts are golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Pitas:

3/4 to 1 cup very warm water
1 package (or 1 tablespoon) of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1. Combine 1/4 cup of the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir to dissolve yeast and let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

2. Fit processor with a steel blade. Measure flour, salt, and oil into work bowl. Process on/off to mix.

3. Add yeast to flour mixture. Process until blended, about 10 seconds.

4. Turn on processor and very slowly drizzle just enough remaining water through the feed tube into flour mixture so dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process until ball turns around bowl 25 times. Turn off processor and let dough stand for 1-2 minutes.

5. Turn on processor and gradually drizzle enough of the remaining water to make dough soft and satiny, not sticky. Process until dough ball turns around bowl 15 times.

6. Let dough stand, covered, in a bowl (or work bowl of processor if you won't be using it again) at room temperature until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes. Process on/off to punch down dough (or do by hand in separate bowl)

7. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. shape each part into a ball. Roll out each part into a circle 6 inches in diameter (if you have a small tortilla press, you can use one for this) and place on an ungreased, floured cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.

8. Heat oven to 500 degrees, Bake until lightly browned and puffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

9. Remove from cookie sheet and place on paper toweling. Cool.

Pastry (Double Crust): I make this recipe in the food processor. No messes!

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of shortening or lard
6-7 tablespoons of cold water

1. Fit processor with steel blade. Combine flour, salt and shortening briefly in processor.

2. Add cold water a little at a time through the feed tube just until dough is moistening and forms a ball.

3. Roll out and use or freeze as desired. Martha Stewart suggested a tip I really like: After processing each crust, turn it out onto plastic wrap, fold the wrap over the pastry, and shape it according to the shape of the pan you will be baking it in (round and flat for pie dish, square and flat for cake pan or jelly roll pan). Just freeze them, stacked, in Ziplocs, then when you need one, thaw and roll from center of dough. Voila!


Tortillas: This recipe freezes well cooked or uncooked. (We have a tortilla press and I have used this recipe HUNDREDS of times!) Substitute up to half of the white flour with any other flour of your choice. Keep in mind that whole wheat flour may need a little more water to moisten it enough.

3 cups of flour
1/3 cup of vegetable oil or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of warm water

1. Combine flour and oil in processor until crumbly (1 minute).

2. Dissolve salt in warm water. Pour down feed tube a little at a time until dough forms a smooth ball but is not sticky (add more flour if sticky). Dough should clean sides of bowl. Process dough so ball turns about 25 times.

3. Turn out into bowl or freeze (wrapped in plastic then in Ziploc). If using immediately, dough needs to rest 30 minutes before using or it won't be elastic enough.

4. To use: Roll dough into 16 small (or 8 larger balls) about the size of a golf ball. Roll out on floured surface or use a tortilla press (I have one that presses and cooks at the same time! Very nice, I use it all of the time). One batch of tortillas will take at least 30 minutes to press and cook. So save these for special occasions or when you have the time (oamc day is good because you can keep going back to them while waiting for other stuff, just keep them covered to avoid drying out).

5. Cook on nonstick griddle (no oil) until puffy, turn over and cook 1 minute or so more. Makes 16 awesome small tortillas, 8 big ones!

YUMMY!


Sugar Cookies: These are the first cookies I ever made! They are from The Kids Cookbook, which I received on my 8th birthday. I used to make this and hide it under my bed because the dough was so good! Well, these days I don't hide it under my bed, but I do make it for a lot of different occasions.

3/4 cup of shortening
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or lemon extract (almond or orange are good, too)
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix first four ingredients together (I use an egg beater)

2. Mix the last three ingredients together in a separate bowl.

3. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

4. Chill for 1 hour (or freeze).

5. Roll out on floured surface and cut out whatever shapes you like or drop by teaspoons on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Makes 6 dozen (Supposedly! I get about 3 dozen out of this).

Note: I've added 4 oz of chocolate chips or any other kind, they turn out good.

Toll House-Type Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temp
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips, or 1-12 oz package (I use half of this)

1. Cream together the shortening and butter. Add the sugars, eggs and vanilla.

2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, blending well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Wrap dough and chill it thoroughly, preferably for three hours or longer (I make it at night and chill in fridge till morning, freezing the extra). This dough keeps well in fridge for 3 days.

5. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake cookies according to the size you make them: 2-inch cookies for 8-10 minutes, 6-inch cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, 9-inch "monster cookies" for 25 to 30 minutes. you can also make them as bar cookies, bake for about 30 minutes or so, testing center to ensure they are done.

Biscuits: Yes, you can freeze biscuit dough! I have a wonderful reference book called Will it Freeze? An A to Z Guide to Foods that Freeze, by Joan Hood that says any quick bread type dough (cookies, biscuits, etc.) that contains over 1 part fat to 4 parts flour will freeze beautifully. Most biscuit recipes call for 1/3 to 1/2 cup shortening to 2 cups of flour so they are in the general ballpark. I don't usually freeze biscuits just because I make up my own "Bisquick" type mix and make them up fresh. I would use your favorite recipe and see how it freezes. It may need more fat in it (ugh! there goes the diet!) to freeze well. Low-fat biscuits may not turn out as well, but give it a try! I have not had any failures yet while freezing baked and unbaked doughs. Let me know how it goes! Here is a biscuit recipe for freezing (don't over mix this one, it falls!) followed with a repost of the biscuit mix.

Craig Clairborne's Biscuits:

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

1. (If baking immediately) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and shortening. Use a pastry blender to cut in the shortening until it has the consistency of coarse corn meal. Add the milk and toss gently with a two-pronged fork until all particles are moistened (but no more!)

3. Gather the dough in a ball and turn it onto a lightly floured board. Knead the dough gently, about twelve strokes, with the heel of the hand. Gather into a ball once more. Lightly flour the board and roll the dough out with a lightly flourd rolling pin to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds with a floured biscuit cutter (a note from Martha Stewart's show: Don't twist the cutter when cutting out the biscuits! It cuts out the air or something, making the biscuits flat!)

4. Place the rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes at 425 degrees.

Kim's note: I would make a huge batch, or a few regular sized ones. After gently kneading the dough in step three, I would then roll it into a log, wrap with plastic and freeze (or use your juice containers and freeze). Be sure to put these logs in a Ziploc for extra protection. When you want to make them, thaw a little in fridge, slice into 1/2-inch thick circles and bake for the recommended time.

If you don't have a pastry blender, use the side of a fork, a sturdy whisk or two knives (be careful!)


Basic Biscuit Mix:

10 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1 tbsp salt
2 cups shortening

1. Mix dry ingredients in a huge bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender, OR (this is what I do), combine 2 1/2 cups of the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup shortening in the food processor, gradually combining all of dry mix with shortening.

2. Keep tightly sealed. At room temp, it keeps a few months; longer in the fridge. I usually use all of my mix up in a month, so I keep it in my baking supplies.

Use the mix to make the following:
Pancakes: 2 cups mix, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs
Waffles: 2 cups mix, 2 tbsp veg. oil, 1 egg, 1 1/3 cups milk
Dumplings: 2 cups mix, 2/3 cup milk
Other ideas: use in place of Bisquick in recipes
Biscuits: 2 1/4 cup mix, 2/3 cup milk (Bake 8-10 min at 450 degrees)

One of my favorite crusts for Mexican pot pies and pizzas, or as an accompaniment:

Cornmeal Biscuit Crust:

For Crust:
2 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix (use bisquick or following recipe)
1/2 cup cornmeal (any kind, masa harina is best)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

1. In a medium bowl (or food processor), combine above ingredients, mixing well. For Mexican pizzas and pot pies, grease your pan of choice, pat dough on bottom and sides, cook at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Add your filling and or toppings and cook as desired. For biscuits, bake 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees or until they look done.

CREATE-A-MUFFIN

GRAIN: 2 - 2 1/2 cups white flour, may substitute 1 cup with oatmeal, cornmeal, wheat, rye flour, or flake cereal. OR may substitute 1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal, rice or cornmeal for 1/2 of the flour and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup. Use blender to mix wet ingredients.

MILK: 1 cup milk, buttermilk or sour milk, may substitute fruit juice for all or part.

FAT: 1/4 cup vegetable oil OR melted butter, may substitute peanut butter for all or part of fat. Fat may be reduced or omitted if using a "wet addition"

EGG: 1 egg OR 1 tablespoon soy flour & 1 T water

SWEETENER: 2 T. - 1/2 cup sugar OR up to 3/4 cup brown sugar OR up to 1/2 cup honey or molasses and decrease milk to 3/4 cup.

BAKING POWDER: 2 teaspoons. If using whole or cooked grains - 3 teaspoons. If using buttermilk or sour milk - 1 teaspoon baking pwdr. AND 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

SALT: up to 1/2 teaspoon

The following ingredients are optional. Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1 1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup wet additions, decrease milk to 1/2 cup.

DRY ADDITIONS: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, etc.

MOIST ADDITIONS: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, etc.

WET ADDITIONS: Pumpkin puree, applesauce, mashed/cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, mashed/cooked carrot, etc. If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.

SPICES: Any that will complement additions; 1 t. cinnamon with 1/4 t. cloves or nutmeg. 2 t. grated orange or lemon peel.

JELLIES OR JAMS: Fill muffin cups halfway with plain batter. Add 1 t. jam and top with 2 T. more batter.

TOPPING: Cinnamon sugar, chopped nuts, oatmeal, crushed cornflakes.

NONSWEET COMBOS: Use only 2 T. sugar and omit fruit.

Add combinations of the following:
1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 strips cooked crumbled bacon
2 T. grated onion
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 t. parsley
pinch of marjoram

Directions:
Fill greased or lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for approx. 20 min. @ 400.

Well, how is that for starters? Hope you all aren't falling asleep or crouching in a corner in fear! I have more recipes to post, a "Part 2" but my fingers have to recover first from all of this typing! I also want to try a few more things. I haven't done popovers yet. I have been making that "Create-A-Muffin" recipe above. It comes from the Tightwad Gazette. I have found I don't like the results as much as I used to so I am looking for more muffin recipes. I also have pancake, waffle and doughnut recipes. Maybe the next "Once a Month Baking" should be breakfast foods! I certainly need to make some!

Have a great (baking) day!

About the Author

Kim Tilley, a tightwad at heart, is a wife, a mother of three active boys and the founding editor of Frugal-Moms.com. Frugal by force and later by choice, Kim cut her income by 60% to stay at home with her children and discovered that anyone can live better for less. Her work has appeared in print publications such as The Tightwad Gazette. In her free time, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something from nothing!
 
   
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