Because we eat almost all “homemade” food, I often take an entire day to dedicate to cooking things from scratch. I actually bake twice a week – Wednesday and Saturday. But Wednesday is my true Kitchen Day or “Baking Day.” When first trying to tackle a baking day, it can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be!
What is a baking day?
A baking day is a day dedicated to batch cook and meal prep so that you don’t have as much to do at mealtime. I make breads, mixes, making concentrates, prepping vegetables. If you want to cook more from scratch, this will save you so much time! Be sure to check out my E-course where I teach all about how one of the easiest ways to manage your home is to schedule a specific set of routines for certain days each week.
Let’s be real here… if I waited until the last minute, cooking from scratch would just NOT happen.
The first step for a successful baking day is meal planning. Hands-down, this is the best way to get your baking day off on the right foot. I love this printable I created by adapting one designed by Jessica’s Fisher author of Good Cheap Eats and blogger at Life as a Mom.
On the left hand side I have Breakfast (B) and Dinner (D) then a place for prep. On the right hand side, I have lunches and snacks.
Y’all – that prep category is a day changer!
That way I know in advance, days before I will need to thaw something or make cookies for an event or a larger meal when company’s coming over. As I am planning my meals, I can look in advance and see what needs to be made. And one thing I have learned over the years…if you don’t write it down – you won’t remember! I promise.
For example, let’s say on Thursday, we’re having tacos. Then on Friday, we’re having hamburgers. By looking ahead, I can see that on Wednesday’s baking day, I need to make taco seasoning and hamburger buns. It helps to look ahead and KNOW what you need for the days/week ahead instead of just guessing. Otherwise you might bake a bunch of granola, muffins, and lemonade concentrate but not have all the mealtime essentials made that you actually need!
I start preparing for my baking day the day before, especially when I’m making sourdough or something that needs a little extra advance planning.
My favorite resources for making Sourdough are The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast and Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast, plus my friend Kate’s tutorial. It’s super helpful and guides you through a sourdough schedule. I get my sourdough starter out Tuesday night and feed it so that when I wake up on Wednesday it is ready to go. Sourdough won’t be done until dinner time because it takes a LONG time to ferment! I also do tons of my baking from the Breadbecker’s Cookbook because it’s my favorite. I use it multiple times a week and highly recommend to anyone who wants to mix anything in a bowl with flour.
What should you do first when you are doing a baking/kitchen day?
Start with what takes the most time FIRST. This means things like yeast breads (sourdough) should be made before things like cookies, granola bars, mixes, coffee concentrate. Even better, use your bread’s rising time to mix up a batch of granola or homemade ranch dressing. Muffins, scones, biscuits – these are all things you can make while you’re waiting for dough to rise! To make the most of the time you have, start with the things that take the longest first!
One other thing to note about my baking day…
I am not just baking and doing meal prep, I’m also cleaning the kitchen! Instead of just sitting around painting my toenails while I am waiting for my muffins to come out of the oven, I’ll wipe down the cabinets or clean out the toaster oven or the fridge. This is different from multi-tasking – which I never encourage! – this is just a way to use your baking time wisely.
And the most popular question I get is: what are my kids doing during baking day?
During the mornings, my kids will sit at the kitchen table for school on baking day. How do I get school done while I’m busy in the kitchen? I will jump in and help them as needed. Once their schoolwork is completed, I will let them play outside on the back porch, which is perfectly positioned right outside my kitchen window! They get fresh air and burn off some energy, and I get some much-needed baking done. It’s a win-win. If the weather doesn’t permit outside play, they can be given special games or activities to keep them occupied.
Do you have schedule a baking day? What’s your baking routine look like?
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