Baking bread doesn’t have to take all day. With a dash of planning and a pinch of multi-tasking, making bread could be just what you need to get other things done!
Tuesdays and Thursday are busy days in my house. I teach part-time on those days and I need to be in the shower no later than 10am. Even if everyone was showered immediately after breakfast, we simply don’t have much time for running errands or big messy projects (since I like to leave the house clean for Mr. Crumbs). In order to make the most of this “down” time, I purposely set aside things to do at home on those days.
On this particular morning, I had taken the last loaf of bread from the freezer and knew I needed to make more. In the midst of baking bread, I was also able to complete one load of the laundry cycle (wash/dry/put away) and a cycle of dishes…
Not that I’m claiming to be SuperMom or anything – because I assure you, I am not. I just tried to make the most of the time I had. As a wife, mother, mediator, household manager and blogger, I’ve learned that things don’t get done unless you make the time to do them.
6:00 – Alarm goes off. Husband hits snooze.
6:05 – Girl crawls into bed and snuggles.
6:10 – Girl keeps wiggling so her and I get up, go potty and head downstairs.
6:20 – Prepare coffee, Girl pushes the “go” button and asks for yogurt. I give her the container she started yesterday.
6:25 – Husband comes downstairs and gears up for work (he rides his bicycle 3 days each week). I pull the sourdough starter out from the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees for a few minutes to create a warm area for the starter. It’s day 2 and I already see small bubbles – good news!
6:35 – Boy wakes up slightly crabby so I give him extra hugs. I offer carrot bread for breakfast and he obliges.
6:45 – After much debating whether or not he wants icing on the cake before or after I cut him slices, I cut up the cake, then ice it and send him to the table with his breakfast. I pour myself a cup of coffee.
6:46 – Girl sees Boy with carrot cake and asks for some. I slice her a couple pieces and send her to the table to eat. I make myself a mug of cereal.
6:50 – I feed the sourdough starter and place it in the warmest spot in the kitchen.
6:55 – I pull out my cookbook and try to find a recipe that uses buttermilk. I only used 1/2 cup on the spiced carrot bread, leaving 3 ½ cups in the fridge that need to be used up before I forget it’s there.
7:05 – Boy finishes his bread and asks for more, with the icing “just like last time.” I slice off two more pieces and send him back to the table to eat.
(By the way, he’s now eaten half of a mini-loaf on his own! That recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper!)
7:10 – Girl comes into the kitchen and asks for candy from her Halloween bucket. I tell her no, it’s too early and she needs to finish her bread.
7:20 – I found a recipe for bread. I double check that I have all the ingredients, calculate the total rise time and decide that it can be done before I leave for class in 4 hours. I pull out everything needed for the recipe so it can come to room temperature. I peel and slice two potatoes and start a pot of boiling water.
7:30 – I start to load the dishwasher and realize that it’s full. I put in detergent and started the cycle. Put the potatoes in the boiling water.
7:35 – Son brings me his cleaned plate, beaming that he finished it all.
7:40 – I finish my cereal. Girl is on the floor working on puzzles and has left her bread on the table.
7:45 - I turn off the boiling water and leave the potatoes in to stay warm until I’m ready to use them. Pulled the kids away from the floor puzzles and everyone went upstairs to do their share of laundry.
7:50 – Fold and put away underwear and pajamas for husband and myself; kids put away their own socks, underwear, pajamas, husband’s socks and my underwear.
8:00 – Everyone goes back downstairs – kids continue to play, I load the washing machine. After putting all the pants in, I see there’s still plenty of room for a “large” load. Run upstairs to get all the small towels to add to the load.
8:05 – Start the rest of bread recipe in the mixer.
8:10 – Break up the kids arguing (Boy “broke” floor puzzle pieces).
8:30 – Finish the recipe and cover for the first rise. Thankful I forgot to turn oven off because it’s warm enough to allow bread to rise well.
8:40 – Finished cleaning up kitchen from bread making. Washed big and “special” dishes by hand. Dishwasher is still running.
8:45 – Boy is still playing with the puzzles, Girl wants to get dressed. I take her upstairs and pick out clothes. She requests “two braids” for her hair today.
8:55 – We go back downstairs to find the brush and ponytail holders. Give Girl braids and take her to the bathroom to admire them in the mirror. Ask Boy if he wants to get dressed; he says no.
9:00 – Break up kids arguing (Girl took Boy’s jet airplane).
9:15 – Upstairs to make the bed, pick up master bedroom and my bathroom.
9:25 – Back downstairs to check on the kids – they’ve dumped out all three bins of “little toys” onto the floor. I encourage them to pick them up.
9:30 – Bread has doubled in size. Punched down and divided into two, then realized that my loaf pan was too small for the bread. Slighted re-kneaded and divided into three; one into loaf pan, second into large cooking pot, third onto cookie sheet. Cover all and begin second rise.
9:40 – Little toys are still scattered. Encourage the kids again to pick them up. Make my seed salad lunch.
9:50 – Encouragement not working, decide to “race” kids to see who can pick up toys the quickest.
10:05 – Girl requests pretzels. I tell her to finish her bread first and she scarfs the remaining pieces. I make the kids a snack and get in the shower.
10:20 – Do my makeup. Bread is done rising; brush tops with egg and put into the oven.
10:30 – Do my hair.
10:40 – Empty the dishwasher, load new dishes and wipe down the counters.
10:50 – Husband calls needing some help, I save the
11:00 – Get Boy dressed and check on bread. Loaf pan is done so I pulled it from the oven. Rotated the cookie sheet pan to brown evenly.
11:05 – Set-up loaf pan for pictures; take pictures and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
11:10 – Walk through the house and pick up remaining toys. Check bread; pull out cookie sheet loaf. Reposition center rack so big pot loaf can brown better. Ask the kids to get a pair of socks from their room. Get myself dressed.
11:20 – Loaf pan has cooled so I cut a few slices and take pictures. Give a piece to the Girl and Boy and myself for quality assurance. Check on the remaining loaf; still needs a few minutes.
11:30 – Pull big pot loaf from the oven and set on cooling rack. Cut half of cookie sheet loaf for my dad and step-mom to sample. Everyone puts their shoes on. Load up half-loaf of bread and a mini-loaf of carrot bread (also sampling for my family), wrangle the kids and myself into the car and leave.
Whew! There you go. A typical busy morning, but in the midst of the business, I was able to bake enough bread to last us about three weeks, PLUS some to give to family, and get a few daily chores done.
For the bread:
Total active time = 35 minutes
Total rise time = 2 hours
Total baking time = 70 minutes (but would only take 40-45 if you had more than one loaf pan)
Total time to make fresh, homemade bread? 3 hours, 20 minutes. This is by no means “quick,” but there is a lot of down time in that window. In fact, only the first 35 minutes require thinking, and it’s very feasible to leave the house for the 60-90 minutes of each rise if you needed it. But if you dedicated a morning (or afternoon) at staying home, you could bake bread, prep & eat meals, do laundry, wash dishes, take a shower, get three people dressed from head to toe, and sample fresh bread with a bit of butter… imagine the possibilities!