Last weekend I baked up a storm. Partly because I was avoiding work, partly because I needed to relax. Baking relaxes me. It was also partly procrastination.
Finally, it was part of my master plan. I’m slowly trying to re-introduce the idea of Friday (Shabbat) dinners at home. Growing up, we weren’t very religious but every Friday night Grandma lit the candles, said the blessings, drank the wine and ate the fresh challah. I’d like to bring that back but there’s a lot of logistical issues. For one, my husband works on Friday nights so we can’t have a true family dinner. By the time Friday rolls around, I’m exhausted and almost never feel like cooking a big meal. I often forget to light the candles or buy the bread.
How to solve this? Step by step. For a few weeks I’ve just concentrated on remembering to light the candles. Then I added in the bread. I made the no-knead challah recipe and froze the dough. I’d pull it out on Thursday night and let it defrost in the fridge. When I got home on Friday I’d put it out for the second rise and then bake it. Due to timing, the bread was ready long after dinner was over but it was there. The problem was that it didn’t rise as well and wasn’t as good as freshly made. So this weekend I made the recipe through to the end and froze the loaves. I’ll know tomorrow if it was worth it- the first loaf is defrosted and wrapped and I intend to warm it in the oven when I get home tomorrow night. Find this recipe here.
The other baking was because I was dying to try the lemon ricotta cake the Hippo made a few weeks back. Mine is nowhere near as pretty as hers but was damn delicious.
I had some lemons left over as well as some yogurt that needed using so I also made Ina Garten’s Lemon Pound Cake. So yummy. I didn’t bother with the glaze which is very sticky and instead ended up with a sort of lemony loaf sweet tea bread. Also damn delicious.
So, in short, due to my weekend of baking, we are well-stocked in the baked goods department. Try any one of these- all three are relatively easy (even the bread which requires NO kneading and very little prep work)- and all three are absoloutely worth it.