Baking up a storm
January 19, 2017 5:28 AM   Subscribe

The weather forecast for the weekend includes a blizzard starting Friday afternoon and dying down sometime on Sunday. I'm a reasonably competent baker looking for suggestions to distract me from cabin fever and the inauguration. Suggestions?

The main criteria:
- ingredients must be available at a run of the mill grocery store.
- both savory and sweet suggestions are welcome, though I'm vegetarian.
- time is not an issue, so long as the end result is delicious.
posted by peppermind to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Anything involving laminated dough is a great way to chew up a lot of time and energy (and butter). Personally, I suggest Kouign Amann. (Note: I am not brave enough to actually try this myself, but a friend has made them to great success.)
posted by athenasbanquet at 5:34 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

The last time I wanted a baking challenge, I made povitica. It's a cinnamon nut bread with dozens of layers. It was complicated and delicious, and I ate the whole thing the next day because I happened to come down with the flu. There are many recipes; I think this is the one I used.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:36 AM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Both of those have been featured on The Great British Bake-Off; you might watch some episodes for inspiration.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:37 AM on January 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

posted by amtho at 5:48 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've always wanted to do really great croissants. The process is lengthy, as you're constantly folding the dough. But the ingredients are basic, and you can fill them with stuff!

Like this
posted by teabag at 5:52 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have used the kouign amann recipe that athenasbanquet linked to and can testify that it's actually easier than it appears. I make them every Christmas morning (well, I make the the day before Christmas, slightly underbake them, then chuck them in the oven Christmas morning).

But yes, takes lots of time, lots of butter, lots of sitting around sipping cocoa while your dough chills. Amazing pay-off. Highly recommended.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:04 AM on January 19, 2017

I guess I should have mentioned that something that needs to be consumed the same day it's baked might not be a great idea, unless I could freeze them before baking. I live alone, and I'll probably share whatever I make with the neighbours once we start digging our way out. If the kouign amann are as good as they sound though, that might be tempting
posted by peppermind at 6:17 AM on January 19, 2017

Baked alaska is not that hard to make, but it has a few stages so is good for a weekend (and I like the idea of making it on a snowy weekend).
You can make the cake on one day, the ice cream layer after the cake cools, and then do the meringue right when you have company as you just whip up the mergine and stick everything in the oven for a few minutes.
Follow smitten kitchen's instructions for the easiest way to do everything and the best cake layer. You need cream of tartar which you should be able to find at the grocery store.
posted by lafemma at 6:22 AM on January 19, 2017

biscotti wouldn't be harmed by waiting to be consumed and are very sharable/giftable.

shortbread cookies would be another good choice - on the savory side what about the home made cheez-it style crackers that are really just cheesy savory shortbreads?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:37 AM on January 19, 2017

These cookies are extremely delicious.
posted by neushoorn at 6:38 AM on January 19, 2017

shortbread cookies would be another good choice

If you want to complicate it (in a good way) you could always make several small batches with different fill-ins. Some of my favorites include fennel seeds, lime zest or various types of tea.
posted by andrewesque at 6:43 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Like any laminated pastry, kouign amann are good for a few days after baking, but not as good as when they're freshly baked. They do dry out after a while, but not immediately. Also they're delicious so you may consume more than you plan to =D
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:45 AM on January 19, 2017

What occasion has ever more clearly said, 'boozy rum cake'?

(There are other recipes; I just grabbed the top hit.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:12 AM on January 19, 2017

One time a buddy made a croquembouche and brought it to a potluck seven years ago and we still talk about it. So you can distract yourself and ensure your legacy as a local hero all in one shot.
posted by athirstforsalt at 7:13 AM on January 19, 2017

Little tarts, then.
posted by amtho at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2017

Maybe in addition to other baking, bread is pleasant to make, smells amazing and makes the house feel warm and cozy on a snow day.
posted by theora55 at 8:02 AM on January 19, 2017


The process takes up a good deal of time (make sponge, let rise for 2 hours, divide dough, let rest 20 minutes, shape bagels, let rise 20 minutes, overnight rise in fridge, poach, bake), and you can really get some anger out during the kneading (and the dough feels oh so nice when you're done). They're best straight out of the oven, obviously, but the baked bagels freeze well (/you can always grab some cream cheese and lox and have your neighbors over for brunch!)
posted by damayanti at 8:02 AM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

(Oh! The recipe calls for high gluten flour, but I've made them with bread flour, and it's been fine.)
posted by damayanti at 8:03 AM on January 19, 2017

When I know I'm going to be in the house all day and have time to prep poolish focaccia is my favorite to make. It tastes wonderful on day one and day two. I've never made it to day three.
posted by lepus at 8:07 AM on January 19, 2017

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls? If you search her website, she also has similar recipes for pumpkin rolls, orange rolls and pizza rolls. It makes a big batch, but they are freezable.
posted by sarajane at 9:51 AM on January 19, 2017

Brioche, which lends itself to really good French toast on day #3.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:12 AM on January 19, 2017

Freezer biscuits aren't particularly complicated, but the payoff of being able to bake only the number of frozen biscuits that you plan to eat is delightful. Hot homemade biscuits for any meal you like for the next month! Or until you eat them all.
posted by asperity at 11:08 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well it now *is* Friday afternoon where I am but if you haven't already decided, I would vote for an outrageously decadent layered cake.

I'm talking a Katherine Sabbath special - six different layers of cake, swiss meringue buttercream, drizzle, chocolate sails, maybe even meringues for the topping - go nuts.

The only complication might be the colouring for the icing, but if Amazon are delivering you could do that bit on Sunday.
posted by citands at 5:30 AM on January 20, 2017

You can poke holes in biscuits and deep fry 'em and now you've got donuts.
posted by aniola at 9:35 PM on January 21, 2017

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