Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"PRE"paring for DIBS....

DIBS is "Dry Ingredient Bags Setup". These are the dry ingredients of your favorite recipes premeasured and stored in ziploc bags.

This storage method enables you to prepare many recipes months in advance. It does not take long to do and yet will save you precious time during the MOST HECTIC time of the year. I will be using my BANANA BREAD recipe as an example throughout each step.

BANANA BREAD---Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla or banana extract
3 or 4 large, very ripe bananas
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar; add the egg. slowly add the dry ingredients (DIBS). mash the 3 or 4 ripe bananas with a fork in a bowl. Add the extract of choice and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. Slowly add the banana mix to the batter and mix completely. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. You can also use mini loaf pans for 20-25 minutes.

STEP ONE: To begin you will need to gather up all the recipes you are going to use for DIBS. Next you will have to figure out how many batches of each recipe you want to have "pre"pared for the rest of the year.

STEP TWO: After you have completed step one, you need to disect your recipe according to the method the ingredients are being used. For example the dry ingredients for the banana bread recipe include sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder BUT the sugar is used in a separate step to be creamed with the butter. Therefore I need TWO separate bags for this recipe.

STEP THREE: After you have "disected" your dry ingredients for each recipe you will need to take a running inventory to see what you already have in stock. Keep in mind that if the recipe will not be made til December than all the expiration dates need to meet that timeline also. You will also need to figure out the amount and sizes of ziploc bags you will need. As a rule of thumb all of my flour mixture DIBS will easily fit into quart size bags. Any separated sugar for creaming (up to one cup) will fit into snack size bags. Any exceeding a cup can be filled in sandwich size bags.

STEP FOUR: SHOPPING- With prices in the grocery store climbing as much as gas, this preparing with DIBS will hopefully save us money along with time for Holiday Baking. If there are any ingredients you need to buy then get them ASAP. Don't forget to check the expiration dates and to stock up on ziploc baggis (especialy when on sale).

STEP FIVE: Labelng--Label your bags ahead of time. It is much easier to have the ink dry before handling them. I usually label two different ways. The separated sugar for creaming bags are usually labeled by the ingredient name and the amount (1 cup sugar). The "flour/dry" ingredients bags are labeled by recipe name (Banana Bread Dry Ingredients). If I feel it necessary I will also list the date of the earliest expired ingredient in the bag.

STEP SIX: SETUP--Depending on how many bags you are making and how much room you have, you can approach this in two different ways.

1-You can do one recipe at a time, filling all the bags with the same ingredient before moving on to the next needed ingredient. For example if you are making 4 batches of banana bread you will need to line up 4 snack size and 4 quart size bags (labeled). put one cup of sugar in each of the snack size bags and seal. Put 1 1/2 cups flour in each bag, then move on to the baking soda, baking powder, and then the salt.


2-If you have the space and the FOCUSED mind you can line up all the recipe bags for all the recipes you are doing and "have at it". For example you can put all the required flour in all the different recipe bags and then move on to the next popular ingredient. I personally don't have the space for this method on my countertop BUT I will sometimes set up in the dining room and do a marathon fill (one ingredient at a time). Also to avoid confusion I make index cads for the DIBS and place in front of each recipe section of bags on the dining room table. Definitely worth it. DON'T FORGET TO PRESS ALL AIR OUT OF THE BAGS BEFORE SEALING!!!

STEP SEVEN: STORING- I save many boxes from goods bought at warehouses like Sam's Club or any boxes around the house. I then store my DIBS in the boxes and place in my hall pantry so it is in a cool, dark place. IF you have room in your refrigerator or freezer you can store them there also. If my recipe calls for shortening or other "storable" ingredients I make sure that I store them close to my box if it doesn't fit in the box.

STEP EIGHT: CLean up. Wash all your measuring cups and have a cup of tea, coffee, or hot cocoa!!! Remember how quick and easy it was to set everything up at once. Then when you do your bakefest during the holidays you will be SOOO pleased at how easily it went.

JUST REMEMBER- to stock up on key items on sale keeping in mind their expiration dates. ALSO this is a great way to get the kids involved in the holiday baking. They can help hold the bags, pour ingredients, close the bags, etc.... After you have empied the bags, you can save them to restock for the next batch. I usually will refill mine the next week after my bake sessions. It saves money plus they are already labeled anyway....lol

Have a glorious experience with DIBS!!!!!!!!!!!


Ginger said...

Super....can't wait to get started!!!

Christmas Creations said...

thanks Ginger. I will be restocking my DIBS with some new recipes as well!!!

Cristina said...

Well, I think this is an awesome idea. So many people get stressed out during the holidays because there is so much to do at the last minute, and this takes away from fully enjoying the season.


Christmas Creations said...

Thank you cristina. I tried to access your blog but it is not open I guess. We started this DIBS as part of our Christmas in July festivities over at MagicalHolidayHome.com !!! We would love to see you join us!!!

jackfrosty said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I hope to get to the grocery store this weekend!