The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

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dmsnyder's picture

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

As most of you are aware, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S. of A. next Thursday. Family gatherings and big dinners are traditional, although the foods that are traditional vary considerably by region and from family to family. These traditions usually involve a lot of cooking, but they make menu planning relatively simple, unless you have family members with a variety of food allergies or other aversions. 

There are also traditions regarding foods eaten, not on Thanksgiving, but on the surrounding days. I'm not aware of a lot of these. The one that comes to mind is going out for Chinese food the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is an American Jewish tradition. I have no idea what Chinese-Americans traditionally eat the night after Thanksgiving.

These days, with the increased mobility of American families, the Thanksgiving gathering often involves relatives traveling great distances in order to be together for the holiday. This also means the gathering is more than a one day affair. And that means meal planning and cooking need to be done for much more than the one big Thanksgiving dinner.

We will have family starting to arrive next Tuesday, and the last will leave the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. We want to have time to play with the grandchildren and visit with the grown-ups. So, we're spending this weekend preparing food to be frozen, so we don't spend all next week in the kitchen.

I started 2 days ago (Wednesday), feeding 2 different starters. Last night, I mixed the dough for San Joaquin Sourdough. This will be baked tomorrow as baguettes to make into French toast. Susan made a vegetarian stock to use for our Thanksgiving stuffing and for a potage. (One daughter-in-law is a vegetarian.)

Today, I built up a starter which will be used tomorrow to make Country Rye Breads from "Tartine Bread." I have the flour for this pre-weighed on the counter.

I also made a batch of NY Baker's babka dough and made up the cake crumb/sugar/cinnamon filling too.Tomorrow, I'll make up pecan rolls, but stop before cutting the rolls and freeze the logs to cut, proof and bake while company is here. 

I then made pasta dough for fresh tagliatelle for Tuesday night's dinner. The bolognese sauce is simmering now. I'll stir in some pesto before serving. (No pesto for the kosher daughter-in-law. It has cheese in it.) Tomorrow, I'll roll out, cut and dry the noodles.

I'd planned to also make a batch of the pie crust using trailrunner's recipe, but my wife hijacked the Cuisinart to grind hazelnuts for a Frangipani-Pear Cake. So, that's added to tomorrow's fun.

Sufficient excuse for not making pie crust today

Let's see ... That just leaves making Turkey stock (for brother Glenn's best ever gravy) and a big pot of Potage (from Patricia Wells. HIGHLY recommended!) for lunch or dinner one day, baking two kinds of bread, making the pie crust dough and putting together the pecan roll logs for the next two days. All this in between other necessary errands, naturally.

Hey! I forgot the bagels! Maybe we'll make them along with the Challah, rye bread, Apple Crostada and knotted rolls Glenn wants me to show him how to make ... next Friday. 

Happy getting ready for Thanksgiving to everyone!



MadAboutB8's picture

Hi David,

That sounds very busy time ahead and at hand! I like to be busy with cooking and planning the menu.

It's a joy to cook the food that you enjoy making and to share them with others. It lifts your heart when seeing they also enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Have a good holiday and enjoy the time with your family.


LindyD's picture

...for an artful feast.

It all sounds wonderful, David.  

Have a camera ready when the flour starts to fly on Friday!

Candango's picture


     As you will be up to your eyeballs in flour and dough (definitely in your comfort zone), for the next few days in preparation for the meals for the reuniting family, I will take this opportunity to wish you all a happy T-day and a happy family reunion.  I also wish to thank you for your help and guidance on breads and sourdoughs during the past several months.  Cheers from the Republic of Northern Virginia.


trailrunner's picture
trailrunner are going to have a right feast at your home. The frangipane tart looks so good. I am always partial to almond paste.

You will love the apple crostada. I wish I had had some Calvados as I have since seen some references to adding it to the saute. So if you are so inclined. 

We will have Chinese on Tday. Daughter  is a skilled eggroll roller and my husband  is the stirfry guy since it will just be us three I will let them have at it in the kitchen. 

Please do take pics of the feast. And have a wonderful celebration. c

arlo's picture

Sounds great David! A feast really, and how fitting!

I myself have been sooo incredibly busy at the bakery I haven't even begun to think about my family or what my fiance and I will be doing. I will be working at 2am everyday this week and actually going in tomorrow on Sunday to get a headstart on roll production as well.

Enjoy the time with the family and I hope they all consider the effort you put forth to make such scrumptious meals!

dmsnyder's picture

You have all my admiration and sympathy. When friends tell me, "You ought to open a bakery," I always answer, "No way! Bakers work way too hard!"

Have a great Thanksgiving! 


SylviaH's picture

It is a great time for family and feasts.  Lot's of plans and cooking ahead.  I'm looking so forward to my son arriving Wed. with MDI and my grand daughter.  I'll be making Thanksgiving dinner and they will be saying here until Sat.  

My oldest grandson turned 17 today, the party intended for today had to be cancelled because of bad it's on for sat. after T-Day.   There will be about 20+ guests. I'm making the pizza's!  I will preparing dough and sauce on Friday...Hey, I can actually toss the dough in the air now : ) 

Happy Thanksgiving!


dmsnyder's picture

We want to see the video! :-)

Pizza's on our "might make" list. There were beautiful chanterelles at WFM yesterday. We'll only have only 11 for Thanksgiving this year. 20 is a lot!


SylviaH's picture

Oh, lovely chanterells,  I'll have my daughter check...she's getting the toppings at WFM...The 20 guests is another party right after grandson's B-day was his real 17th Birthday..and the party planned for today had to be cancelled until Saturday after Thanksgiving..We had a family out to dinner party this evening to celebrate his official Birthday and I told him I would be giving his friends a tossing lesson...he wants to take photo's, teasing know...grandma tossing pizza's..."lol"  It will be a busy Thanksgiving week right up to day of rest!


GSnyde's picture

David, that is a whole buncha yums!!!

Thanks for baking all that stuff for me.  I'm glad you're making potage for everybody else.

Looking forward to our weekend in the Old Country.


dmsnyder's picture

Too bad you're going to miss half the food-fun, what with your nephews arriving earlier and getting a head start.

That's "potage" not "pottage," by the way, and you shouldn't knock it until you've tried it. It's delicious. However, if you are still here when it's served, I'm sure we can find something else, if you are suffering from legume anorexia ... a crust of bread, perhaps.


GSnyde's picture

Please.  And one for Cat so we don't have a domestic squabble.


txfarmer's picture

"going out for Chinese food the Friday after Thanksgiving" - really? Is that because Chinese restaurants are the only ones open? That's so interesting to know.


Sounds like it will be a great gathering, with lots of love, laughter, and great food, Happy Thanksgiving!

GSnyde's picture

I always thought the American Jewish custom was Chinese food on Christmas Day.

The day after Thanksgiving is for Turkey sandwiches.  But, as has been observed before, what do I know.


LindyD's picture

All restaurants are open the day after Thanksgiving, txfarmer - that day is known as "Black Friday" in the retail industry, when crazed shoppers looking for a "deal" subject themselves to more indignities than they'll get from the TSA.  

I'm thinking David's tradition might pertain to the Sndyer clan - which gives the cooks a well deserved night off!

A wonderful Thanksgiving Day to all...

GSnyde's picture

Maybe it's because this is a bread-focused website that David neglected to say that the best part (ok, one of the many best parts) of Snyder Thanksgiving is the traditional marinated and charcoal-rotisseried Turkey.  The marinade comes from a 1950s edition of the Sunset Barbecue Book, and our dad made the marinade and wrassled a slick 20+ pound bird the night before about 40 or 50 Thanksgivings.

The last several years, David has taken on the Turkey-wrassling duties, and the Turkey has yet to pin him.


Thaichef's picture

Hello David:

 I earmarked your post and kept it as a sample of American Tradition and culture. Many foreigners that I came across thought that most American eat fast food, frozen dinner, and no family tie.

While I was in Florida, I hosted many highschool age foreign students. Their idea of our foods are hamburger, hot dog, fried chicken and such.  They also thought that most American family eat whenever and never get together. Unfortunately many of my student's friends live with such American families.

Now, I can use your post to let people know that we are family centered, and love to get together and eat just like they do.


Your post are filled with love and caring David, and  that is what Thanksgiving  is  all about, family and love.

Thanks for sharing.









dmsnyder's picture

However, I'm sorry to say, the stereotype of the American diet is all too accurate. And the American children of recent immigrants acculturate all too quickly.

I'll never forget the 12 year old boy brought to see me because he "wouldn't eat." His father, a recent immigrant from Laos, reported, with great concern, that his son wasn't eating anything at all at mealtime. The boy's growth was perfectly normal, though.

When I interviewed the young man, I asked him what his favorite foods were. He said, "shrimp, noodles.....(and after a long pause and with a big grin, he added) ... tacos, pizza, McDonalds." 

It turned out that he was stopping with his friends at various fast food restaurants on the way home from school. Of course, at dinner time, he had no appetite.

I hope he is not too fat now, 20 years later, with high blood pressure and diabetes, as so many of his fellow-immigrants from S.E. Asia to America have.


hanseata's picture

to David the Master of the Famous San Joaquin Sourdough!

For a change we will have Turkey Dinner this year at the restaurant where my stepdaughter jobs as waitress (we promised to complain about everything, and leave her a lousy tip).

But I will bake the wonderful Thanksgiving Bread from King Arthur.



wally's picture

You plans resemble a monumental mise en place!  I'm just getting ready to pack up a small portion of my two starters carry off to Florida tomorrow.