Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fun Tips for Baking Bread with Kids

One of our summer bucket activities was to make homemade bread and jam.  I love making homemade bread, especially with the kids.  It's a fun activity that takes time, everyone gets a turn to help, and it's a wonderful activity to build hand strength in little ones.

baking bread with kids

A few years ago, my father in law and I went to a bread baking class lead by Peter Reinhart.  If you remotely like to bake bread and have a chance to attend one of his classes, I highly recommend it.  My father in law bought one of his books, The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  We borrowed it for this project and decided to make anadama bread (recipe here).  It's a wonderful, soft, slightly sweeter sandwich bread.  It's darker in color because molasses is used to sweeten the bread.

baking bread with kids

You need to make a "cornmeal soaker", it's just some cornmeal with water set out overnight, the evening before you prepare the bread dough. Little J is learning how to level flour and similar ingredients.  He had plenty of practice with this recipe.

baking bread with kids

Some tips for baking bread with children
  • Read and understand your recipe and then read it with your kids.  With this type of recipe, I recommend reading the recipe with older kids, but the preschool crowd won't really understand it.  
  • Take time to explain some of the vocabulary used in the recipe.  
  • Assign them tasks that they will be successful with, but also teach them new skills and let them practice.  
  • Allow them to help with measuring the ingredients.  If they are toddler age, you may want to measure the ingredients ahead of time and let them scoop or pour it into the mixing bowl.
  • Put a clean plate under where they are measuring.  You can keep the mess to a minimum and even recoup some of your ingredients.
  • Let them explore the ingredients.  My kids wanted to taste the molasses.  
  • I use a small silicone mat under the mixing bowl to keep it from sliding.  Mixing can be difficult enough for kids without the bowl sliding around on them.
Freezer jam
  • If you're making a long recipe, plan for little breaks.  We stopped and did a yeast experiment during one of the bread rises.  We also made some strawberry jam to go with our bread.  Sometimes we play with the measuring cups and spoons seeing how many spoonfuls of water it will take to fill the cup, etc.   
    freezer jam
  • Have them take turns kneading the bread.  My kids loved this part, which was a good thing!  It took almost 15 minutes to get the dough to the right consistency.  This is a fun activity to build hand strength. 
    baking bread with kids

  • Enlist their help with clean up, but make it fun.  My kids love washing dishes in the sink and running the mini vac (I'll have to remind them of this when they're teenagers).
  • Make enjoying their creation a little celebration and allow them to serve mom, dad and each other.  It's even better if they can share some with the grandparents or neighbors.

baking bread with kids

There's nothing quite like the smell of bread baking.  By the time our bread got to the oven, a summer evening thunderstorm had started and it just seemed peaceful in the house.  We enjoyed toast with strawberry jam the following morning.  

baking bread with kids

The kids were delighted to present their grandparents with a loaf of warm bread and strawberry jam. 


Lindsay said...

My mouth is watering!! This looks delicious!

Leslie said...

you can send a loaf to my address!! my bread never ever looks that good! my girls would enjoy making bread too. Thanks for the tips.
Happy wednesday.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Even your description sounds so peaceful. How fun to bake and eat your own bread. Does it rise in a bread maker or everything is manual?

Lizzy said...

The bread looks delicious! I just recently found your blog and became your newest follower! I am looking forward to perusing older posts!

Amy@ServingPinkLemonade said...

This bread looks so delicious and wholesome. Thanks for the great tips. I love homemade bread. I'll have to give it a try with my kids.

Coombe Mill said...

I love that you take time to explain the instructions to your children, I think this is the thing I skimp on but I'm sure it will help, thanks for the advise.

maggy, red ted art said...

Oooh wow. What a great session. We have made bread together, but the "no yeast" variety! This is a great inspiration.

Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


andie jaye said...

oohhhh! this looks like such fun for you all! i can almost smell it! thanks for linking it up to tip-toe thru tuesday!

Tiffany said...

I loved your tips for cooking/baking with kids. My almost three year old loves to cook with me, and I learned some new ideas from you that will help a lot.

Stopping by from tip toe thru tuesday.

Earning-My-Cape said...

Very fun! My kids love helping me bake bread! Great tips!
Thanks for sharing with my Super Link Party! :-)

Carrie said...

Oh, how fun!! And you have some great tips. We will definitely try a silicone board under the bowl since this is always a problem. Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories said...

We love homemade bread at our house, too! My son always has to sneak some of the dough to play with and eat. ;)

Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase!

Rebecca from Here Come the Girls said...

What a brilliant thing to do!

I've featured this on the Sunday Showcase this week: