Daily Schedule

Friday, September 23, 2011

Making Bread

A huge thank you to Gwen, Ben's mom, who came to make herb bread with the kids this morning. I wish this was smelloblogger so you could enjoy the aroma of the dough rising in the big pan next to me. This afternoon, after the dough has risen, the children will add dried herbs direct from Ben's yard and shape the dough into individual loaves.

Before making the bread, I showed the children some wonderful books on breads. I read aloud Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley. In this book, we are introduced to a multicultural neighborhood that is full of people baking different types of bread from their country of origin. We made a variation of "Great Grandmother's Italian Bread". Some of the children are inspired to try their hand at braiding their little loaves.

At recess I showed the children some wheat seeds and they got busy pounding it to make flour. Maddy, Ariana and Clementine remarked that they felt like the kids in Little House On The Prairie.

Making bread at home is one of our favorite things to do. Our lives changed forever once my husband and teenage son took a day-long course in bread making at Zingerman's. Who knew you could make your own hamburger buns? There is something about baking bread that gives you a huge sense of accomplishment.

Here is an excerpt from the Family Fun website that I thought may be helpful to ensure a great family bread-baking experience:

• Set aside enough time. You don't want to be rushed. Plan on an hour to prepare the dough, a couple more hours to let it rise (you can do other homebound tasks during that time), as well as approximately 45 minutes to bake the bread.
• Make sure you start out with a very basic recipe that does not involve folding in complicated ingredients or hunting for unusual flours. Save those recipes for the future when you are all experienced bread bakers.
• Clear an area of the kitchen or dining room table (with vinyl cloth covering) where you can work together comfortably.
• Make sure you have all ingredients and measuring equipment, an instant-read thermometer (to measure the temperature of warm water you will use to activate the yeast), bowls, pans--and clean hands.
• If you can find an empty bottle and a balloon, you can make the yeast activation into a kind of science experiment.
• Place some yeast, sugar and warm water in the bottle and fit the empty balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Over the course of an hour or more, the gas released from the yeast with blow up the balloon, illustrating how bread rises when the gas bubbles are trapped in the dough.
• Let everyone help knead. Demonstrate kneading as 3 steps: push down, fold over and turn
(1/4 turn). Repeat. Let each family member take turns doing this a few times until the dough is smooth elastic.
• Make sure everyone who helped make the bread is on hand when you remove it from the oven. When the bread is cool enough to cut, get out the butter and jam and enjoy.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Thanks for another stellar week at school Susan! Also, thanks to Gwen for taking the time to help the children make this yummy bread!