Monday, July 8, 2013

Baking Bread!

I've always been a firm believer that "kids in the kitchen" reap many benefits.  However, since I'm not necessarily a "homemaker" by was very easy to put cooking and baking on the back burner when other things came up to do.  This summer I've been trying to make sure that each one of my boys gets their chance in the kitchen at least once a week, usually more.  I actually find that I'm enjoying it more than I ever use to. 

Benefits of kids helping in the kitchen...

*  Real life activity...gets them away from computers, TV, etc.
* Encouraging the boys in the kitchen have an extra benefit because if they do get married and have a family, I guarantee their wife will so appreciate them being comfortable in the kitchen.  I am one of those wife's who has a husband that can handle kitchen "duties" just fine.  :-)
* With practice (and lots of patience) the children become more and more independent and soon they'll be able to put on a meal or bake a dessert without much adult assistance.  That always helps with busy families!
* Cooking is a great sensory experience.  There are very few children who dislike being in the kitchen unless they have severe sensory issues.  Even my kiddos that do have sensory issues...since it involves food, they are willing to give it a try anyway.  I started with doing "non-messy" activities, being sure to use spoons and spatulas to keep them from getting "dirty" right away and they have progress so well in this area.  :-)  We can be a lot more "messy" without any crazy behaviors.  Ah!  Little by little!
* Children will be much more willing to try something they had a hand in making!  Involving a picky eater in cooking and baking is such a benefit I've seen over and over!
* Reading, Science, and Math are all parts of it!  Reading "real-life" directions on how to make something is important.  I'm a firm believer that if you can read and comprehend a recipe, you can cook.  No excuses!  :-)  So exploring with the recipe "language", figuring out conversions for recipes, understanding the science behind the cooking such as why yeast works and what to look for to make sure it's fresh...are all life skills!  Yes, I'm one of those moms that intentionally provide a measuring cup that is smaller than what they need.  It took awhile but my two older kiddos have learned to read through the whole recipe before starting AND check all measurement tools.  :-D  It's been SO good for them!  Lately we've been doing more "cooking tips" like when you have two ingredients in which you can use the same measuring spoon/cup, measure the dry ingredients first if you can. 
*  This provides time with mom "on their own" when we are doing it 1:1.  This is a big plus for us here this summer.
*  Helps them be aware of the expense of cooking/baking and how we need to "plan ahead".
* For the homeschooling mom...we can easily incorporate history/culture/geography!
*  We have so many more conversations about home cooked/baked vs. store bought foods and the differences.  Health Education anyone?  :-D
Oh, there are plenty more but there are some right off the top of my head.


We explored with baking the bread in the crockpot.
Um, well... it doubled nicely right inside the crockpot.   However, when we turned it on High as various recipes took an hour and a half to "bake" and it actually flattened.  That's it on the right.

So since the recipe was REALLY REALLY quick and easy, we did another batch and popped it into a warmed oven to raise and then baked it according to the directions on the recipe...or we THOUGHT we did.  :-)  That's it on the left.  We had it on at 350° for 50 minutes and that was too long.  You'll notice down below that the original recipe states 375° for 45 minutes.  Hmmm.  
Here's the recipe A. explored with today...
Easy-Kid Friendly:  *****
Taste: *****
Appearance: **
We are going to try this recipe again with doubling it and on a better weather day.  Kind of overcast and rainy and that could have effected the raising and baking.  As it stands, the kids liked it, the flavor was good, but I wouldn't make it for company!  (It was VERY good with homemade cherry jelly or honey.)

We found this recipe at Busy Mom's Menu Plan.

Simple Bread Dough Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

  1. Add yeast, sugar, salt, and flour to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
  2. Process on low for 1 minute.
  3. Slowly add water, then oil.
  4. Process until dough is no longer sticking to sides, and forms a ball.
  5. Remove dough, form into ball.
  6. Place in greased bowl and cover with a towel.  Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
To Freeze:
Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap.  Place in freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 6 weeks.
To Bake:
If using fresh dough, place into lightly greased loaf pan and punch dough down to fit pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until edges become crisp and golden brown. If using frozen, remove dough from freezer and thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before baking.

This makes a very small loaf. 
Definitely double it for a normal size loaf of bread.


  1. I was intrigued by making bread in the crockpot. It would be a great spot for raising, but can't quite imagine baking it in there. Wonder what it's texture was like? Of course, any type of fresh bread smothered in jam is a treat! :)

  2. The inside texture of the two types of bread were pretty much the same. The loaf from the oven was crispy on the outside and the crockpot loaf was not. We're going to try it again...I'll let you know how it turns out the 2nd time around. :-)