If your little one likes bread (and who doesn't love a good carb?), consider a hands-on lesson in bread baking. Not only will your house be filled with the smell of yeasty goodness, but baking makes a great activity for a little one--with some supervision, of course. So pop a chef's hat on your tot and let the flour fly. When you're done, you'll have a delectable loaf of bread, perfect for smothering in peanut butter and jelly.
Items you will need
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Big bowl
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 4 to 5 cups flour
- Bread pan
- Wire rack
- Butter, jelly and peanut butter
Don't take it too seriously--when a preschooler's in the kitchen, things are gonna get messy (and likely take three times as long as they normally do). A little patience will go a long way to making your baking project enjoyable for both you and your kiddo.
Suds up those hands before getting busy. You'll be teaching your little one that the first step in cooking and baking is washing germs away.
Lay out your cooking utensils and the ingredients on the counter so everything is easily accessible. Talk about the items you're assembling to give your child an overview of what goes into a loaf of bread. If you're afraid your tot may start pitching eggs and splattering oil, keep the ingredients out of your little one's reach.
Talk about safety in the kitchen. The hot oven should be off-limits to kids--only big people can put the bread into and take it out of the oven. No need to scare your little one, but it's important that he learns about the kitchen areas he shouldn't touch.
Measure and pour the warm water into the bowl. Point out that it's extremely important that the water not be too hot or too cold or the yeast won't rise properly. Invite your child to poke her finger into the water to test the temperature. As long as it feels comfortably warm, it's perfect.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It should foam up and get bubbly.
Add the honey, oil, salt and egg to the bubbly yeast. Help your kid measure, pour and stir everything well in the bowl. Add the flour until it gets hard to stir with the wooden spoon. It's okay if the flour flies and things get messy--have fun with it.
Place the dough onto the counter and knead if for a few minutes. Give a hunk of dough to your little one and let him dig his hands in, too--kids often love this step the most. Add more flour until the dough isn't sticky anymore, kneading for about 5 minutes.
Return the dough to the bowl and let it rise for about an hour. Tell your kiddo about how the yeast in the dough is going to make it grow and get bigger.
Punch down the risen dough--your little one might enjoy plunging her clean hands into the dough to deflate it. Knead it again for a few seconds and then put the dough into a greased bread pan. Let the dough rise again for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and pop the loaf into the oven. (Remember, adults only when working with the hot oven.) Let the bread bake for about 30 minutes until it's golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen the bread from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack for another 20 minutes.
Slice the bread and serve it with butter, jelly or peanut butter. Enjoy the delicious results of your baking project and give your tot a high-five for a job well done.
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