One of my favorite ways to spend time with my children is in the kitchen. There are so many practical life skills that can be shared there. Today I want to share our bread making routine with you. It's fun, quick, and easy. And the kids LOVE it!
For a two loaf batch you'll need: 3 Cups warm water, 1 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 6 Cups flour. Honey is optional. (We add ours in as we are kneading later on).
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or container. I like to use a 4 quart container from the restaurant supply store. Then loosely cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or so. This container is perfect because, once it's risen all the way, the dough reaches right to the top. Now you are ready to preheat your oven to 400 deg. F. and shape your loaves. Kneading isn't really necessary with this recipe, but my girls like to play with the dough a bit. They also drizzle honey on the dough as they knead it, keeping the honey on the inside of the loaf. You can use greased and lightly floured bread pans, or just throw the shaped loaf on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Be creative! This is a huge part of the learning process. Simply feeling how the consistency of the dough changes as you work with it, add more flour to it, etc. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. (I always check on mine at 35 minutes and then decide how much longer to go).
Then we wait. We wash the dishes that got dirtied and visit about what the day will bring. We turn the oven light on and watch as the loaves rise. Sometimes we'll go over math facts, or I'll quiz them on spelling words, or just discuss current events. This is all part of real life learning.
Tada! Two beautiful loaves of honey-swirled, homemade goodness. Now you can let your loaves cool a bit before cutting into them. We like to have a warm loaf at tea time and save the other for dinner, or share it with a neighbor. Delicious! And so simple. I can't think of a better way to spend time with my children. (I use the same container and mix up more dough while the kiddos are eating. Once it rises I keep it in the fridge with the lid loosely on and pull it out the next morning for more bread.)
What are some of your favorite ways to learn in the kitchen? Please comment and let us know.