Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bread Baker's Apprentices

Willow mentioned only in passing that she wanted to learn how to make bread, but it immediately struck me as such a perfect activity (math! science! hands-on!) that I made a note of it, checked out some cookbooks, and added it to the litany of activities that I suggest whenever a child wanders up to me feeling a bit lost-ish ("Should we clean your room? Should we look through the microscope? Should we play a game? Should we bake some bread?").

At the moment, Syd's a little more the girl who wants to do stuff with Momma than Will, perennially immersed in a book, is, and so it was she and I who made the house's first loaves of French bread:
Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!: The Ultimate Breadmaking Book for Parents and KidsWe used the very clear instructions from Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!: The Ultimate Breadmaking Book for Parents and Kids (then checked out from the library, but since obtained for free from Amazon using my swagbucks, yay!), but unfortunately I didn't have any white flour on hand, and so substituted white wheat flour, and the results were merely satisfying. Of course, Sydney had a brilliant time kneading and punching and baking, so our dry loaves of rough white wheat bread were well worth the effort.

A few days later, I had bought white bread flour, Cake-approved!, AND I found Willow curled up on the couch, reading over and over the recipe for French bread, so when she declared that she wanted to bake French bread ALL by herself, with no hands-on help from the Momma, I said, "You betcha!"

And so she did:
I helped her interpret the directions, of course, and I got out the ingredients, and Will has enough experience with cooking that she knows how to level off measuring spoons and measure to the line that I show her on the measuring cup, etc. And she did do everything herself, just as she had requested. She stirred every stir and kneaded every knead and formed the loaves and poured the teakettle of boiling water in a pan at the bottom of the stove to fill the oven with steam and even put the pan with its loaves into the oven, although her father had to hold her around the middle to keep her balanced on her sound right leg.

Still, though, I'm not at all sure about how much flour she actually put in, because I'm pretty sure she lost count, and the salt spilled, and I think that the dough was more goofed off with than kneaded, per se, and that's all to explain to you that the loaves...
They were perfect. Exquisite. We took them with us to the drive-in to see Despicable Me (which Willow HATED, by the way, and cried and begged to go home until I walked her in my arms like a baby so that Sydney and Matt could finish the movie), along with some Earth Balance, and everyone agreed that, in Willow's words, "This is the best bread in the world."

Those two hands that made it are pretty perfect, too.


cake said...

ahh, sweet success! if i tell carl that willow baked her own french bread, he may be inspired to give it a try. he has been wanting to, but was nervous about it. could you make a copy of those pages in the book for us??? we may need them.

awesome photos!

Anonymous said...

Once again, you guys totally put our homeschooling to shame. My kids won't answer the phone, let alone make bread. I'm dropping my kids off at your house when I drop off the chairs. What, you think I'm kidding??

I used to have that bread book...think I actually donated our copy to the library.


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