When we think of baking with kids, we often imagine whipping up frosting for cupcakes or filling cakes with cream. But why not introduce them to something simpler and more wholesome (and not to mention healthy)? This easy bread recipe is the perfect beginner recipe for kids and adults alike!
There’s nothing better than the oh-so-homely smell of freshly baked bread in the oven. And the best part? You don’t need to worry about unhealthy ingredients like sugar and butter! Bread is such an essential staple in our lives, and teaching our kids how to mix, knead, and bake bread is a great way to show them the value of our food and the effort it takes to produce it.
Bread can be super simple and easy to make. Our recipe is great for beginners and only requires 4 ingredients. So, if you’re new to bread baking yourself, then this is a great opportunity to learn together with the kids! However, we’d be lying if we said that baking bread wasn’t a time-consuming process. It absolutely is, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to teach kids the value of patience and perseverance. Kids must wait for the bread to rise, for the bread to rest and at the end they’ll be proud of what they created with their own hands!
- Total time: 4 hours, 25 minutes
- Prep time: 4 hours
- Cook time: 25 minutes
- Makes: 2 x 20cm loaves or 1 boule
- 360ml (1.5 cups) room temperature water
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 420g (3.25 cups) bread flour - extra for pan and hands
- Optional: cornmeal for pan
Take a large un-greased mixing bowl and whisk together the salt, yeast and flour (1, 2). Create a hole in the mixture and pour in the water (3). Gently mix together with a rubber spatula (4). The dough will seem a bit dry, but keep kneading until all the flour is incorporated (5,6). This is the point where you can let your little one start using their hands! Make sure they are washed well with soap before you start kneading. The dough will be a little sticky, but this is a good thing! Mould the dough into a ball as best as you can.
Use aluminium foil or plastic wrap to cover the bowl (7) and set it aside on a counter. For the next 2 to 3 hours, your dough will start to rise. The dough will increase by twice its size. It will stick to the sides of the bowl and will have many air bubbles.
If the kids are too excited to wait, you can move straight on to step 4. If you want a little more flavour, we recommend you let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least one night. After you have let the dough rise, you can move the covered bowl into the refrigerator for 12 hours. The dough will puff up even more! Your kids will be in awe of the big change and they might want to poke their fingers in it.
Decide where you are going to work and sprinkle some flour onto the surface of the counter (8). Pull the cold dough out of the bowl and onto the surface. Some of the air bubbles you see will deflate as you work with the dough. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough in half if you want two loaves. Dust your hands with flour and begin shaping the dough into two long loaves or one round boule. Take out a non-stick baking sheet and lightly dust it with flour or cornmeal. The cornmeal will give it a little kick of flavour and some crunch to the crust. Place the loaves about 3 inches apart (9). Loosely cover with a lightweight kitchen towel and let the bread rest again for 45 minutes. Place the baking sheet somewhere it will be undisturbed.
Preheat the oven to 250°C (475°F). When the oven is ready, it's time for the fun part! Use a very sharp knife and score the bread with something special. To score means to cut and when you’re scoring bread you need to cut at a depth of one centimetre (half inch). You could try scoring your family’s initials or a flowery design onto the loaf. Ask your kids for their suggestions. This is your time to get creative! During the rest time, if your loaves have flattened, use floured hands to mould them into shape again.
Pick up the scored and shaped dough and put it on the flour or cornmeal dusted pan. Place in the preheated oven on the centre rack. For 30 minutes bake the bread until the crust is golden brown. Test them by gently tapping on the loaves. If they sound hollow then the bread is done baking.
Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before you slice and serve it. You may store the leftovers loosely covered for around 5 days.
Don’t forget! You can serve your kids the fresh bread with all sorts of yummy spreads:
Tomatoes and cheese (mini pizza)
Kiwi and cream cheese
Egg salad with cucumbers