I love making bread with my kids: it’s simple; aside from ingredients and a way to measure them all you need is a big bowl to put everything in; you can do all kinds of fun stuff with flavours and shapes; it’s scientific (the yeasts eat the salt and give off carbon dioxide to make the dough rise); and it’s hard to go wrong, no matter what they do.
Here’s our basic ingredients:
500g plain flour (I’d love to use brown/wholewheat/other interesting flour, but here in South Korea I have trouble finding anything other than white wheat for bread)
7g instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil (could be something else, we use canola if we haven’t any olive)
300ml warm water
Optional fillings (a few of our favourites):
- a packet of malteasers
- a couple of handfuls of cranberries and/or raisins
- a tablespoon of sage and a couple of handfuls of grated cheese (we use mozzarella pizza cheese as it’s easy to come by over here but you could try anything)
Now, we don’t actually have scales or measuring cups in our house… it’s not something that was here when we arrived and it’s not something I’ve bothered to buy. I thought about it, but I have no storage space for half the things we do have, and as 1 heaped tablespoon roughly equals 25g we find that guesswork normally gets us there. So in the pictures you’ll see the kids measuring by counting (good practice!) spoonfuls into the bowl (ok, it’s a saucepan – again, why buy extra stuff for a house in a foreign country where we only intend to live around 3 years when we can make do?)
Mix the flour salt and yeast together. (Try to make sure at least some of it is mixed IN A BOWL rather than on the floor).
Add the oil and water. (Try to prevent toddler from adding ALL the water in one go as you might need slightly less, or add a bit more flour if your dough ends up sticky. Also, your preschooler wants to do some too, and he made a special hole to pour it into).
Squish everything into a dough and play with it for a while! (Try not to let the kids eat all of it yet, and make sure that you do knead for 5 or 10 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth and stretchy).
Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a towel and leave it in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
Go check out how big your dough got! And then poke it until it gets flat again, get it out of the bowl and play with it some more. Also add any fillings – flatten out the dough a bit, make a kind of hollow or dent in the middle to put the extras in and then fold the dough up around and knead it thoroughly through the whole dough.
Shape your loaf or rolls (good practice for dividing things into even-sized pieces), or put the dough in a tin. (Try not to let toddler destroy all of preschooler’s creations).
Leave to rise until doubled in size again (about 1 hour again).
Bake in a preheated oven at around 200 degrees Celsius until golden brown. It will also sound hollow if you tap it on the underneath. A loaf should take 25-30 minutes, rolls more like 20 minutes, but it might vary a bit depending on your oven.