Home Cookin': A Child's First Bread | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Home Cookin': A Child's First Bread

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Vermont has no shortage of good local bread — from the sliced sesame wheat loaves from Shelburne’s O Bread, to the jalapeño-cheddar rolls from Burlington’s August First, to the crusty baguettes from Middlesex’s Red Hen Baking Co. With such a bounty nearby, I’ve never felt compelled to bake bread at home. But on a recent rainy, icy morning, when getting out of the house with a three-year-old seemed like an insurmountable task, my son, Theo, and I decided to give bread baking a whirl.
click to enlarge Theo happily punching the dough.
  • Theo happily punching the dough.

We used a recipe called “A Child’s First Bread” from a new cookbook, Sylvia’s Table by Liz Neumark with Carole Lalli. After Neumark’s youngest daughter died just before her seventh birthday, the mom of three other children bought a farm and established the Sylvia Center — a non-profit that teaches kids in New York City and the Hudson Valley how to make fresh, healthy food. Sylvia’s Table isn’t a kids’ cookbook per se, but it includes many family-friendly recipes inspired by the Sylvia Center's work.

Theo and I got started by mixing together yeast, sugar, warm water and bread flour, then letting it sit for 10 minutes until it began to bubble. Theo had never encountered yeast before, so we watched a couple of YouTube videos about how the fungus does its job. Theo really understood — and wasn’t grossed out by — the concept that yeast is alive, a little organism that greedily eats up sugar and then burps out carbon dioxide, which creates the air bubbles that make bread fluffy.

Stage two required adding the remainder of the flour to the bubbly mixture we’d created, and then kneading the dough for about 10 minutes. I’m not sure Theo ever mastered the recommended kneading technique of pushing the dough away with the heel of the hand and turning it back over itself, but he sure did have fun manhandling the big lump of dough.

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About The Author

Alison Novak

Alison Novak

Alison is the former managing editor at Kids VT, Seven Days' parenting publication and writes about education for Seven Days.


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