One of my earliest memories as a child was in a Waldorf Preschool on Bread Day. Even in my 30’s, I can remember that Bread Day was on Thursday. The room would filled with the comforting scent of baking wheat with a touch of honey. I remember patting and rolling my little section of light brown dough and lovingly setting it in a tiny little loaf pan.
As a parent, I can appreciate the beauty of a weekly rhythm and the importance of allowing children to bloom in the comfort of a weekly rhythm. Home blessing day, Grocery day, Bread day, Laundry day, Park day, etc. But, the truth is, as much as I love baking, bread is pretty daunting for me. So, I’ve found a few helpful tips in the past year to make bread day not only successful, but enjoyable as well.
A good recipe is a fantastic place to start. While I’m a huge proponent of searching Pinterest for just about any recipe I could need, this is one of the cases where I wanted to outsource this part of my research. I set out to find a small collection of recipes that are tried and true, and hands on teachers found successful in their classrooms. The book I found is ‘The Waldorf Book of Breads’ (I also own the Book of Kindergarten Snacks and Book of Soups as well). It’s less than 60 pages but stuffed full of incredible recipes that contain helpful classroom hints and is organized in a way that I’ve always been able to find exactly what I’m looking for whether it’s a simple Kindergarten Bread (like what I’m featuring in this post) or a festival themed dragon bread for Michaelmas.
The Waldorf Book of Breads is published by www.SteinerBooks.org, I purchased my copy through Amazon, but if you get a chance, www.SteinerBooks.org is an incredibly beautiful resource of learning and teaching materials. If you choose to purchase the book through my Amazon link here, you will be supporting the running of my blog as it is an affiliate link.
Prepping materials (as always) is the key to success when baking with kids. I knew based on my 3 year old that they really wouldn’t be interested in mixing the dough or proofing it like they were interested when we made Honey Cakes from start to finish. Since our Co-Op starts at about 9:30, I started the first steps of creating the dough around 8:30 so it would have time to do it’s first proof while the kids got settled and warmed up to the learning space. When it was time to get working on the dough, I liberally floured a clean table top and portioned out pieces of dough for each of the kids to work. Since the dough was already proofed, there’s not a whole lot a young child can do to ruin the dough other than stomping it into the floor. So, after distributing dough, I worked on my portion near them, but I don’t offer instruction. Typically the kids start to watch as I work the dough and develop their own techniques while mimicking the turns, folds, and punches. It’s really difficult as an adult to not offer instruction, but the freedom and exploration that happens with dough is so vital to a child’s development. Honoring a child with the space to experiment and observe is a precious gift that often isn’t allowed to children as they reach this stage in childhood.
What always fascinates me while working with young ones is the wonder in their eyes as they watch their little loved lumps of dough become full, blooming loaves in the oven. Periodically while they were playing I’d ask how the bread was doing in the oven and they loved peeking in through the glass door to see their little loaves rising and becoming a beautiful golden brown.
While I’m not going to include the recipe that we used today (Kindergarten Classroom Bread, Page 8 of The Waldorf Book of Breads by www.steinerbooks.org). I hope that you were able to glean some tips for baking with your young ones at home if this is a new skill to you. Truly, the moral of the story is to jump in with both feet and remember that the memories made while creating something so full of love and life is far more important than any failure that may ensue.
Today’s post includes affiliate links to purchase the cookbook referenced at Amazon.com. If you choose to use my affiliate link, you won’t pay any more than usual, but you will be contributing to the running and operation of my blog. Thank you as always for your support.