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Bread Making in Parent-Child Groups

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by Letitia Costain
Published in Kindling, Issue 8, Autumn 2005 (UK)

Bread making is one of the most satisfying activities to do in Parent and Child groups,
not only for the child but for the parents and carers.
It is one of the most basic ancient and comforting tasks that humans have created
through many transformations of ways of making it, owing to the fact that changes in
human consciousness bring about dietary change. To read more about this very
interesting journey Rudolf Hauschka’s book on Nutrition is very revealing about all
aspects of diet.

The children can connect with that journey on another level in an unconscious way.
The senses are brought into play as we knead and touch the dough activating the
fungus, which leads to awakening the brain – then there is the wonderful smell of the
cooking of the dough. There is the feeling of connection and community bringing a
sense of achievement, when the little rolls and loaves are cooked to take home at the
end of the session.

It is important that when ever possible to mix the dough in front of the group, then the
process can be absorbed, even if no one is watching! When the dough is ready,
sprinkle some flour at each place on the table, which the children can play with for a
while. Meanwhile sing a song like “patter cake, patter cake” or “five sugar buns in the
bakers shop” etc. or other baking song one might know, then give a piece of dough to
each child and carer to work with. Don’t forget to work with ones own piece of dough
and sing! What is made can be place on lightly greased oven trays in the middle of the

Don’t be daunted with the idea that you cannot make bread. As there is not time for it
to rise, let the kneading of the little and big fingers do the work with our angels and
you will be surprised what lovely bread you have all made. You can also add raisins,
sunflower seeds etc. At Michaelmas you can make a dragon loaf or a wheat sheaf
with some mice on top.

Suggestion for Whole meal Bread
500g/11b strong wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp Quick yeast
1tsp salt
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
325ml/11floz hot water
1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and quick yeast.
2. Carefully measure the water and roughly mix it into the flour.
3. Add the oil and continue mixing to form a ball of dough.
4. Knead the cough in the bowl, or on a table, until smooth and pliable.
5. Place on greased baking trays.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven 230c/430F/Gas 8 for about 35/40 minutes. (For a loaf
but could be less time for rolls.)


keywords: baking, parent-toddler, parenting program, early childhood