Baking Bread with Babies

“The smell of bread baking gives a home a palpable aura of care, comfort and security. It enlivens people’s sense of well-being, to which children are the most sensitive of all.” – W.Cohen from Baking Bread With Children

While taking Eloise’s wonderful A Beautiful Childhood course I was inspired by Waldorf week to try baking bread with Peter.

It seemed like a wonderful way to involve him in a new practical life activity, give him a fun sensory experience, and of course fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread while creating something delicious for us all to eat.

We’ve done it a few times now, during a slow Sunday afternoon. I’ll quickly mix up a simple dough and then we’ll sit down all three of us to knead it. We break off a small piece for Peter who mostly enjoys chewing it but will also whack it and throw it and generally enjoys making a floury mess. Matthew and I take turns working the rest of the dough, occasionally incorporating Peter’s piece back into it and giving him another bit to play with.

It’s such a lovely, cosy ritual and the kneading is really quite meditative. I think perhaps we’d do it every week but we don’t always work our way through the loaf (in which case I turn the rest into croutons).

And I imagine as he gets older, Peter will be able to take on more and more of the process (if he wants to, of course): pouring the ingredients into the bowl, mixing them together, eventually measuring them himself. And one day, carefully putting the loaf into the oven.

It’s so important to me that Peter knows where food comes from – from farm to table. And I hope he’ll learn to appreciate the simple pleasure of making things from scratch.

After all, I’m sure that the family who bakes bread together …well, at the very least they eat well together.

In case you’re curious, this is the recipe we’ve been using:

  • 3 cups strong bread flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 packet of quick action yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (we usually use olive oil or melted butter)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Knead for 10 minutes. Shape into a loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise for 30 minutes (it should double in size). Preheat oven to 180c. Bake for 20-30 minutes. It will be golden brown and the bottom will have a hollow sound when you tap it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *