My son burst excitedly through the door …
“Mom! We have to cook two loaves of bread! One for us and one to sell for charity.”
I looked at him a bit puzzled. “Um, okay, but why?”
Turns out King Arthur Flour has a program called Bake for Good and my son’s seventh grade class was one of the participating schools. I had a good excuse to “teach kids to bake.”
King Arthur provided the kids with all the necessary ingredients and directions to bake two loaves of bread. One stayed with the family and the other was sold at school with the proceeds going to charity.
Well, heck, if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it! This past Sunday we broke out the booklet and the flour and I began coaching my son through the process. He took the lead and I chuckled when the flour came whooshing out of the bag and all over the counter … and the floor.
Bread might be the staff of life, but if you’re teaching kids to cook you tend to start with the more enticing dishes … like cookies. Or in my son’s case, steak tips.
Our bread experience was a process of stickiness, a lot of flour, and patience as waited for the dough to rise and then finally bake. That said, my son loved it all, cracking jokes, reading off the directions, and stirring … lots of stirring.
Cooking Tips for Kids
Here are five tips for teaching kids to bake:
Choose their favorite recipes. Yes I started off way back with my son and chocolate chip cookies, but our cooking classes quickly escalated to more sophisticated fare like those steak tips and an egg white omelette.
Let them lead the lessons. I tried to push knife skills a bit too early and it didn’t end well. It was blood free, but still a touch traumatic. I gradually worked him back up to the chef’s knife. Now he’s great.
Cooking starts in the grocery store. Take your child to the store with you and let them see the difference between a box mix and cooking from scratch. The difference in ingredients can be pretty eye opening!
Pepper the lessons with tips. Most of my cooking lessons came from my grandmother and my father. They often threw in side tips. I caught myself doing the same thing with my son such as “fluff the flour before you measure” and “a big T means tablespoon, a little t means teaspoon”.
Cooking exposure comes from anywhere. We took our son to see the movie Chef and he loved it. We immediately went home and made grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, swishing the bread around in the butter like they did in the movie. We also watch “Top Chef” together so he can start to absorb some foodie goodness.
In the end it was a great experience and my son went to school today with his loaf of bread, happy for the experience. We’re already planning our next cooking adventure. What do you do to encourage your kids to cook? I’d love to hear your ideas.
I believe King Arthur Flour is still looking for schools to participate, so if you want to participate, drop ’em a line. We did receive the ingredients and directions for free, but my opinions are mine.