Welcome to week 22 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a Learning Moment that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
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This week’s Kitchen Classroom is a Weekend Project! Weekends are a great time to bake some homemade bread. Our recipe for Easy Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread requires no kneading or shaping, so it’s a great first bread for beginner young chefs to try! Featuring nutty whole-wheat flour and a touch of honey, this fluffy bread is great to use for everything from sandwiches to toast. As they observe their loaf rising, kids will learn more about the role that temperature plays in how quickly or slowly yeast works in a dough.
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Here’s what’s cooking for the week of May 31st through 6th, 2021.
Weekend Project: Easy Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread
Making a loaf of sliceable sandwich bread from scratch can be easier than you think! Thanks to a generous amount of water, this bread dough comes together like a batter that can be poured into a loaf pan (no kneading or shaping required!). After some waiting time to let the dough rise, the loaf is popped in the oven and baked. Make sure to use instant or rapid-rise yeast in this recipe; active dry yeast won’t work. And we know it’s hard to wait, but you’ll get the cleanest slices by waiting for the bread to cool all the way to room temperature before digging in!
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
1½ cups (8¼ ounces) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (5½ ounces) bread flour
2¼ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (11 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
Science and Engineering Practices (Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data):
As you measure out the ingredients for this recipe, ask kids: Have you heard of yeast before, or used it in a recipe? What do you know about what it is, or how it works? What role do you think it will play in making this loaf of bread?
When kids have shared what they know, explain to them that yeast is alive! It’s a tiny creature—so small that just ½ teaspoon contains millions of them! Yeast get their energy from starch (found in flour) and sugar, just like you get energy from the food you eat. As yeast eat starch or sugar, they “burp” carbon dioxide gas. That gas causes yeast doughs to rise.
Explain to kids that one factor that determines how quickly yeast create that carbon dioxide gas (and therefore how quickly dough will rise) is temperature. The warmer the air is around the dough, the faster the yeast will work. Ask kids: Does it feel cool, warm, or hot in the kitchen today? Do you think that will make the dough rise more slowly or more quickly? If you have a thermometer or thermostat that displays the temperature, check to see what temperature it is inside.
Then, ask kids to make a prediction: Based on how the air temperature feels in the kitchen, how many minutes do you think it will take the bread dough to rise to ½-inch above the edge of the loaf pan in step 4? (Hint: The recipe gives a rising time window of 30 minutes to 1 hour.) Then, carry out an investigation:
- After transferring the dough to the loaf pan, start a stopwatch to keep track of how long the dough takes to rise.
- Have kids check the bread often with a ruler to see how close it’s getting to ½ inch above the rim of the loaf pan. (About every 10 minutes at first, and then about every 5 minutes as it’s getting closer to the mark.)
- When the dough reaches ½ in above the rim of the loaf pan, stop the stopwatch.
- Ask kids: How did the actual time compare to your prediction? How many minutes more or less did it take (kids can use subtraction to figure this out), or were you right on? Why do you think that is?
Take It Further
Science and Engineering Practices (Planning and Carrying Out Investigations):
In case you missed it, Week 8 of Kitchen Classroom 2021 featured an experiment all about yeast and temperature! Kids can perform a bubbly science experiment in The Inflatable Science of Yeast and learn more about how the temperature of water in a dough affects how yeast works. And for more yeasty recipes, kids can try making our Almost No-Knead Bread, Pizza Dough, or even Overnight Waffles!
On sale June 2021 Food Art Box
The July edition of the Young Chefs’ Club celebrates the artistic side of cooking. Kids create art on their plates using a set of seven recipes (and the squeeze bottles included in their box): Simple Seared Chicken Breasts, Fish in Foil, Smokey Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, and Scallion-Parsley Sauce, plus Double-Chocolate Sheet Cake, White Chocolate Sauce, and Raspberry-Lime Coulis. Use our techniques for turning food into wow-worthy edible art! Plus, kids will explore the magic of tie-dye using edible ingredients. This box is on sale throughout June and arrives in July.