Welcome to week 38 of Kitchen Classroom, 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.
Set aside some time for this edition of Kitchen Classroom for a Weekend Project. Kids will make a tasty flatbread topped with za’atar and olive oil, inspired by mana’eesh, a round Arabic flatbread. After baking, they’ll practice using a ruler and finding the perimeter and area of their rectangular bread in the Learning Moment (and then snack on one piece while they find the perimeter of another!). Then in Take It Further, kids learn what exactly za’atar is and how to make their own version of this spice blend at home.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to email@example.com. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of September 20th through 26th, 2021.
Weekend Project: Za’atar Bread
Young chefs can set aside some time this weekend to make this flavorful flatbread that’s a perfect afternoon snack. After stretching the yeasted dough to fill the baking sheet, kids will top it with a mixture of olive oil and za’atar, a spice blend frequently used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Kids can dip their bread into Greek yogurt or labneh, a tangy, very thick Middle Eastern yogurt.
[GET THE RECIPE]
What You’ll Need
Vegetable oil spray
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, measured separately
1⅓ cups (10⅔ ounces) ice water
3½ cups (19¼ ounces) bread flour
2½ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2½ teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup za'atar spice blend
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Math (Measurement: Area and Perimeter):
In this recipe, young chefs stretch their dough to fill a rimmed baking sheet, creating a rectangular flatbread that’s a perfect vehicle on which to practice using a ruler and taking measurements. Challenge kids to practice using a ruler while making this recipe. Remind them that they should line up the “0” on the ruler with the edge of the item they’d like to measure, such as the inner rim baking sheet, and hold the ruler level. Ask them what the different marks on the ruler mean, and remind them if they get stuck (the longest ones mark an inch, the next longest mark half inches, then quarter inches, and so on).
After sliding their flatbread onto a cutting board in step 12, ask kids to calculate the perimeter of the flatbread before cutting it into pieces.
- Start by asking kids to share what they know about what perimeter is and how to calculate it.
- Confirm for kids that perimeter is the distance around the outside of a two-dimensional shape. For a rectangle, it’s found by adding the lengths and widths of the sides together.
- Ask kids: What is the perimeter of the flatbread? (It should be roughly the same size as the rimmed baking sheet, which is typically 8 inches wide and 13 inches long.)
(Answer: 8 inches + 8 inches + 13 inches + 13 inches = 42 inches. If their flatbread measures a little smaller, their perimeter will also be smaller.)
- Then, ask kids if they know what area is and how to calculate it.
- Confirm for kids that area is the space occupied by a two-dimensional shape (i.e., the space inside the perimeter of the flatbread). In rectangles, it’s found by multiplying the length by the width.
- Ask kids: What is the area of the flatbread?
- (Answer: 8 inches x 13 inches = 104 square inches)
- Then, kids can proceed with cutting the bread into approximately equal pieces. Ask kids: What is the perimeter of one piece of bread? Have them measure one piece’s length and width, and add them together. (If they’re comfortable adding fractions or decimals, kids can measure to the nearest quarter inch. Remember that ¼ = .25; ½ = .5; and ¾ = .75. If this isn’t comfortable for kids yet, they can round to the nearest inch.)
(Example: 3¼ inches + 3¼ inches + 2¾ inches + 2¾ inches = 12 inches; or 3 inches + 3 inches + 3 inches + 3 inches = 12 inches)
Take It Further
Social Studies (Culture):
Za’atar is what gives this flatbread its powerful aroma and flavor. But what exactly is it? Tell kids that za’atar is a spice blend that’s popular in Middle Eastern cuisines, and you can find it in many different dishes. It can be found mixed with olive oil for dipping bread, drizzled over hummus, or sprinkled over meat and fish.
Kids can make their own za’atar with just three ingredients: dried thyme; sesame seeds; and ground sumac, a tart, fruity, deep-red spice. Instruct kids to make their own batch of za’atar that they can use to spice up roasted vegetables, hummus, popcorn, and anything else they’d like to add a sprinkle of spice to!
What You’ll Need
½ cup dried thyme
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and cooled
1½ tablespoons ground sumac
Small jar with tight-fitting lid
To Make Za’atar
- Working in batches, place thyme in spice grinder and process until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer ground thyme to small jar with tight-fitting lid.
- Add toasted sesame seeds and sumac to jar. Cover jar with lid to seal. Shake until combined. (Za’atar can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 month.)