With a bit of patience, the simplest of ingredients—flour, water, yeast, salt—transform into a beautiful loaf of chewy, crusty, sliceable bread that any kid (or grown-up!) would be proud to have made. This dough in this recipe needs to rise for at least 8 hours, so be sure to plan ahead before you start.
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What You’ll Need
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) room-temperature water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Vegetable oil spray
Science (Observation skills):
This recipe provides an excellent opportunity for kids to practice their observation skills. After they’ve stirred together the dough in step 1, ask kids:
- What does the dough look like?
- What does the dough feel like when you touch it with your hands?
Encourage kids to think of as many adjectives (descriptive words) as possible to describe the dough, such as “shaggy,” “beige,” and “floury.” Kids can also write down their observations and also take a few “before” photos of the dough, both from overhead and from the side of the bowl (if your bowl is transparent).
After the dough has risen for 8 to 18 hours, have kids observe it before they continue with step 3. Ask kids:
- What does the dough look like now? How has it changed? (Refer to kids’ notes and photos, if you have them, for comparison.)
- What does the dough feel like now when you touch it with your hands? How has it changed?
Again, encourage kids to use adjectives to describe what the risen dough looks and feels like, such as “smooth,” “bubbly,” and “soft,” and “stretchy.”
Kids will likely notice that, after rising, the dough takes up much more space in the bowl, and its texture is smoother and also bubbly. Explain to kids that a few things have happened to the dough as it sat for all that time:
- The yeast ate some of the starch or sugar in the flour and “burped” out carbon dioxide gas. That gas caused yeast dough to rise and become bubbly.
- The flour absorbed a lot of the water in the dough, which makes the dough’s texture smoother. It also helped gluten—a web of proteins—to form, which helps give the dough its smooth, stretchy texture (and will give the baked bread its structure).