Friday, February 28, 2014

So, Yes, I Pulled It Off (AKA when will I stop ruining my life stressing about things I know I can do?)

I persevered, people.
Because that's just what I do.

I wish I had pics of the kids making the bread.
But, I had my hands full.
Literally and figuratively.

So, I followed THIS recipe from back in the day, blog style.
It is a very simple dough with short rising time, which helped me pull this all off in the time constraints of their specials schedule.  
I explained how yeast works and had a system for each kid to take a turn measuring ingredients.
Then had them each stir the dough
Then stir is again to see how much harder it was with the water absorbed.
I had them all take turns kneading it.
Then I brought out the dough I made in the morning that had risen.
They each got to feel the difference between the risen dough and the freshly kneaded dough.
We talked about how the yeast makes the dough rise.
Then I divided it up and showed them how to make the animals.

 It really went very well.  I worked with teams of 6 kids, which was perfect.
Then they'd leave & I'd bake and wait for the next team.

 And think about this:
And how I didn't have time to eat breakfast and how hungry I was.
And how badly I really wanted to eat one of these guys:
 The shapes were pretty easy and the kids felt successful.  
I'm glad I did it this way, instead of working towards one loaf per group.  They had so much more pride of ownership in their little animals.  They really impressed themselves.  
Key here: limit the animals to shapes that can actually be accomplished successfully.  
You will see that dolphins and zebras did not make the cut.

I also made a batch of the same dough without yeast, and baked a roll of that to compare to the yeast bread.  And left a lump of the dough to compare to the rising yeast dough later in the day.  
They were all very interested in comparing and contrasting the differences and feeling everything.

Oh course, when I got home at the end of the day I still had 3 batches of OVER risen dough that the kids had made to contend with.  
I made this:

and ate it for dinner.

The logistics should you ever have to do this (let's hope not):
I had the kids stand around a table (I had one of those awesome rainbow shaped tables so it was perfect for observing & working).  I stood in the middle and had one big mixing bowl and all the ingredients in front of me.  I had each kid take a turn standing with me and measuring something.  Then they went back to their spots.  Doing it this way kept the potential for mess in front of me and not in front of them where it might get spread around or cause distractions. I passed the bowl around the table having each kid stir twice around the bowl, then again around the table stirring twice around the bowl.  We talked about whether it was easier to stir the first round or second round.  Doing it all this way meant that the kids had very little down time between turns and kept them all pretty focused.  I asked a lot of comparing and contrasting questions to keep the other kids engaged in the process while they watched.  I finished the dough up and kneaded it a couple times in the bowl.  Then I set up a Silpat baking mat on either side of me and floured it lightly.  I had the kids knead the dough with a little flour on Silpat baking mats.  They are nonstick and so required less flour for kneading and kept the flour contained and off the table.   I divided it into two lumps and then the kids could rotate in two groups of 3. I had them each knead it for 2 minutes. I had them go back to their places. Then I brought out the risen dough I made earlier (to cut down on wait times) and had the kids poke a finger in it and then in the freshly kneaded dough to compare the difference & talk about how the yeast was working in the dough.  I cut the risen dough into 6 equal portions with my dough scraper.  I gave each kid a piece of parchment paper and had them shape their dough on that at their spots.  Again, nonstick, people... no extra flour needed. I baked them on parchment lined pans which allowed me to write the child's name next to their bread animal.  It worked perfectly.  Very little clean up for me (I'm so glad I thought of the Silpats and parchment paper!!).  Each group took about 30 minutes to make the dough & shape it.  Then I went on while their animals rested and I baked them.  
P.S. Eat breakfast first.


Torey said...

Dude! You rock! So I should sign you up to do this at my kids' school, right? I mean, you've already got the system down and everything.

PS-Still jealous of Baby's school. It looks so fun.

julie said...

Oh that is so great that you are going to do it at Torey's school (c'mon, let's bully her into this people.) You could become the roaming bread baker for area schools.

Baby will always remember that her amazing momma came into school and made her famous bread animals with her class.

Mrs Furious said...

The funny thing is, that for me it's the figuring out of logistics for a situation I can't anticipate that freak me out. Once I've done it, I feel like I could go in and do it every week, no problem. I'd almost be willing to take it on the road.

So far, HC is a great fit for Baby. If Kid gets in next year we'll see how good they really are. It is hard to judge the whole school when we are only exposed to the K/1 situation. It will be interesting to see how it works in the older grades.

God knows, all anyone needs to do is ask. I am apparently incapable of saying no to anything!

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