The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello-- learning to cook with children!

cougarrakira's picture

Hello-- learning to cook with children!

Hi everyone!  The site is amazing.  I've been learning to bake (mostly pastry, cakes, cookies, some bread) for about 15 years now, on and off, and have never done it at less than a mile above sea level-- I have no idea how most recipes are supposed to turn out, just what they do here!  Most of my baking right now is historical recreations at a local museum, but I'm undertaking a new project, and am trying to learn how to bake with very young children.  Thanks for all the recipes, ideas, and inspiration!


Soundman's picture

Welcome, Rakira, to TFL!

Wow that has me intrigued, historical recreations? Give us an idea of what kind of recipes that entails, OK?

Let us see some pictures of these creations as well, please.

Soundman (David)

chahira daoud's picture
chahira daoud

Welcome Rakira,

Go on , i am encouraging you , i have two little kids , and i am struggling to bake.

You can also share with us photos and recipes, there is always a hope.

Welcome on TFL.

cougarrakira's picture

I interpret for two periods, both in the American West: 1860's and 1890's.  The 1860's interpretation involves frontier cooking: dutch oven, hearth, and reflector oven cooking.  The 1890s allows use of a wood-fired stove.   For both periods, we use common recipes of the time, locationally and seasonally available foods, and period cooking methods.  Breads of the 1890s are often basic white breads, or fancier pastries for teas.  Scones and crumpets are favorites.  Breads of the 1860's are generally whole wheat, with white flour used for special occasions.  Doughnuts, biscuts, and pies are typical.  I don't have any pictures, but I'll try to get some (and post them) this winter, when we do most of our  cooking. 

edh's picture

Stick with it! I don't know how young you're talking about, but I've always had my son in the kitchen with me and it's paid off; he loves cooking now, and is fascinated by culinary history.

In fact, I owe the fact that I grind much of my own grain to him; when he was much younger (5 maybe?) he was intrigued by the description in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books of them grinding flour and making bread. We had a little-used hand mill tucked away, so I bought some ridiculously over priced wheat berries and we made bread. The funny part was that, having ground the grain and mixed up the dough (had to use commercial yeast; I hadn't discovered this site and the wonders of wild yeast yet!), I left him kneading, and forgot to come back and tell him to stop! Luckily it was a smallish batch for smallish hands, but that thing must have gotten at least 1/2 hour or 45 minutes of kneading. Lightest whole wheat bread I'd ever had!

So welcome to the site, and enjoy the littlies while they're little; you can always give them a bit of flour & water "dough" to muddle with...


Eli's picture

Young children can be tough. You have to marinate them hours ahead of time. The Hansel and Gretel story reminded me to put a lock on the oven or they will crawl out.

 (sorry, I couldn't help myself. When I saw the tag line, "cooking with children", I just couldn't resist.) My mom cooked with me. She is a great cook and loves to cook especially for large crowds and family. Funny, her mother hates to cook and would have had the kitchen closed off if you didn't have to use it as a pass thru to another room. I started a cookbook at around 8 years old and have since continued to stock pile recipes. My next plan is to scan them into the computer and create an access database. Ohh, such a dream at this point.

sidthesloth's picture

I'm sorry but this made me laugh. The title also had me thinking the same thing hehe. =D

My mom is also a great cook & baker but it was only a couple of years ago that I ventured into cooking and baking.  I learned a lot from her by watching while she made dishes and baked stuff. She would also let me do the minor preparations and mixing when I was little. I am constantly amused at how much I subconsciously picked up her habits and techniques when I bake and cook. What she does is one of the things I aspire to be able to do. =)

cougarrakira's picture

Ok, yes, sometimes the whole Hansel and Gretel scenario seems pretty tempting. ;-)  Good thing I'm trying to do this in a toaster oven... The children I bake with are really little-- 1-3 yrs, mostly 1-2.  I have a couple of recipes that are supposed to be tried and true for the amount of work the children can do (ie I measure everything, they dump and knead), but haven't yet tried them in the toaster oven.  We've been doing dump and pour quickbreads instead, since I know my muffin pan fits.  Anyone else baking in a toaster oven? Thanks!

cougarrakira's picture


 Baking with children/Toaster ovenAttempt one: Baking with children/Toaster oven

Ok... we tried our first yeast bread today.  I approximately halved a basic white bread recipe to make a single loaf instead of two, but used double the yeast, since what I had available had been sitting in the closet for at least a year, and probably longer.  We just dumped the yeast into the flour, and used room temp. milk.  The kids kneaded for about 30-45 minutes though, with different children kneading more or less well.  Periodically, I'd collect all the dough, mix it together, and redistribute, so the overall kneading balanced out.  Let rise once, punch down, let rise in a boule, and bake on a cookie sheet in the toaster oven.  I was really surprised at both how evenly the bread baked, and how moist it was.  The crust was really crisp and flakey, but inside it was super moist!

micki's picture

That's all I can figure out.  Why/how else so many little hands?  Plus just the toaster oven.  But how does that tie in with the 1860's and 1890's?  Sorry, had to ask.  Micki