The Fresh Loaf

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Baking Bread for Young Children

Petek's picture

Baking Bread for Young Children

One of my neighbors is a single mom with three young children (between age two and six, two girls and a boy). I would like to bake bread that would be both palatable and healthy for the kids. I googled for such recipes but came up with bread for kids to help bake and commercial healthy bread. I'm thinking of a recipe that includes both enriched white flour and white whole wheat flour. Also whole milk and possibly eggs. I usually like my breads less sweet, but for this would add an average amount of sweetener. Any other suggestions for healthy and palatable breads for kids? As far as I know, none of them have any dietary restrictions.

tpassin's picture

I think that enriched doughs will always be a hit.  For kids (or US kids, at least), a soft crust is probably a good idea.  So swap out some of the water for milk or (maybe better) buttermilk.  You can add some oil or butter, but dairy will include butterfat so with dairy you may not need to add any.

Natural leavening would taste better if you can keep it from getting too sour (they might have to learn to appreciate a sour tang).  So perhaps start with yeasted bread, or a poolish.

I'd start with a pan bread - easiest for sandwiches and toast.  If that gets accepted well, try for a hearth bread, and try adding some whole wheat.  

Maybe something here will be useful!


Petek's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. Was definitely going to begin with a yeasted bread, and baked in a pullman pan, Also thinking of adding a small amount of soy flour (not so much as to affect the taste) for extra nutrition.

tpassin's picture

For improving nutrition, I'd go for natural leavening together with some whole (or high extraction) grains over soy.  Also, you already mentioned using eggs, which would be good nutritionally speaking, as well as adding to the enriched taste and mouth feel.

You could also look at the masa harina bread recipe I posted recently -

It has a lot of masa harina as well as dairy and an egg, and the masa harina, being treated with lime, is a good source of B vitamins.  This bread could be baked in a Pullman pan with good results.

You could also do a Japanese milk bread leavened with sourdough.  I tried this once and loved it, and I bet the whole family will gobble it up.

jo_en's picture

I  would caution a bit on soy (or beans) in bread. I tried bean flours in varying amounts and often there was a definite beany flavor.  But I did grind them from dried beans. I don't have much experience with "bought" flours.

Your goods will be a blessing!

gavinc's picture

This is weird, I know. Our 4 year old granddaughter likes our Vermont sourdough straight from the freezer; spread with Nutella, no butter. I slice it into "soldiers". She doesn't want it toasted; just frozen. Weird. So kids will surprise you with what they want. Her sister at the same age liked blue cheese and oysters!. 



Sabina's picture

You might consider just making your normal bread and seeing if they like it. There's no particular reason to assume these children want soft, sweet bread. 

Sugarowl's picture

Enriched doughs are nice. My kids like 30% whole wheat with a tablespoon of honey. I wouldn't be too concerned about making a "super healthy" bread. Most kids are on a multivitamin. I would recommend against anything with seeds or nuts as you don't know about allergies, the texture may be off putting, and might be hard to chew for a two year old. My five year old has a hard time with bagels, so I would imagine you would need to stay away from something that is very chewy or crusty. Regular enriched white flour with some added whole grain flour would be fine.

One last thought, make sure you put an ingredient list on it in case she or someone she knows has an allergy. Home made bread is always devoured by everyone.

Petek's picture

Thanks for all the helpful comments. I'll go with the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" school of thought. 

therearenotenoughnoodlesintheworld's picture

If you mean similar to what their friends eat (and often their expectations) then that is easy. If you mean to focus on 'healthy', then that is a whole other question...and not a simple one.

It really depends on what the parents are looking for and where the children are with their eating habits.

Generally those who exist in "Wonder White" bread cultures, bread is soft with quite a creamy taste - and even more so for children who haven't experienced different breads. Remember the power of children's peer groups for who it is almost an unquestionable tenet.  So starting with any bread that will at least align with that will be a hit...even better if it has none of the downsides of typical processed bread.  

It is pointless starting out with bread they are reluctant to eat...the children will just replace the bread snack/lunch they would have eaten with other food easy to hand. That is neither a positive or healthy outcome and just makes an issue for their parents and your relationship with the family.



There are millions of recipes and you probably have leads on a few you would like to start with. However, just a point to think about: - if your normal flour doesn't produce a very pleasing taste/texture that aligns with the children's expectations....CAPUTO PIZZA flour actually makes a very creamy white bread loaf - even without adding milk to the liquids. Adding milk just ramps up the softness.

It slices well, is self supporting as a sandwich, toasts like a dream, and produces a wonderful fine crumb that suits what children often put on their bread.

Next step in ADDING MORE, With Caputo loaf as a base, replacing 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour with stone ground red wheat (ground as fine as you can) leaves all the positives that most children like but adds a very subtle creamy nutty-ness...while also adding a bunch of complex fibre and nutrients. 

Once they think your bread is great, it is easy to expand the repertoire to more complex breads. However, remember if sandwiches are a mainstay for them, then a bread that works with the toppings they like or use is a consideration. We all love more complex breads but many are disappointing with a number of standard toppings.- to say the least.

therearenotenoughnoodlesintheworld's picture

If you are looking for a sourdough soft white bread then  is my go to. - Yes I reduce the sugar content.

Sure, It is not "healthy" as most would define it...but on the other hand it is a great loaf that makes you want to eat bread. So you're less likely to grab other convience foods. 

Makes a great loaf, bun, and an even better fruit loaf as it doesn't need butter - it is fantastic as is. It has a great structure for hand slicing. However, probably the best bit it lasts well (but it is usually eaten so quick that isn't an issue)