Mar 14, 2011
On one level, bread dough
is a lot like
play dough. Both are soft and pliable, and both can be shaped, pulled,
twisted and squished into monsters and animals. But unlike play dough,
bread dough fills your house with wonderful smells as it's baking--and
produces fresh warm loaves perfect for spreading with butter.
It's no wonder baking bread with kids is always a roaring success,
especially when the weather is blustery, like it was one recent
afternoon when I invited a group of kids into my kitchen to bake. While I
shaped an old-fashioned loaf of wheat bread, the kids got creative with
the dough, designing snakes, funny faces and puppies with raisin eyes.
But the highlight was when they crafted a March lion and lamb using a
garlic press to make the fierce mane and woolly fleece.
As they squeezed out strands of dough, I explained that March comes in
with stormy weather, like a lion, and goes out with mild, warm days,
like a lamb. If only the weather could be as predictable as our bread
Preparing the Dough
1 1/4-oz. pkg. yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. plus 1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg (for egg wash)
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Stir
1 teaspoon of the sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes, or until bubbles
begin to form. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the milk and heat
until just warm.
Pour this mixture into the yeast mixture along with the remaining
sugar and the salt. Next, add both flours, 1 cup at a time, until the
dough feels stiff.
For a lighter loaf, decrease the whole wheat flour to 1 cup or omit it entirely and use just all-purpose flour.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10
minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a buttered
bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Kids love the process of kneading.
Ask them to press the dough with their palms, fold it back, and repeat.
Explain that kneading develops the gluten in the flour, a protein
substance that makes the dough stretch and produces a soft-textured
Making the Lion
Once the dough has risen, punch it down.
To make the lion, break off a large clump of the dough and shape it into the body.
Place it on a greased baking sheet. Next, use smaller pieces of
dough to shape the head, legs (with the hind leg slightly bent), and a
long, thin tail.
Place a small ball of dough in a garlic press and squeeze out strands for the mane and tail tuft. Finally, add a raisin eye.
Making the Lamb
To make the lamb, shape another large clump of dough into an
oval for the body.
Place it on a separate greased baking sheet. Add a small head with
two ears, spindly legs and a fluffy tail. Cover the legs and part of the
face with poppy seeds.
Finally, squeeze dough through a garlic press for the lamb's wool and pile it all over the lamb's body. Add a raisin eye.
If you have any dough left over, let the kids shape it into cats, dogs and other furry creatures.
Baking the Bread
Cover the animals with plastic wrap and let them rise until
doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water to create an egg wash, then use a
pastry brush to "paint" it on the lion and lamb, being careful not to
flatten the animals' features in the process.
Double the bread dough recipe and
make two loaves of whole wheat bread for sandwiches or toast. Bake the
bread in two greased loaf pans for 30 minutes.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped
on the bottom. Serve warm with butter and jam. Makes 2 to 4 lions or
lambs, depending on their size.Article reprinted with permission of Disney Canada. View original article here.