Our Daily Bread: Kids Baking in the Kitchen

As a child, I would go to my dad’s house every other weekend. He would let me practice cooking and baking. This resulted in many batches of cookies, a few breakfasts of Eggs Benedict and quite a few batches of chicken and dumpling soup.

I made many mistakes in the kitchen. I added too much water or too much salt, I burned meat and once I ruined a frying pan when I turned on the wrong burner. 

My dad was not usually in the kitchen with me. He was available to answer questions and made sure I had the ingredients and a recipe and allowed me to work. This freedom coupled with his ability to choke down what was, no doubt, the occasional awful meal helped to build my confidence.

Now that we have three girls interested in cooking, I’ve done my best to give them room to learn and fail in the kitchen. Lately, the favorite item in the kitchen is fresh bread.

Jamie bought Mark Bittman’s book. It is full of very simple and very tasty recipes. His bread recipe is quick and satisfying. It’s also made of only flour, yeast, water and salt and very cheap to mess up. The girls have embraced the process and make it almost every day. It makes the perfect afternoon snack. With a bit of Kerrygold butter and some fig spread it is also a splendid dessert.

The recipe recommends the use of a food processor and a metal blade. I do allow my children to use this tool on their own. I calm my fears of their injury by thinking of the relatively few times I cut myself in the kitchen as a child—and I never cut myself so seriously that it required medical attention. 

The joy that the girls take in making the bread is rivaled only by the joy that the family has in consuming it. It makes the house smell good and tides people over until dinner. It also welcomes Jamie home from a long day at work and brings us all together to enjoy a simple little treat made from very basic ingredients that are almost always in the pantry.