Thursday, March 7, 2013

Around the World Bread

All this great cooking shared with the school, but we haven't prepared a recipe in class in ages.

Today the plan was to bake four loaves of bread to be eaten tomorrow after a field trip (more on this in a future post). Because of our daily schedule, the bread had to be mixed, kneaded and rising within the first fifty minutes of the school day. Emilyinthekitchen provided the recipe and a sponge. I got mixing bowls and measuring spoons ready before school started.

And as the kids streamed into the classroom and I read the recipe with them, I realized I was solo in the room. No extra adult. Just me, twenty-two kids, and the ingredients for four loaves of a bread recipe developed just for us. Plus a tight time frame. Recipe for bread, or recipe for disaster?

The rationale: Celebrate learning about all the continents by making a multi-grain bread to represent all the grains from all the continents. When I first told the kids that we were going to use all the grains mixed together to make a multi-grain bread, understanding dawned on one sixth grader's face. "So that's why they call it multi-grain bread!" he exclaimed.

The prep: Wednesday morning at snack time, we used a hand grinder to grind up oats, rye and wheat berries.

Wednesday afternoon the room was filled with an...interesting odor while I cooked up other grains: quinoa, amaranth, barley, millet and t'eff. 

Then the Thursday craziness. But here's the amazing part: it wasn't crazy at all. I had each continent group number themselves and used the numbers to create four groups with representatives of each study group. We went over the recipe, washed up, and in the space of 35 minutes, each group measured, mixed and kneaded.

Ingredients got passed around, everyone shared jobs and cooperated. As the kneading got started, one person from each group took a couple minutes to wash and dry their bowl, then oil it up for the rising stage. I was able to check in with each group, keep the process moving along, but mainly I watched the groups work together while I took some pictures. It was truly a celebration of everything the class has learned how to do this year. I wish I had a picture of the parade of kids walking through the halls to the kitchen, carrying dirty dishes, floured cutting boards, and most importantly, shiny bowls full of dough.

While the dough rose and I ran dishes through the Hobart, the kids were in the gym, playing floor hockey. Then during snack four kids had their names drawn to go punch down the dough. Later in the morning, Emily ran the dough through the big mixer and left it to rise a second time. And after lunch, each small group spent five minutes in the kitchen forming their share of the dough into a different shaped loaf. Emily popped the bread into the oven and I pulled it out after she'd left, while my class was in the tech lab. It smelled GOOD...
Doesn't it look good?

Full report on its taste after tomorrow's field trip...

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