I have a bread routine that works, but this week I need to find another way to do it, because instead of cooking bread for myself, I will be making bread with my daughter's preschool class!
I usually put the ingredients for 1 recipe's worth of bread (4c flour) in my bread machine and set it to dough. I check it periodically, but let the kneading and rise happen in the machine. Then I take the bread out, shape it, and let it rise on the counter for an hour before I bake it.
In order to have enough bread for the preschool class, I need to make 4x the recipe, which is 16c flour. This is way to big to fit in my bread machine.
I was thinking that I could make the dough in my kitchenaid. I have the dough arm that I can use to knead it, and I have 2 metal bowls so I can make 2x the recipe in each. But the temperature in my kitchen will be too cold to get a good rise....so what can I do?
Does anyone have any other tips? I know not to let the kids play with the dough TOO much or else it will be flat/hard bread.
Any thoughts on how I can mark each kid's bread so I can tell them apart? Is there any tape that I can write on that can go in the oven?
II'd make the dough in 4 batches, the day before. Do the first rising at home, overnight in the fridge. That should be fine. Even if you don't have time to get a second rising at the school, those kids won't care. We do a "Night in Bethlehem" at our church for about 200 people every Christmas, and doing it this way works just fine.
To label the breads, we use pieces of parchment on a baking sheet, and put several loaves on each sheet, depending on size. We write the owner's name on the parchment next to each loaf using a soft pencil or pen (it doesn't matter, because the ink never touches the food and it doesn't vaporize).
And it really doesn't matter how much the kids play with their dough. The point is to get them to enjoy the feel of it (so they don't turn out to be yeast-phobes like so many adults!). Their attention spans aren't long enough at this age to give them time to really wreck their dough, and even if they do, so what? You want them to remember the fun bread-baking experience with a classmate's mother, not the culinary masterpiece they created with the drill sargent who told them to "stop, put the bread down now!"
Full disclosure: I've never done this with a class of kids - let alone preschool, so my opinions are just top of mind thoughts.
1) I'm not 100% sure what you are planning to do with them. But I am thinking you are starting with ingredients to show them how the dough is made - and then have them make a "loaf" of some sort.
2) I think I would definitely have a "swap" batch of dough for them to do a little kneading and shaping with. So you could still use your machine (or your kitchenaide) to show them how the flour, water, yeast gets mixed together to make a dough. They could then all "Play" with this dough a little. But the day before at home you could have made a large batch of dough that has already risen - that way they can see what happens after you let the yeast work a while. You could then divide this dough to have them shape pieces.
I wouldn't worry about preschoolers really overworking the dough too much, especially if you already let them play with the initial dough (not pre-risen dough).
I don't know how many kids you are having but if they are preschoolers they really don't need that much dough. They could each make a "roll" size loaf of something to bake off.
3) i would have them each place their "loaf" onto a precut piece of parchment paper and then you can just write their name on the parchment paper. (Assuming I guess they aren't making actual loaves in loaf pans . . . . . again not sure exactly how the day is planning on going.
Good luck - this seems ambitious with a class of preschoolers though very fun I'm sure. You could always ask their teacher for suggestions on "child management" on how to structure the day.
Thanks for the replies!
If I make the dough the day before and let it rise once before putting it in the fridge, won't the dough collapse in the fridge? I think I had this experience years ago....but I do not remember the details. Could I really cold fridge make it collapse?
If i do put the dough in the fridge overnight, would it be beneficial to warm it to about 110 degrees before we work with it? I think I can do that in a warm oven.
I am going to be making the dough at home. The lesson with the kids is going to just be on shaping and baking. This is challah, so shaping is a big part of it.
Thanks for the over-playing and parchment paper feedback. Super helpful!
You wouldn't let it rise then put in the fridge, you would place it in the fridge immediately and let it do the first rise overnight in the fridge. Take it out first thing the next morning and let it come to room temp (and let it rise a bit more if necessary).
If you need to warm it more quickly, you could put it in an oven that has been turned on for a few minutes and then off, plus a bowl of hot water.
A couple of points.
1. Trying to increase/decrease bread dough formulas using bulk measure is a recipe (no pun intended) for disaster. If you're not weighing your ingredients, stick with the basic routine you typically use and make several batches of your dough.
2. Do not try to mix/knead more than a single batch of your recipe in your KA mixer. Unless it's a commercial grade machine it's going to overheat (or worse) with that much of a load.
3. I'm estimating that you're intending to use just about five pounds of flour for your project. If you make that up into small individual "loaves" (rolls) you should have somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty or sixty little loaves (about the size of dinner rolls) and I wonder if there are that many tykes in the class.
4. The attention span of a pre-schooler is somewhere around five or ten seconds. OK, perhaps a little more, but not much more.
5. If your kitchen is too cold to support a good rise you can turn your oven on to it's lowest setting and allow it to warm to about 80 degrees, turn it off, put your covered dough in and close the door. It'll hold enough heat long enough to support a good rise.
6. I suggest using colored toothpicks to identify each kid's bread. They usually come in half a dozen colors so a pick of one color/two colors, etc. in each loaf (make a list of kid/colors used) will do the job..