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Tweaking a quick yeasted bread (kids' project)


sanrensho
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I need some help tweaking a very simple yeasted bread recipe (minimal knead/rise) to produce a lighter and less tough texture. It will be taught to a bunch of 6-year olds.

The recipe is Jamie Oliver's Brunch Breads recipe. I'll be using it for a fun breadmaking activity for my younger daughter’s birthday party. Basically, we’ll have a bunch of 6-year olds mix, knead and shape the dough into pigs in blankets and filled buns under my lead. The above recipe pretty much satisfies all my prerequisites: simple ingredient list, easy to mix, requires minimal kneading/rise, dough is easy to work with, and we can go from bowl-to-bread in just over 60 minutes.

Bread flour (500 g)

Dry active yeast (11 g)

Lukewarm water (312 ml)

Salt (1 TBS)

Sugar (15 g)

Instructions: Mix and knead into dough. Roll out dough, shape and let rise for 15 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown (30-35 minutes).

What can I do to this recipe to make the end product less tough? Change flours or incorporate some milk instead of water? Add butter/oil? I’m a decent beginner bread baker and have some vague ideas of where to start, but I really need some direction. I’ll also only have time to make two more test runs at the most. The technique also needs to be kept simple, within what a ham-fisted 6-year old can handle and in a relatively short time frame.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Substitute an egg for an equal part of the liquid would be one way.

For six year olds, I'd use refrigerated crescent roll dough for pigs in a blanket.

Have fun!

Thanks K8, we're trying to avoid using any refrigerated or premade doughs to give the kids an opportunity to measure and mix from scratch. I doubt any of these kids have ever made a dough bread from the bottom up, so I though it would be neat for them to see how easy it is. (I also had the idea of making pizza, but it would have taken out the hands-on measuring, mixing and initial kneading.)

If I can manage to lighten up the texture of this recipe, then we can also do things like simple braids. (The current recipe is too dense for that, IMO.)

EDIT: You'll have to ask Jamie Oliver about omitting the fat, how much would you suggest I add/substitute?

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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Adding a fat is a double-edged sword. Because the fat coats the gluten strands in the dough, it can prevent good gluten formation. In things like brioche, this is a good thing as we want that cake-like consistency. However, adding some fat will make the dough easier to work with as well. In a lot of my breads where a fat is called for, adding from 1-4 tablespoons is not uncommon. If it were me, I'd probably add a couple of tablespoons of a light flavored oil (canola).

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

What about switching to 50% pastry flour/A-P? (With my Canadian flours, that would bring it down to 11.6% protein from 13.3%.)

Maybe add a bit of baking powder for additional rise and a more biscuit-like (lighter) texture?

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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I taught my daughter "home economics". :biggrin: For her first recipe she chose Belgian waffles. They are yeasted and you have to separate the eggs, big deal I can do it in my sleep. It took her all dang freaking day. She literally hung up her spatula for the next ten years.

If I did not use refrigerated crescent roll dough for 6 year olds, I'd surely use self rising flour. I mean she was 14 when the waffles wept.

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i suggest(ed) olive oil instead of an egg because (1) i like the flavor better and (2) kids WILL put that raw dough in their mouths...and even though my kids were raised on raw eggs in all sorts of stuff, some parents would faint at the thought..;->

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

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Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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K8: Believe it or not, I already did a test run with my 6 yr old and her older sister (almost 9 yrs) and it went pretty smoothly, from measuring and mixing all the way up to kneading and shaping. If anything, they got so engrossed with the shaping that it was hard to get them to quit!

ChezCherie: You're right, cracking the eggs could be a little challenging, but I'm not worried about the handling of raw eggs. I planned to do an egg wash anyway so the kids could sprinkle with black/white sesame seeds.

There will be a few older kids and my wife to assist/supervise, plus I intend to divide them up in pairs/threes.

Of course, it could all go very, very wrong... :biggrin:

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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This recipe from better homes and gardens might be a bit better since it uses milk and a bit of butter. If you use quick rise yeast, you can reduce the rise to fit more in your time constraints.

If there is any worry about the dough not turning out, consider a swap-out. You make a batch, let them make a batch, and then if theirs doesn't work out, they'll still have yours to work with.

Or, make your batch earlier, have them make their batch, and while their batch is rising, use your batch to start the filling and rolling bit. Then when their batch has risen (if it works out), they can do their own, too, or you can just let them see how much the dough has risen, and then quickly form it in loaves, or freeze it.

You'll have a lot more bread than planned, but at least there's a back-up in case of failure.

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Why use a yeasted dough? For this purpose why not just make a dough using buttermilk and some baking powder. You'll get some rise and the bread will be more cake-like for the pigs inna blanket! Plus it will be quicker and the kids can still have fun kneading the dough.

Bob R in OKC

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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Why use a yeasted dough?  For this purpose why not just make a dough using buttermilk and some baking powder.  You'll get some rise and the bread will be more cake-like for the pigs inna blanket!  Plus it will be quicker and the kids can still have fun kneading the dough.

Bob's idea is a good one. It's very difficult to get tenderness in a dough that only has a hour from mix to bake, whereas a buttermilk biscuit or scone dough will be very quick and taste great too.

Dan

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The King Arthur has a website with some great recipes. The white bread 101 has a soft texture and is easy to make. Last time we had a cooking party with the kids we did pretzels. The kids had a great time making "different" kinds of shapes. We had different toppings and a few dipping sauces.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/recipe...2&expanded=C757

Enjoy

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Why use a yeasted dough?  For this purpose why not just make a dough using buttermilk and some baking powder.  You'll get some rise and the bread will be more cake-like for the pigs inna blanket!  Plus it will be quicker and the kids can still have fun kneading the dough.

Bob's idea is a good one. It's very difficult to get tenderness in a dough that only has a hour from mix to bake, whereas a buttermilk biscuit or scone dough will be very quick and taste great too.

Dan

I see your point. I actually thought of a biscuit dough initially, but was worried that it might be too delicate for a bunch of ham-fisted 6-year olds. (I almost never work with biscuit dough.) The Brunch Bread recipe, on the other hand, I already knew was foolproof and indestructible.

I'll add a test run using a biscuit dough.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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The other way you could do it with your existing recipe is to mix all of the water, oil, and an equal weight of flour with a fraction of the yeast and leave this to bubble for 4 - 6 hours. Then later, with the children, they would mix the remaining flour and salt into it, knead it, and so on. This should soften the final dough to give a much more pleasant taste to the bread. Adding a hard fat like butter will give a softer texture than oil (and crisco or similar will make it even softer).

fyi, here is a recipe you might want to try from my my guardian column back in Feb this year:

Pigs in duvets

The hefty dose of yeast in this quick brioche-like dough keeps it working fast despite all the butter. You could replace the butter with olive oil, the milk with water and the yolks with 50g mashed potato (and extra water to make a soft dough*), and halve the yeast. Or fill these with strips of roasted vegetables, leaving the little pigs to play undisturbed.

2 sachets easy-blend yeast

100ml warm milk (about 35C)

1/2 tsp sugar

550g strong white flour

150g melted butter

6 egg yolks

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

8 warm cooked sausages (from a 450g pack)

English or Dijon mustard

a beaten egg

Stir the yeast, warm milk and 50g flour together and leave for 30 minutes to bubble. Beat in the butter and yolks till smooth, tip the remaining flour and salt into a big warm bowl and work the buttery mixture into a soft dough. Leave for 30 minutes, kneading the dough for 10 seconds every 10 minutes. Then cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes to make it smoother to roll. Flour the worksurface and roll the dough to about 40cm x 20cm, then cut into 10cm squares. Spread a little mustard on each square then roll a sausage in each, lengthways not diagonally, and seal it tight. Rest seam-side down on a paper lined tray, cover with a cloth, for 45 minutes or until doubled in height. Heat the oven to 200C (fan assisted), brush with beaten egg and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden.

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The other way you could do it with your existing recipe is to mix all of the water, oil, and an equal weight of flour with a fraction of the yeast and leave this to bubble for 4 - 6 hours. Then later, with the children, they would mix the remaining flour and salt into it, knead it, and so on. This should soften the final dough to give a much more pleasant taste to the bread. Adding a hard fat like butter will give a softer texture than oil (and crisco or similar will make it even softer).

A biga? This is a neat idea and a nice compromise given my time restraints. I am still stuck on the idea of exposing the kids to homemade bread vs. biscuits, simply because store-brought bread seems to have become so pervasive today. Whereas I would expect some of the families to make biscuit doughs occasionally.

BTW, I wanted to mention that I have learned a lot from your posts and Web site/forum. Even though a lot of it is still over my head. :biggrin:

I've also printed out the above recipe, thanks.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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If any of this makes you head back in the pizza direction....you can use swap outs as mentioned above. Whne you put the kids dough to rest you can pull out a risen one and let them deflate it and maybe even have a rested one to roll out...been there it works out well.

tracey

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If any of this makes you head back in the pizza direction....you can use swap outs as mentioned above.

Thanks Rona and Tracey for the swapout suggestion. We might take a stab at a pizza or even pasta-making activity for future parties.

We've done two test runs so far, one with a biscuit dough and the second using the reference dough with modifications.

The biscuit-making was fun and I'll be doing it again as a family, but presented some extra wrinkles. The (relatively) sticky dough made it messy for the kids to handle. It didn't help that the dough got progressively harder to handle--the typical slow pace of the kids and aggressive handling meant that the dough warmed up a lot by the end.

Test run #2 involved adding 2 TBS oil and subbing 50/50 pastry/AP flour for the bread flour called for in the reference recipe. I refrained from adding baking powder or making a sponge this time, just because I didn't want to introduce too many changes at once (will try them in the future). I also used a cold start oven method, and found that we got some oven spring this time--even with zero rising time.

The resulting dough is much better. The important thing is that it's still simple and indestructible enough for a bunch of 6-year olds to mix, knead and shape. Older daughter wanted desperately to make a braided bread, so we tried that by rolling in some raisins and cinnamon sugar. The results were fine.

At this point, I plan to have the munchkins make pigs in blankets and cheese/ham-filled buns, with the option of making a mini-braided bread with raisins for those who want to tackle something extra. The menu leans heavily toward savory because of the birthday cake that they'll get later on. Otherwise, I'd make buns filled with nutella and walnuts.

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Oh what fun!

Please report back how it all goes!

I'm gonna be trying this at home if it goes well for you (but with 1 almost 3-yr old, not with a horde of 6 yr olds, you brave person, you.)

BTW, if you do decide on pizza sometime, Rebecca263 put a fast pizza dough recipe on recipegullet. It is fast indeed. And it likes aggressive handling. The only thing it doesnt like is sitting around after its stretched. It gets bready fast, so the toppings etc need to go quickly and thence to the oven.

The whole process - from measuring to eating - is fast enough to keep the afore-mentioned 2-yr old engaged and not melting down from hunger.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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^^^Yes, I'll definitely report how it goes this weekend and post a finalized recipe once it's been tweaked further (but not in time for the party).

The pizza recipe sounds promising. The only problem, I think my head would be spinning from working 10-20 mini-pizzas in and out of a single, standard-sized oven! :wacko::biggrin:

I think your 3-year old will be able to handle it, there is very little mess if you mix in a bowl and then take it to the bench for kneading/shaping.

My daughters get very engrossed in this activity, especially the shaping.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As promised, here’s my follow-up report.

The activity went very, very smoothly. Maybe it was because we had a great bunch of kids, but there were no (major) hiccups at all. No swapouts were prepared nor were they needed, because this recipe is truly foolproof. I split the kids into pairs, with each pair having their own mixing bowl/spoon/mat, and they did all the measuring, mixing, kneading and shaping under my instruction. However, I did pre-measure the flour and yeast, and they needed a little help from me to knead the dough into a smooth dough. Other than that, the kids caught on quickly and everyone seemed to have fun.

After half an hour, we had enough pigs in blankets done to fill up the oven, so we put the breads straight into a preheated oven (w/no rise).

After 25 minutes or so, I called the kids back into the kitchen so they could take a peek at their creations (each kid had his/her own square of parchment paper to keep track of who had made what). We also made “octopuses in blankets” using the Japanese sausage cutting trick, and the kids who had never seen it got a kick out of that. After letting the breads cool down a bit, everyone sat down to nosh on their creations. Any leftovers were sent home in baggies at the end of the party.

We had a blast and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. My only regret is that I didn’t have time to prepare and print out a “certificate of achievement” to hand to each child, containing the recipe and instructions.

The tweaked recipe is below. I’ve adjusted some of the quantities/measurements to make it as simple and kid-friendly as possible. Again, the point of this recipe is that it’s simple, foolproof, easy to work with, and provides instant gratification for kids—they can make, bake and nosh on the finished goods in about 60 minutes.

Water (tepid/110F) 1/2 cup

Oil 2 TBS

Sugar 2 TSP (8 g)

Yeast (active dry) Scant 2 TSP (5 g)

Salt 1 TSP (6 g)

Flour 250 g

(AP or 50/50 AP/cake)

Instructions:

1. Mix water, oil, sugar and yeast until yeast is dissolved. Add salt and flour at once and mix until dough comes together.

2. Form into ball and knead until ingredients are smoothly incorporated.

3. Portion and shape as desired. (We made pigs in blankets, but you can also fill with cheese/ham, nutella/nuts, etc.) Pinch seams well and brush with egg wash or oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other toppings as desired.

4. Bake in preheated 400F oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown*.

(Alternatively, use cold start method: Place breads in oven and crank to highest temperature setting. Lower to target temperate once the target oven temperature is reached. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. This method has the advantage of letting your kids put the breads in the oven.)

*I usually bake this with no rise/proofing, although the original recipe calls for a 15-minute rise before baking. I have found that the recipe doesn’t rise significantly with proofing anyway, and the slow pace of kids usually means that the dough has already been sitting for 15+ minutes before going in the oven.

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      Place one wide-mouth quart canning jar (or two wide-mouth pint jars) with their lids in a pot of water to cover, place over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees). Remove the pot from the heat and allow jar(s) and lid(s) to remain in the hot water until needed.
      *After the 4 hours are up (crisping the vegetables as described above) pour the vegetables into a large colander and rinse well. The cucumber slices should taste only slightly salty. Return the rinsed vegetables to the bowl, add the mustard seeds and celery seeds and toss well until evenly distributed. Set aside.
      Return the syrup to the microwave, microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes [or heat the syrup on the stovetop] until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature of the syrup is 190 to 200 degrees.
      Place the vegetables into one wide-mouth quart jar, or in 2 wide-mouth pint
      jars that have been scalded as described above. Pour the syrup over the vegetables, place the lids on the jar or jars, tighten well and place in the refrigerator overnight.
      The following day, turn the jar upside down - then continue to turn every day for 2 weeks. (This is to insure that the pickles are evenly flavored)
      After 2 weeks open the jar and taste. The pickles should be ready to eat.
      Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months.
      ( RG2154 )
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