By CASSIE ANDERSON
The holiday season has arrived! Over the next few weeks the kids will be home more because of the different holiday breaks.
Instead of feeling like you are constantly battling cabin fever or getting way too much screen time with your kids, have a plan to build fun memories. Whether it is you, a grandparent or another caring adult, spending time with a child is huge for their brain development physically, emotionally and socially.
Kids do not expect Pinterest perfection. Sometimes a Pinterest fail is the best memory. Having an adult focus positive energy on them is the win.
There are many resources available with a quick Google search. One I really like is the 4-H Inspire Kids to Do Activity Guide.
The guide has 30 different idea starters for youth at a variety of ages and interests. It is available at https://4-h.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/4-H-Activity-Guide-Final-112018.pdf
Another place to start is thinking about things you loved to do as a kid. I remember loving to spend time in the kitchen baking with my mom.
Now, I know some of you just thought to yourselves, “That is WAY too messy,” or “I wouldn’t know where to begin.” I have the recipe for you!
Many third graders have been trying this one out in the classroom over the last few weeks, compliments of Mennel Milling Company, Hancock County Farm Bureau, the Ohio State University Extension and Hancock County 4-H. Carver’s colonial bread — or “bread in a bag” — is a fun, controlled way to experiment making homemade yeast bread.
Here is the recipe and how to make it with your kids. This method makes two small loaves. If you’re making it with more than two kids, replicate it a second time.
• Sugar — 1½ tablespoons
• Yeast — ½ tablespoon
• Water — ¾ cup, 110 degrees Fahrenheit
• Flour — 3 cups
• Salt — 1 teaspoon
• Vegetable or corn oil — 1 tablespoon
• Cooking spray
• Gallon zip-lock bag
• Measuring spoons and cups
• Two 3-by-5-inch mini loaf pans (you can get disposable)
• One plastic table cover or two serving trays
In the gallon size zip-lock bag, place 1½ tablespoons of sugar and ½ tablespoon of yeast. Then add ¾ cup of very warm water. Squeeze the upper part of the bag to force out air; close the bag. Shake and work the bag with fingers to gently blend ingredients. Let the mixture rest on the table for 10 minutes.
Open the bag. Add 1 cup flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Squeeze the upper part of the bag to force air out; close the bag. Shake and work the bag with fingers to blend ingredients.
Open bag. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 cup flour. Squeeze the upper part of the bag to force out air; close the bag. Shake and work the bag with fingers to blend ingredients. Work until the flour is incorporated.
You may need to add enough flour to make soft dough that begins to pull away from the sides of the bag. If sticky, add small amounts (tablespoon at a time). Seal the bag and mix into the dough. (Too much flour will make bread dry and tough.)
Remove dough from the bag and place it on a floured surface. Inverting the bag is a simple way to get started. A serving tray or plastic table covering underneath is a good idea.
If the dough becomes sticky, sprinkle with a little flour and work it in. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
To knead, fold the dough toward you with your fingers. Give the dough a quarter turn, repeat the fold and then push. Continue kneading until smooth and elastic; about 8-10 minutes.
Let the dough rest on the floured surface for 10 minutes. Lightly coat the baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. After the 10 minute rest, roll the dough into a football shape and place in loaf plan.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in size (about 90 minutes). This means the top of the loaf will be at least 1 inch from the edge of the bread pan. Bake the loaf at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. When done, the bread will be light brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and rub a little butter on top of bread.
Enjoy your holiday season with the kids in your life. It’s good for them and you!
Anderson is an Extension educator for 4-H youth development at the Ohio State University Extension for Hancock County.