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My 9-year-old's Bread Baking Experiment 
Feb. 23, 2013 1:39 pm 
Updated: Feb. 27, 2013 6:02 am
"Mom, can I do an experiment in the kitchen?" It's my 9-year-old son, Jared, asking again if he can mix up a little this and a little that and see if it makes something. I've been letting him do this for a few years now. When he was younger, he mainly mixed flour, salt and sugar together into a soupy mess that he liked to play with. Eventually I started letting him bake or cook his creations. Then I came up with the rule that if he was going to make it, he had to eat some of it. He became more serious about these experiments after that. He has made a type of rice pudding that he called "Porridge for the Three Bears" and he has made many attempts at chocolate chip cookies. Early on they tasted like biscuits, but his last attempt was very close.

Last week I was making bread, so when he asked if he could do one of his kitchen experiments, I suggested he make a loaf of bread. I like to make dough in my bread machine and then bake it in the oven. That's what he decided to do too. He decided to come up with his own bread creation. Since I didn't feel like wasting ingredients for a whole loaf of bread, I gave him guidelines as to what you need to make a successful loaf in our bread machine: 3-4 cups of flour, 3/4 - 1 1/2 cups liquid, butter or oil, etc.
He chose all the actual ingrendients and amounts and measured them himself. Here is what he came up with. (He almost chose grape juice as the liquid, but then he changed his mind at the last minute. Maybe that's an experiment for another day!)

Jared's Whole Wheat Sugar Bread
1 cups warm milk
1/4 cup of butter
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla (He's used to adding this to chocolate chip cookies, so he wanted to try it.)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
dash of salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast

We baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.

The bread baking experiment was a complete success! I was very proud of him-- he took time to think about what ingredients he wanted and was careful about measuring correctly. It tasted great. I thought it was a bit sweet, but everyone loved it... except for Jared that is. He said it was too "doughy." (We are always our own worst critics!) I explained that all that milk, butter and egg made for a very soft bread. He's ready to try again with different ingredients and see how that changes the outcome. And I can't wait to see what his next "experiment" will be.
Jared getting the dough ready in the bread maker.
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Getting the dough ball just right.
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The dough rising.
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Fresh out of the oven.
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Looks like a nice loaf!
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A very soft, moist, slightly dense bread.
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Getting a slice.
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Tasting his creation.
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Feb. 23, 2013 1:57 pm
Wow, it made a beautiful loaf! Congrats to Jared! And, he was very creative - what a great learning experience. I've always been glad that I let my boys cook.
Feb. 23, 2013 2:25 pm
I'm really impressed with both of you! You're a really good parent to encourage your son like that!
Feb. 23, 2013 2:39 pm
Very nice blog ! Your pictures are great . I bet the two of you had a great time in the kitchen ! I especially like the pictures of the bread rising , and Jared holding the finished loaf . The look of excitement on his face is awesome ! Great job , Jared !! Looking forward to the future experiments !
Feb. 23, 2013 2:56 pm
Keep encouraging him! I love to see boys take an interest in cooking. With his scientific approach, he may develop into another Alton Brown.
Feb. 23, 2013 3:01 pm
oh my goodness - that is a great looking loaf!!! bet it tastes great- good job- Jared!! and great blog Tammy Lynn!! you two make a great team- keep up the good work:-)
Feb. 23, 2013 5:52 pm
You tell him that I just now conquered (well, I think I have) making yeast breads, and I have children and grandchildren! Good job, Jared! I really believe in teaching boys to cook. When my son went to college, he knew how to cook and do laundry - two very helpful skills!
Feb. 23, 2013 6:16 pm
Jared, you have done well! I think your mama has a live in chef! This old man has no talent for bread making. Keep up the great work! ... Oh, Tammy Lynn, you have a winner with that son of yours! Good job! Keep up the great work!
Feb. 24, 2013 1:40 am
Now, have him start the bread, and take it out of the bread machine. Have him shape it into something like cinnamon rolls! He will love to keep on experimenting with lots of encouragement! Experiment #1 looks fantastic!
Feb. 24, 2013 4:29 am
That loaf of bread looks amazing! Jared did a fantastic job! Sounds like you may have a budding chef.
Feb. 24, 2013 5:31 am
Thank you all for your comments! I've never blogged before, but I was so proud of Jared after he made this bread, that I just started putting the blog together. It was fun. He got a real kick out of seeing it online, and now we are both excited to see all the responses.
Feb. 24, 2013 5:34 am
Paula-- I agree with you. I don't think he's too young to get started on laundry. (I don't want him doing any experiments with it though! LOL)
Feb. 24, 2013 5:37 am
Sueb, that's a great idea. We all love cinnamon rolls. He could get really creative with that.
Feb. 24, 2013 6:17 am
Tammy, What a Baker you have! I love to see kids in the kitchen! Great Blog!
Feb. 24, 2013 8:22 am
that's a lot of sugar.
Feb. 24, 2013 9:24 am
Love seeing children in the kitchen,wonderful read.
Feb. 24, 2013 2:56 pm
Kingsparta-- yes, I was concerned about how much sugar he put in, but it turned out okay for a special treat. And of course that's why he named it "Sugar Bread." ;)
Deb C 
Feb. 25, 2013 10:20 am
Awesome job Jared! The bread looks amazing and you are one talented baker!
Feb. 26, 2013 11:55 am
BigShotsMom-- I finally went to Wikepedia to find out who Alton Brown is. I don't have time to watch much TV, so I'm pretty ignorant of TV personalities. After reading about him, maybe you're right, because Jared has a great sense of humor too.
Feb. 26, 2013 9:26 pm
Wow, your son is either going to be a baker, or a chemist! So wonderful to see his curiosity and that you are teaching him to bake. I often teach my niece to bake breads, etc.,, but one day my nephew (her twin beother) sheepishly asked me if he could learn too. As a female scientist, you would have thought I would see the potential for a boy to be a baker. Lesson learned. Sounds like you have a great kid. Well done!
Feb. 27, 2013 6:02 am
AZ93-- he wants a chemistry set for his birthday. I think all little kids love to watch things bubble, fizz and turn colors. Letting kids experiment gets them more interested in something. Though as a parent, you have to be ready to clean up a mess once in a while! Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your comments.
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Tammy Lynn

Member Since
Aug. 2008

Cooking Level
Not Rated

Cooking Interests
Baking, Slow Cooking, Indian, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
My favorite things to cook
I love baking bread, both by hand and in the bread machine. I like quick homemade dinners or slow cooker recipes. One of my favorite comfort foods is rice pudding.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My immediate family always has pitch-ins for birthdays and on holidays. We all like to cook, and we always make too much and eat too much, but it's always a lot of fun. We all have our specialties (like my cheesy potatoes) that we're required to bring, but it's fun to try out new recipes and mix it up sometimes.
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