KinderBoys: Community Workers - Bakers

Yesterday we had our third KinderBoy class at the house.  We have yet to get our whole class together.  This is a nasty time of year for illness!  But we had a great time discussing Bakers as community workers.

AS usual, we started with a book  called Bakers (Community Helpers)

Side note: I so much prefer the term Community Workers instead of Community Helpers.  Maybe I'm about to get all right-wing conservative on you, but I think that Community Workers more accurately portrays the way our economy works on capitalism:  You get paid when you WORK and produce.  Yes, helping is important, but it's not something we do for money. We help because it's the right thing to do, not because the government is paying for it or for any personal motive.  So we work to earn money in our community.  We help in our off-time hours because that's just what Christ taught.  Yes, sometimes we help while we are working. That's always a bonus.

Moving on....

Then we pulled out the Baker's Hat!  Each boy got to wear it for a moment as he remembered something from the book about Bakers.

I knew the boys would want one to take home, based on past experience so we made chef hats.  Not quite as cute as baker hats, but the best I could do with construction paper and tape.

 I used the extra large sheets of paper.  And that didn't even seem to be big enough so I added on another regular size sheet with tape.  TIP:  Make the black line higher.  The strips were cut down so low that they began to flop over and I had to tape them up again.  I put the envelop there to cover up the name.  But...then realized that was silly because I didn't also cover them up in the following pictures.  Sigh.
 Here they are cutting out their hats.  They only had to cut on the lines until they reached the black line. The lines were 2 inches apart.

I explained to the boys that baking is very exact.  Bakers have to measure things very carefully.  So to introduce the concept of measuring/weighing, I decided to use a food scale and teach them about grams. I know that in the US we don't usually use grams as we cook, unless it's a foreign recipe.  But my son loves to play with the food scale, so I went this route. I could have (Should have?) let them practice measuring blue or green water with measuring cups. Or shown them a set of measuring spoons and let them practice filling and leveling the spoon with flour.

Anyway, here's the chart I made on our white board

 And the food I collected to be weighed.
First, I let them look at the food (without touching it) and guess which was the heaviest, then the next and the next heaviest, until they thought they had all the food lined up in order of heaviest to lightest.

Then we weighed each food and graphed the results on the chart to see if they were right.  They weren't.  But it was a good lesson in "Looks can be deceiving."

My food scale doesn't sense things lighter than 5 grams. So our lightest item, the tea bag, didn't register.  So that's when I pulled out the Right STart balance
WE put the teabag in one cup, and the boys put in ONE gram cube at a time until the balance was, well, balanced.  We discovered that the teabag was more than 3 and less than 4. So we had a chance to discuss halves!

Ok, at that point the boys were more than anxious to move upstairs for some real baking!

I had risen some soft pretzel dough in the fridge overnight.
It was perfectly risen in the morning! Love it.

I divided the dough into 16 pieces according to recipe and showed the boys how to make snakes, and then how to fold them into pretzels.  So fun!

The pretzels needed 15 minutes to rise.  So during that time we decorated cupcakes that I had made the night before.  I'm big on advanced preparation for these classes. It keeps everything running smoothly.

Sprinkles were FLYING around the kitchen.  But that's ok.  Instead of using food coloring to make the frosting pink, I used a beet that I had baked, grated finely, and added to the frosting.  It didn't change the flavor and it colored the frosting so well!  Check it!
I like the flecks of color actually.  Maybe you don't. ? I let them eat one cupcake now and take one home for later.  Frosting was being consumed at an alarming rate, however!  So I think I just discovered the best way ever to get kids to eat beets!

As they muched away, I was boiling the pretzels in baking soda water until they floated.  Then I let the kids help me put an egg wash on the pretzels and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar.  Here's a finished plate of baked goods to take home:
Oh, while the pretzels were baking, I kept the kids busy by explaining to them how yeast works and I let them watch a bowl of yeast "proof".
And then I read them the classic Gingerbread Man. I have had this book since I was THREE years old, so it's pretty special to me. My kids know it by heart.
Parents were arriving just as the pretzels were coming out of the oven.  Those were the fastest 90 minutes in home education history!!

While I teach KinderBoys, my older girls go to another HS mom's house for cooking class.  You can follow their adventures at this blog: