The ABC's of Cooking with Lynn Fredericks
author of Cooking Time Is Family Time

Lynn Fredericks
gives new meaning to our ABC's.
Each installment will focus on a new ingredient beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. B for Bread features recipes, fun and family activities with bread.


 B  is for Bread
Our daily bread is fundamental to our sustenance and well-being. While our culture is not as emotionally dependent upon freshly baked bread as some, there's a reason that bread machines are increasingly popular. The aroma of freshly baked bread is seductive and even addictive. Once you get the knack of it, you'll want to do it again and again -- together.

Making homemade bread is a multi-sensory activity that is enjoyable for all ages (that means you too, Grandma!) In fact, many pre-school and Kindergarten curriculums utilize bread-making because it provides such a wonderfully tactile experience that culminates in a delicious, nutritious snack.

Below are some family activities involving bread and similar doughs along with some proven family-friendly recipes from the book, Cooking Time Is Family Time.

Important: Please note that an adult should always be present during cooking time.


YEAST EXPERIMENT — How does bread rise? Help kids understand by doing this simple experiment. First, explain that yeast is a naturally-occuring, microscopic organism that is alive! And just like kids, it needs food, water and a warm enviroment to live. When dry yeast is 'fed' warm water, it 'activates' or wakes up. Then, as it digests the food, it gives off gas. Since wheat is the type of grain that has the most gluten (a substance that allows it to stretch), yeast is added to bread dough made from wheat flour to make the bread rise each of the tiny holes in bread that puff it up are made from the gas created by the yeast and the dough stretching to absorb the gas bubble!


  • empty, clean wine bottle
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 uninflated balloon
  • 1 instant-read thermometer
Procedure: Have the kids pour the contents of the yeast packet, the sugar and a half cup of water (105-115° F) into the jar. Then, stretch the end of the balloon over the rim of the bottle. In about 15-30 minutes, the gas from the yeast will begin to inflate the balloon.

Making bread dough for sculpting and shaping offers a fun activity that can easily be turned into Christmas Tree ornaments; name plaques for doors, place-settings, etc. you are only limited by your creativity! Here is a recipe for a basic modeling dough that can be made into shapes or figures, braided and rolled into wreaths. After baking they can be painted and varnished for beautiful, home-made gifts for the holidays.


  • flour
  • water
  • salt
  • bowl
  • dough scraper
  • cookie cutters
  • baking tray
  • straw
  • tempera paints and spray varnish
Procedure: Have the children meaure the 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of salt into a mixing bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups of water. Help the children to mix with their hands into a very stiff dough. Place on a floured cutting board or counter top and knead for 5 minutes. Now you can mold or roll into 1/4" thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Use a straw to make holes for ribbons to hang if you are making ornaments. Bake for 1 hour at 350°. When cool , you can all paint and decorate. Parents should apply the spray varnish (available at art supply stores) so they stay stiff and will not spoil or get soft. Dough must be used within 4 hours of making it!

Check out other recipes that bring the whole family together:

>>> Buy This Book

Cooking Time is Family Time: Cooking Together,
Eating Together, and Spending Time Together

by Lynn Fredericks, William Morrow & Co., August, 1999

In COOKING TIME IS FAMILY TIME, Lynn Fredericks shows people how they can improve the time they spend with kids by inviting them into the kitchen to help prepare meals.

Included are 125 recipes emphasizing a variety of fresh, healthful ingredients and strategies to get kids to gobble them down. Each recipe offers directions that specify which steps are right for younger kids and which are more challenging for their older siblings.


Cooking with Kids Home
The ABC's of Cooking ::: Aa |Bb |Cc |Dd |Ee |Ff |Gg |Hh |Ii |Jj |Kk |Ll
Kid's Meals | Lynn's Thoughts on Feeding Her Children | Recipes | Book