The boy can bake

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is, indeed, a loaf of fresh-baked bread, made by none other than Jacob Thomas Heller! Yes, Jacob is three. Yes, he made the bread. No really, I have the pictures to prove it! He had some assistance on two steps – kneading and ovening – but otherwise … well, let me show you how he did it.

Jacob’s Bread

2 Cups Bread Flour (we *really* like King Arthur’s Organic)
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (not pastry) plus more for counter
1 package (21/4 tsp) Active Dry Yeast
1 TB Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
2.5 TBS Butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Cup Warm Water (120 degrees F)

Get your whisk out. Yeah! Whisks are cool!

Use scissors to cut your yeast package open. Sharp kitchen scissors! The ones you are never supposed to touch! Do this all by yourself. Lucas is not allowed to help or even BE in the kitchen. In fact it is best of all to do this just with Mommy, while Lucas is napping.

Now whisk together the bread flour, the yeast, the sugar, the salt, and the cinnamon. Sometimes it is also really fun to add a big pinch of chia seeds, but we didn’t do that this time. While you are whisking, have your assistant melt the butter in a pan and get ready a cup of very hot water. Don’t touch the water! Mommy can do that part.

Have your assistant add the vanilla, melted butter and warm water to your dry ingredients. Stir them very, very carefully with a spoon. One of those black plastic ones that you usually use for drum sticks is perfect.  They will look like this when you are done:

Now, add the half cup of whole wheat flour to the bowl, and roll/squish the dough around with your hands, so that it absorbs the flour and becomes not so sticky. It will still be moist, but will no longer stick all over your fingers. It will look like this:

Now, take a taste.

Your assistant can work the dough around the bowl a little more, then turn it out to knead, looking like this:

Spend a minute kneading the dough then decide that you don’t want to do that anymore. While the dough is being kneaded, take care of important business with your garlic press.

When you are done with the garlic press (that is hard work!), move your stool over to the sink and use a sponge to wash the mixing bowl, so that the dough can rise in it.  After about ten minutes of you and your assistant kneading, your dough will be smooth and elastic and look like this:

Now it is time to put it in an oiled bowl, turn it a time or two, and cover it loosely with plastic wrap so it can rise.

We put it on the back of our stove top, with one of the lights turned on to warm it up  a bit this time of year. Let it double in size, which will take about 30 minutes. You can oil your bread pan while it is rising. Done right, pan oiling takes a good fifteen minutes. Then:

Punch it down! Punch! Punch! Knead the air out, and shape it into a loaf (your assistant can help) and put it in the oiled pan. Put the ban back in the warm rising spot. Have your assistant preheat the oven at this point, to 425 F. Time to wait again, for another 30 minutes, while it goes from this:

To this:

Now, it goes into the oven for ten minutes at 425 (set the timer! timers are awesome!). After ten minutes, reduce heat to 350 for metal pans or 325 for glass ones. Bake 30 minutes more, until your loaf is beautiful toasty brown like this:

Yum! Fresh baked bread, one of our favorite things. Next time we’ll show you Cinnamon Raisin or Cardamom Swirl – but for now, we are all tuckered out and ready to snack.