The first time I ever made bread, I was 8 years old. My granny and I made a pineapple quick bread. By the time I was 9 years old, I’d graduated from quick breads and learned to make yeast bread. My aunt was the 4-H adviser in our community, and my granny had been a foods judge and 4-H/FFA volunteer for as long as I could remember.
As kids we were enrolled in cooking classes regularly. We learned to make jams, jellies, marmalade, breads, etc. at our local agricultural extension office and any church that would lend us their fellowship hall. One of those afternoon workshops was making Bread-in-a Bag. Super simple, minimal mess, and best of all, edible results.
Since then, I have done the same workshop with my son’s preschool class and our local 4-H group. We’ve made wheat bread, white bread, and cinnamon bread, and the kids have always left with an impressive loaf of bread to share with their families at dinner.
3 c. all purpose flour
3 TBSP granulated sugar
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1 c. warm water
3 TBSP non-fat dry milk
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
In a large resealable freezer bag, combine 1 c. flour, sugar, yeast, and warm water (be sure to seal the bag). Squish the bag with your hands until blended. Set aside for 10 minutes at room temperature to allow yeast to activate and begin to bubble.
After 10 minutes, add 1 c. flour, dry milk, oil, and salt. Again, seal the bag, and squish with your hands until blended. Add the final cup of flour and continue squishing. The dough will begin to pull away from the sides of the bag. **Young bakers may need help at this stage, because the dough can become stiff.
Remove dough from the bag and place on a floured surface. Knead for 5-8 minutes or until the dough ball is smooth and velvety. Form dough into a ball or small loaf.
*If forming a round loaf (ball), place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spray with nonstick cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a draft free area for approximately 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
**If forming into a loaf, place dough in a sprayed loaf pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray, cover, and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
*For garlic-herb bread, add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 TBSP parsley flakes, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning to bag with the second cup of flour. Continue process as directed.
**For cinnamon bread, stretch/roll dough into a rectangle before placing in loaf pan. Combine 3 TBSP sugar and 1 TBSP in a bowl. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll the dough like a jelly roll. Tuck the ends in and place into the loaf pan. Continue process as directed.
***For cranberry/dried fruit bread, add 3/4 c. chopped dried blueberries, cranberries, raisin, apples, etc. to the bag with the second cup of flour. Continue process as directed.
****For white-wheat bread, substitute 1/2 of the all purpose flour for wheat flour. For whole wheat bread, substitute all of the all purpose flour for wheat flour. You may need a bit more liquid, since wheat flour tends to become drier.
*****For oatmeal bread, add 1/2 c. rolled oats (quick…not instant) to the bag with the second cup of flour. Again, you may need a bit more liquid, since the oats will dry out the dough.