Bake Bread! Things to do on a rainy day with a toddler, part I.

by doodaddy on February 19, 2008

The rain set into San Francisco again this morning, so I thought I’d trot out a couple of rainy day success stories. (I’ll admit, I’ve got plenty of rainy day failure stories, but this is more fun!)


Getting started with the mixing


Nothing rocks like kneading

Anyway, last rainy day, Boobaby and I used this cool no-knead bread recipe to put together a loaf or two, and it came out great — like real, three-rise serious bread!

And what can be bad about a recipe where the first ingredients are "one toddler, one tarp"?

In case you want to do this like an adult, here’s the original recipe at the New York Times Web site, but this is my toddler-tested recipe:


1 toddler
1 tarp
1 diaper (for the potty-trained, consider a swim diaper anyway)
3 c. high-protein flour
(we use 2 c. bread flour and 1 c. whole wheat, which worked really well)
1/4 tsp. instant yeast (seriously, I know it doesn’t sound like enough)
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. water
lots of pots, bowls, and spoons of various descriptions


  1. Put a tarp or rubber sheet down on the kitchen floor. Wash toddler’s hands and take off all of toddler’s clothes except a diaper or underthing, ’cause otherwise, eeeew. You’re gonna eat this stuff. (As you can see, I missed the last part of this step, to great effect.)
  2. Put the flour into into a bowl and whisk in the yeast, then the salt.
  3. Hand the bowl to the baby with something tall, like a stock pot, and something to scoop with, like a measuring cup. Start toddler scooping.
  4. Fill another bowl with the water and hand it to the toddler, too. Get her scooping that, too. Ignore copious amounts of spilled flour and water.
  5. Once most of the material is in the stockpot, hand toddler a wooden spoon and get her stirring.
  6. Once you get a gooey mess in the stockpot, dump contents into a low vessel — we used a Pyrex loaf pan — and start toddler kneading. It doesn’t matter that this is a no-knead bread — think of this as mixing.
  7. When your attention span has lapsed, dump the whole thing into a large bowl and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap. Leave it somewhere warmish and enclosed — we usually use the microwave.
  8. Put the toddler into the bath.
  9. At least a day and a half later — seriously, let it go at least 12 hours! — turn the thing out onto a floured board. With floured hands, fold the dough once from the sides, and then from the top and bottom to make a ball-like shape.
  10. Put it, seam side down, into a big pot that can be covered and put into the oven. (We use a big Le Creuset French Oven.) Make sure you take any plastic handles off — they usually just unscrew.
  11. Bake 30 minutes at 450 degrees, then take the cover off and let it go another 15 or 20 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you thunk it on the top.

All that water makes a great moist bread with a nice but not too-thick crust — it’s just fantastic, plus fun for the baby. We do this at least once a week now!

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Bloglines

in activities,rainy day ·

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rattling The Kettle February 19, 2008 at 4:31 pm

I’ve made the adult version several times. I should make it again, it’s been a while. Great bread.


doodaddy February 19, 2008 at 4:42 pm

The adult version — sounds so dirty!

Just kidding — I’d made it a lot, too! Isn’t it great?


Scott February 20, 2008 at 5:40 am

WOW!! I am impressed. Making your own bread. I feel so inept. Maybe I just dont make it because I dont have an adorable little girl to mix the stuff for me. That is a GREAT picture.

Maybe someday when I am done microwaving all those Hot Pockets and boiling all those hot-dogs…I will give the bread a try! 🙂


doodaddy February 20, 2008 at 6:00 am

It’s amazingly easy — try it, I’m serious! Unless, of course, you’re using your oven for storing laundry…


Momma Bum February 20, 2008 at 7:06 am

Lil’ Bum loves to bake/cook. We’ll have to try this it sound yummy.


Avery February 20, 2008 at 7:59 am

I love fresh baked bread! Good thing they sell some not too far from here.

Glad you had a good time!


doodaddy February 20, 2008 at 9:10 am

Yeah, if we had a bakery nearby we’d be there every day. And we’d all weigh a ton… I *love* the fresh-baked.

:), Dd.


rookiemom February 20, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Seriously, your daughter is going to be, like, the most awesome person ever, with a dad like you. Baking bread? Too cool. Makes me crave bread now, and I can honestly say that’s a first.


doodaddy February 20, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Aw, thanks, I’m totally blushing! It was actually a great way to distract her for an hour — she was cool just kneading while I did a bunch of dishes and stuff… but thanks for the kudo, I’ll take it!


tanya25m February 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

The pictures are just too cute! And I must try out the recipe…


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: