Kids in the Kitchen Part 2

my daughters making pizza way back when

It’s a quiet and cold time of year—perfect for spending some time in the kitchen with children! As discussed in an earlier Teachable Moment, working with children in the kitchen teaches them math and science. And, if you want to take it a step further, geography (where do the ingredients/foods come from, how are they grown, made, transported, etc.)

Pizza dough is a simple bread dough made from flour, water and small amounts of other ingredients. The secret ingredient, yeast, is actually a fungus that, when mixed with food (sugar) and water, produces carbon dioxide. That chemical reaction makes the dough rise.

Science Investigations:
What does the dry yeast look like? Can you see it better with just your eyes, a magnifying glass, or a microscope?
What happens if you change the temperature of the water when proofing the yeast?
What happens if you use different amounts of sugar in the proofing mix?
What happens if you change the temperature of the location for the rise? To experiment, you could break your dough into two pieces and let one rise in a warm spot and another rise in a hot or cold spot. Measure how long it takes to double in size and compare the two.
What would happen to the dough if you didn’t use any yeast? How do you think the pizza would taste?
This recipe makes two ten-inch pizzas. How would you change the recipe if you wanted to make four ten-inch pizzas? What if you only wanted to make one ten-inch pizza?

You will need:

A large glass bowl, measuring cups & spoons
Masking tape
A clean cloth dishtowel
1 tsp. sugar (1 tsp. is 1/3 of a Tablespoon)
¾ cup warm water (warm to the inside of your wrist)
1 ½ tsp. fast acting, dry yeast (1 ½ tsp. is ½ of a Tablespoon)
1 tbs. olive oil (1 tbs. is ¼ of a ¼ cup or 1/16th of a cup)
2 cups all purpose or bread flour
½ tsp. salt (1/2 tsp. is 1/6 of a Tablespoon)

1. Mix the sugar into the warm water and then sprinkle the yeast on top of the water.
Draw a picture of what the yeast looks like. What do you think it’s going to do? Watch the chemical change as the yeast starts to work. Draw a picture of what it looks like after five or ten minutes.
2. Mix the salt into the flour.
3. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture
4. Stir the flour/salt mixture into the yeast mixture little by little. When it gets to hard to use a spoon, mix it with your (clean) hands. Mix together, pushing and shoving it until it has formed a smooth, round ball of dough. If it is too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour at a time until it is nice and smooth but not sticky.
5. Flatten the dough to fill the bowl and use the tape on the outside of the bowl to mark the top edge of the bread dough.
6. Cover the bowl with the cloth towel and place in a warm (not hot or cold) place to rise until doubled in size (about ¾ of an hour (45 minutes) to an hour).

OK, OK…you can actually use the dough to make pizza.
Preheat the oven to 500°.
After dough has risen, divide in half (or more if you want individual pizzas).
Spread pizza sauce (store bought or homemade) on top, cover with cheese and desired toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes until bottom is done.

Measuring and fractions in recipes

One of the most common measures when cooking is “one cup.” A recipe might ask for
1 cup of water or flour, but then again, it might ask for ¾ (.75) or 1 ½ (1.5) cups of flour.

What you need for this activity:

A complete set of measuring cups
Raw rice (easier to clean up than flour)
A large bowl or pot over which to measure to catch “spillage”

Have the children guess the answer before “testing” it by pouring the smaller cup amount into a larger cup. Using the rice and the various measuring tools, answer the following questions.

• If you use the ¼ (.25) cup, how many times would you need to fill it to equal one cup?
• If you use the ½ (.5) cup, how many times would you need to fill it to equal one cup?
• Do you see a pattern?
• If you had a 1/3 (.33) cup measure, how many times do you think you would have to fill it to equal 1 cup? What about 1/5 (.20) cup?
• Which measuring cups would you use to measure 1 ½ cups of something?
• If you used only ½-cup measuring cups to get the 1 ½ cups, how many times would you fill it?
• If you used only the ¼-cup measuring cups to get the 1 ½ cups, how many times would you fill it?
• If it takes four ¼ cups to equal one cup, that could be written as 4/4.
• If it takes eight ¼ cups to equal two cups, that could be written as 8/4.
• Why don’t we use fractions like those in recipes?

Temporary eBook Viewing Code: LXW2D5
Code expiration date: 01/18/2010
Please click on the following link:
My Half Day: Fractions
One Odd Day and My Even Day (lead up to My Half Day)
The Rainforest Grew All Around: ingredients and where they come from, with a “Rainforest Cookie” recipe
Burro’s Tortillas An adaptation of The Little Red Hen with a Southwestern flavor, includes a tortilla recipe.


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