3… 2… 1… Bake!
In this article, Jane Rylands from family kitchen appliance providers Belling shares her tips for making tasty baked goods with your kids.
The Great British Bake Off is back on our TV, which is the perfect excuse to dust off your rolling pin and inspire a love of baking in your kids. Baking is a great hobby for children as it helps them to understand what goes into their food and can nurture a love for cooking. It also teaches them about responsibility and following instructions, plus measuring and reading recipes can even help with their maths and literacy skills. So, there’s lots of reasons to get them involved!
With that in mind, below are my tips for baking with kids so you can help your little ones grow into star bakers.
Kitchen safety and staying organised
Before introducing your kids to cookery, it’s crucial that they are taught how to stay safe in the kitchen. You must never leave them unsupervised around sharp knives and hot ovens, and jobs that require this equipment should be handed over to you.
Get them into the habit of washing their hands and wiping down surfaces before they start baking to get rid of nasty germs and bacteria. It’s best not to let children handle raw meat for pies, pasties and samosas until they are old and responsible enough to understand the risks.
Simple ways to get the kids involved
Even if your kids are very young, there are lots of safe ways for them to help out when it comes to baking. Mixing dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, creaming butter and sugar, and whisking batter are all totally safe — albeit messy — tasks for them to be put in charge of. If you prefer to do these yourself to make sure the technique is right, provide an array of icing, sprinkles and garnishes so they can decorate your baked goods once they’ve cooled.
Kids with a good reading level can be put in charge of the recipe, carefully reading instructions aloud for you both to follow. Look for a recipe book made specially for kids, such as Learn to Cook with Billy the Bear, so they have a choice of recipes that are fun, easy to understand and not too complex to attempt. Giving them an important role like this is a great way to teach them responsibility and raise their confidence in the kitchen.
Easy baking project ideas
For fool-proof baking from scratch, artisan baking mixes and pancake mixes contain everything your kids will need to make delicious cookies — they’ll just need to add refrigerated ingredients like eggs and butter. Because they’re pre-measured and contain all the right flavours, your kids just need to mix them well and give them to you to pop in the oven for guaranteed deliciousness. Mixtures like these can help raise your children’s confidence in the kitchen and they’ll be dishing out cookies to their friends, classmates and teachers in no time.
Another easy project they can try is crispy cakes. These don’t require an oven so your kids can make them with less input from you. They simply mix cereal with golden syrup or marshmallow fluff, or even butter (melted under your supervision). Then, they can pop it into cake cases, then put them into the fridge to chill. Your kids can add extra ingredients to the mix if they wish, like raisins or chocolate, but these treats are delicious as is and difficult to get wrong.
These are just some of the ways you can get your children involved in the kitchen, producing delicious baked goods worthy of a Hollywood handshake — and learning valuable cookery skills at the same time.