One of the most popular kid's cooking birthday party options we offer down at The Kitchen Studio is our Pizza, Smoothies, & Cupcakes menu. And one of my very favorite parts of the class is explaining how yeast works to kids. To be honest, for inexperienced adults, it's a great way to remember it too. So here are a few tips on working with yeast:
First thing you want to do, is think of yeast like a dog.
Really. Like a sweet little doggie living in your house. Yeast is the same sort of thing, just without the cuddliness.
1. A dog is alive, and so is yeast. Of course, yeast is an organism and isn't going to jump up and give you the love, but it is alive and needs to be treated with care.
2. You feed your dog, so be sure to feed your yeast. I like a little sugar or honey just to make sure the yeast is working at full power and give it five minutes or so to proof. Your mixture will get a little foamy and bubbly. That's how you know your yeast is working. It's a double-check and not always totally necessary, but it's how I roll.
3. Dogs need a bath, and so does yeast. You don't want to give your doggie a hot bath, you'll burn it. And you don't want to give a dog a cold bath, because that dog will want nothing to do with it. Yeast is the same way. You body temperature runs at 98.6 degrees or so. Run a little water over the inside of your wrist, just like you would do with a baby bottle. If it feels warm, you're all set. Hot? fugedaboutit.
4. Dogs like to nap, and so does yeast. It gives you the rise time you need. This ties in closely with #5, our money shot...
5. Your dog toots, and so does yeast. Kids crack up at the thought of farting yeast, but it's a great analogy and one that's really simple to grasp. Plus, they'll giggle like crazy when you tell them.
So there you have it. Isn't that a super-simple way to remember how to work with yeast?
Yeah, I thought so.
Now go make some cinnamon rolls, or focaccia bread, or soft pretzels with the kiddies. It will be a snap and jr will learn a little something in the process.