Baking bread is just plain fun when your preschoolers shape prepared dough into adorable bear shapes. Toss in simple math along the way too, as your pint-size bakers divide the dough into halves, fourths and even sixths to form the bear's arms, legs and snout. They'll watch the dough rise before their eyes, and they'll love "painting" the bears with an egg wash before you pop them in the oven.
Serve them warm, drizzled with some honey from a little pot for a memorable afternoon treat.
Here are the simple ingredients you'll need for two 8-inch-tall bears:
Here's the fun:
1. Thaw the loaf of frozen bread dough for two 8-inch-tall bears. Use it while it is still cold.
2. Cut the loaf in half. Set one of the halves aside for a few minutes while you form the first bear.
3. Cut the dough into two even pieces, and let your child roll one of the pieces into a ball with his hands. Set it on a large, greased cookie sheet for the body. Press it down to flatten slightly.
4. Cut the other piece in half. Roll one of the halves into a ball for the head and place it above the body. You may need to pinch the two parts together.
5. Pick off a small bit from the remaining piece for the snout. Cut the rest into six even pieces. Roll all seven small pieces into balls. Place a ball on the face for the snout, two ears at the top of the head, two arms at the sides of the body, and two legs to the bottom of the body.
6. Make tiny slits in the dough and insert raisins for eyes and for a belly button. Repeat steps for second bear.
7. Let them rise, covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap, for about 45 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size.
8. Remove covering and brush some egg mixture on top of the bears. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
Tip: Make several bears, and dress them up with thin ribbons tied around their necks. Set in a basket as treats at a teddy bear party.
Donna Erickson's new award-winning television series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. Visit www.donnasday.com to find out when it airs on your local PBS station and to sign up for Donna's e-newsletter. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."