From Grain to Loaf

This document is a planning space for the From Grain to Loaf Community Led Learning session. As the document evolves it will be a resource for the several collaborating instructors/facilitators and a resource for the parents of the children involved with the session.

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Dates: Wed April 13 - May 18 , 2011 (schedule below) 12:30 - 2:45 PM

The Blurb for the CLL Catalog

Title: From Grain to Loaf

We will start from wheat and explore threshing and grinding and compare different wheat varieties and how our flour compares to commercial flour. Then we'll probe a little into the science of yeasty beasties and begin discovering gluten. Our partners include the USDA’s Western Wheat Quality Lab at WSU and Panhandle Artisan Bread company of Moscow. We will work “Julia Child fashion” on various parts of the baking process each week. While our bread is in the oven (solar and mud ovens we hope) we'll look at alternatives to gluten. For our celebration the Bakery will make some bread with our recipes that we can share with the school.


Nils Peterson

Nels Peterson - Panhandle Artisan Bread

Eric Wegner - USDA/WWQL

Betty Smith

Sharon Cousins - solar ovens

Sue Campbell Clark

Debi Robinson-Smith

Learning Targets

I can make bread

I can explain what makes bread rise

I understand gluten and gluten substitutes

I understand the nutritional differences between whole and white flour

I understand the role of time in making bread

DRAFT Schedule - recipe below

April 13

Threshing and grinding. Making flour. Varieties of Wheat. Kinds of milling methods.

Facilitators: Eric Wegner & Nils Peterson

BBK/Mystery Piece

Examine various kinds of bread, note differences: Ciabata, 50% whole wheat, whole wheat, multi-grain, sour dough, baguette (from Panhandle Bakery). Might like to have samples of, gluten free, chapati (unleavened)


Heads of wheat for manual threshing

Manual threshing tools

Winnowing basket

Various mills for grinding (have a pin mill and stone mill and mortal and pestle (an indian artifact)

Butcher paper for students’ concept maps also helps contain mess of threshing

gluten balls (premade)

dough balls per child(premade ⅓ c flour ⅙ c water)

containers to take dough balls home

Globe - trace the migration of wheat from fertile crescent (requested)

White Board/ Poster Paper + Markers for facilitator

Cutting board and bread knife

Activities/ Ideas

* Historical implications of farming vs hunter gathering on social development (brief)

* Build concept diagram - what do you know about bread?

* Hand out samples of kinds of bread. It would be great if the samples were pre-cut and pre-labeled on paper plates

* Start looking at various kinds of bread, what do you see? Use all 5 senses. Can you categorize the breads into some groups? These will illustrate the different crumbs (interior/gluten development) you can get using different flours and different crusts

* Add to concept diagram

* What is flour? How is it made?

Manual threshing

Winnowing basket

Various means for grinding

Sift the flours; Discussion of bran and nutrition

Difference between soft white and hard red wheat

        looks different in the kernel

        gluten balls feel different (First introduction to gluten & kinds)

* Update concept diagrams with more information

* Send students home with mystery dough ball. gently squeeze ball under warm water to wash away starch. What kind of gluten did you have (strong or weak)? This dough ball method is the technique used to measure gluten pre-current high tech methods.

Eric brought in a special sifter and we got bran, middlings and flour and measured the amounts of each. With more time we could have attended to the differences of different varieties of wheat and kinds of mills.

April 20

The Science of Yeast and Making a sponge

Facilitators: Sue Campbell Clark, Nels Peterson & Nils Peterson

This session went fast and we had 20 minutes to kill which was done after activity 4 and before the reflection. This gave sponges more time to rise. The sponge that had been stirred the most did best.


        White flour and water, mixing bowls and spoons

        left over whole flour from last week’s grinding


        Sweetener (probably white sugar for mess related reasons)

        Measuring cups and spoons, hot and cold water

        bottles and balloons to capture CO2

funnel and grease separating measuring cup for for filling bottles

Sharpie Markers for labeling bottles

shallow pan and ice for cold bath

Warming pad

Main activities:

1. Review last week & Learning Targets

2. Yeast in bottles

3. Make Sponge

4. Sour Dough

5. Collect Data

1. Review ideas from last week.

        Gluten (dough ball mystery)

        Whole vs white flour  (look at samples we milled)

        Nutritional value of whole flour

2. What do you know about yeast?

        What is yeast

What does it need to grow

What does it give off when it grows

YEAST Proportions (needed for both bottles & sponge)

¾ cup water

1 ½ tsp yeast

Stir together and set aside while yeast dissolves

Activity 1: Yeast in bottles

1. Pre-make a batch of yeast + water (recipe above)

        cold: use ice water

        warm: use tepid water

        hot: use very hot water

2. load bottles with different ingredients (sugar, flour), see table below

3. add water yeast and top with balloons, swirl to mix

4. Set bottles aside to ferment at different temperatures:

        cold: shallow pan with ice cubes

        warm: warming mat

        hot: warming mat+towel

Activity 2: Make Sponge

Measure flour and sugar into mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add water slowly into the well, while stirring. Measure in yeast/water mixture. keep stirring until like pancake batter. Cover and watch what happens. Should take 45 minutes.

Activity 3: Sour Dough starter

Make starter (equal parts flour and water) Set aside

Examine a starter (taste, smell)

Examine the CLL Bread baked last weekend

Activity 4: Examine the bottles from Activity 1

Measure amounts of gas at different water temps

What do you see?

Does temperature play a role?

Does sugar play a role?

Do nutrients (whole flour) play a role?

SPONGE This is a 1/3 recipe for today’s experiments

1 ¼ cups bread flour

1 ½  tsp white sugar

⅔ cups water

¼ cup yeast mixture

Record Results of Bottle Experiment


Bottle 1

(yeast + sugar)

Bottle 2

(yeast + sugar + whole flour)

Bottle 3

(yeast + sugar + white flour)

Bottle 4

(yeast + whole flour)




Summarize what you see in the data from the bottle experiment

Vocabulary Words






Student’s legend for the chart above: S=small amount of gas collected; M=Medium; L=Large; NM=Not much gas (less than small); NG= No Gas

The 12 bottles being observed. From left to right: Hot (group of 4); Warm (group of 4); Cold (group of 4) Cold, bottle 1 (yellow balloon) illustrates “Not Much,” the balloon had some gas in it, but not enough to stand.

Other ideas not implemented: Use a thermometer and see how different temps effect fermentation/the rise of the sponge (more wholistic version of the experiment above)

we could see how a sponge w/out sugar acts (more wholistic version of the experiment above)

April 27

Kneading and the magic of gluten/ Shaping and Rising

Facilitators: Nils Peterson & Nels Peterson & ??


        * Sponge pre-made and bubbly -- need 6+ cups of flour

        * flour need 6 more cups of flour, salt

        * 6 bowls, measuring cups and spoons (work in teams of 2)

        basic recipe

        Warming mat. fresh butcher paper to cover. Plastic and towel to cover bread

        * kneading surface - use cutting boards

        * plastic serrated knives for scoring loaves

12:35 start

Wash hands

Using the ⅓ sponge recipe (pre-made with recipe above & pre-salted) students IN PAIRS mix in 1 ¼ cup whole flour and kneed up a dough ball.  (5 min demo and 10-15 min activity)

Cover and leave in warm place

12:55 Review  (10 min )

Learning Targets

I can make bread

I can explain what makes bread rise

I understand gluten and gluten substitutes

I understand the nutritional differences between whole and white flour

1:05 Exploration of gluten via autolyse method (Nels) (5 min)

The autolyse method (see: is basically making a shaggy dough (all the water and almost all the flour not much mixing) and letting the gluten develop on it's own then adding yeast and salt a bit later and keep kneading.

1:05 Reading  Three Farmers folktale pg 26 Baking Bread with Children by Warren Lee Cohen (10 min )

1:15 Get ideas (15 min)

Examine shapes of bread loaves - at Wikipedia

Draw a bread you want to try to make

Nels demo making different shapes to make- rounds, batards, braids, baguettes, epi

1:30 Divide dough ball in two so each child has one (10 min) (Nels keeps going)

Working on shared cutting boards, shape first loaf (each child)

Make first loaf from dough ball

Cover loaf

Make second loaf from Nels’ dough ball

Cover loaf

Re-make loaf if you want.

1:40 (or later) Recess break

2:00 Clean up tables (10 min)

Pack loaves in plastic bags to take home. They will almost certainly need to be re-shaped and set to rise again before baking.

2:10 Another story reading (10 min )


Write reflections (15 min)

2:45 Dismiss to classes

Email summary of the day:

Last week we had another good session, aided by Nels Peterson. We reviewed how yeast like warm conditions with some sugar and whole flour for nutrition. We also looked at the autolyse method for building gluten, (see: Basically making a shaggy dough (all the water and almost all the flour not much mixing) and letting the gluten develop on it's own then adding yeast and salt a bit later and keep kneading. Nels had samples that were 24, 12 and 1 hour old and students felt the amount of gluten in each.

We took newly made sponge (week 3's product) and added flour to make a dough for kneading and shaping loaves. Nels demonstrated making some of the fun loaves he makes at Panhandle and students experimented, photos attached.

Home Baking Directions (April 27)

Children’s loaves may need to be re-shaped after traveling home. If so

Grease cookie sheet, or sprinkle with corn meal

Place loaf on prepared sheet, allow some time to rise again in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 350

Bake 20 minutes

Loaf Shape Ideas (from Wikipedia article on Bread)

May 4 Field work: Bread ingredients/ Solar Baking

Materials needed

Solar ovens, thermometers and pans (Sharon Cousins)

Hot pads

Table to set up ovens on loading dock

Risen bread dough for 3 mini-loaves

Cutting Board & Knife

Copies of recipe form for Co-op (master below)

Before departing

Look at bread going into solar oven

Depart for Moscow Food Co-op 12:40  (15+ min walk)

Ar. Moscow Food Co-op Deli before 1:00

Sample breads and look at ingredient lists. Consider which ingredients we like/dislike

What do all the breads have in common? What is different?

When an ingredient is in common, are there variations? (saltier/ less salty)

Pick our the ingredients for our personal loaf of bread (fill in check sheet below)

1:20 at latest

Split into two groups (for size):

1:40 Head back to school

Back at school

2:00 arrive at school

Check temp in solar ovens

Open solar ovens, check bread

Eat breads

2:25 Reflections

Student Name ________________

My Bread Recipe

(makes one mini-loaf, recipe over)

Select 4 scoops of flour. Each scoop is ¼ cup. You can select all one kind or several kinds depending on the bread you want to make:

Number of scoops  (4 total)

Flour with Gluten

___ Whole Wheat (full nutrition)

___ Spelt (similar in colour and in texture to light rye breads but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavour)

___ High Gluten Flour (white flour, helps other flours rise well)

Flour without Gluten (Also choose some gluten flour to make these rise well)

___ Oatmeal

___ Malted Barley
___ Rye

___ Buckwheat

___ Potato flour

Moscow Food Co-op Breads we will sample

(a weekly schedule of Co-op baking was pasted here before photocopying)

(the page below was photocopied back to back with the page above. Students sampled bread, marked their recipe and turned in the page. Later they got the page back with their loaf of bread and it has the recipe on the back for later baking.)

YEAST Mixture

¼ cup WARM water

½ tsp yeast

Stir together and set aside while yeast dissolves


1 ¼ cups bread flour

1 ½  tsp white sugar

⅔ cups water

¼ cup yeast mixture

Put flour & sugar into bowl, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add water into the well while stirring. Add yeast mixture. Stir 100 strokes to mix in air and begin stretching gluten. Should be like pancake batter. Cover, set aside in warm place to bubble.


When bubbly and risen, beat the sponge 100 strokes.

Add the following flour choices from the other page (1 cup total)

Add white flour to make dough right consistency (up to ¼ cup)

Knead for 5 min

Let dough rise until double

Punch down dough and shape loaf

Let rise again

Bake 350F 20 minutes

Loaves coming out of the oven

May 11

Baking Day and Gluten free breads

Facilitators: Nils Peterson, Nels Peterson, & Debi Robinson-Smith - gluten free crackers


        Proofed loaves, in pans, ready to bake

        Solar oven(s)

        Mud oven

        Materials to make a gluten free loaf

        Bread pans

Activities/ Ideas

        Gluten loaves into ovens

        Making elastic dough with gluten free flours. Role of xanthan gum, etc

        Bake gluten free bread (preparation is faster because gluten does not need to be developed)

        Ideas about how the ovens work, the dis/advantages of solar, social implications

        Compare the breads via different ovens and flours.

Gluten Free Crackers - Debi Robinson-Smith

½ c brown rice flour

¼ c tapioca flour

¼ c buckwheat flour

¼ c teff flour

¼ c sorghum flour

¼ tsp xanthum gum

½ tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp olive oil

¾ tsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp water

Heat oven to 400F

Mix all ingredients until paste forms

Roll on floured board until VERY thin

cut to cracker sizes/shapes - transfer to baking sheet

Bake 10-15 minutes

Remove from oven, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt

Let crackers cool completely before removing from cookie sheet

Crackers will keep 5 days in closed container

May 18

Celebration of our learning/ Sharing of bread made with our recipe

Facilitators: Nils Peterson & ??


        Fresh bread from Panhandle Bakery to share with the school

Whole Wheat Bread

(full recipe makes 2 large loaves; partial recipe used above to reduce waste)


¾ cup warm water

1 ½ tsp yeast

Stir together and set aside while yeast dissolves



3 ¾ cups bread flour

1 ½ tbsp honey (CLL will substitute white sugar to reduce mess)

2 cups water

Measure flour and sugar into large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Slowly add water into the well, while stirring. Also add yeast/water mixture. Keep stirring, slowly engaging more and more flour until its all mixed and has a consistency like pancake batter.

When dry ingredients are mixed in, begin beating with a spoon, stirring up and down in small strokes near the surface, and moving in circles. Beat about 100 times, until batter is smooth. So this at the surface of the dough, ducking the spoon under then bring it above the surface in a circular motion (2).

Cover the bowl in a warm place (85 F) for 45 minutes and watch what happens.


Advantages of Sponge Method

Sponge method is advantageous in several ways. Yeast gets started in absence of salt and in presence of abundant oxygen (see beating method above). Gluten is formed as sponge stretches in rising (and again at the end of the rise when you beat it). (Gluten would otherwise require stretching while kneading -- a task that is likely harder for children.) The added elasticity makes it easier to incorporate the remaining ingredients and to knead the dough. (adapted from 2, pg 18)



After sponge has risen, beat with spoon 50 strokes to stretch gluten

Slowly add, stirring after each addition

2 tsp salt

3 ¾ cups whole wheat flour (use 3 ¼ cup, mix well, allow time for wheat to absorb water before adding remainder of flour.)

As dough becomes thicker, switch from spoon to kneading. Dough should be moist but not too sticky.

Cover the dough and set in warm place to rise. When doubled poke in your finger, the hole should remain or close slowly.

Shape into loaves. Cover. Raise again before baking.



Bake loaves at 350 F for 40 minutes


1. Recipe adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Book "Bread: A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes"

2. The Tassara Bread Book, Edward Espe Brown, pg 16 on sponge.

Our Gluten Free Recipe