Like a good loaf of bread, the students at Schuster Elementary School rose up and signed up to help those families who may not have enough to eat during the upcoming holidays.
Fourth- and fifth-graders at the Northeast school learned the basics of bread baking last Thursday to make a loaf for themselves and one to share with a local food bank. This is part of the “Bake for Good” program from King Arthur Flour, a company that has been around since the days of George Washington.
The goal of the program is to increase access to food for communities that may be lacking services.
“Our hope is they go home with a new skill that empowers them to give back,” Bake for Good instructor Libby Treadway said. “We give them enough materials to make a bread for themselves and one to share with someone in the community.”
Each student went home with a bag of goodies: two bags of flour, a recipe booklet, a bread bag, one packet of yeast and a flour scraper.
Treadway recruited two students to help go through the process step-by-step, providing them with a guideline for when they bake their bread at home.
Students receive more than just a baking lesson, though.
“We use this as an opportunity to teach kids about science, math and reading,” Treadway said. “The kids learn about measurement, yeast and how it works in bread and produces carbon dioxide, gluten and gluten structures.”
Fourth-grader Desmond Sicre liked helping make the bread and learning the science behind the process.
“I liked when I threw the pizza dough in the air and caught it. Everyone was cheering for me, and I learned how to make pizza dough,” Desmond said. “I learned that you don’t add boiling hot water because it will kill the yeast and the bread won’t come out right.”
Fifth-grader Samantha Myres liked using her hands to make something.
“I liked learning how to kneading the dough. It was fun and messy,” Samantha said. “I learned that you have to measure your ingredients, like how much flour I need to add to make sure it tastes good. I like that we are helping people who don’t have enough food.”
Teacher Piper Norris is reaching out to the Northeast Community Food Pantry once the students bring back the finished loaves.
“The students really enjoyed the presentation, and are still talking about it days later,” Norris said. “They learned concepts like fractions and changing states of matter to explain what happens when you mix up yeast, flour, salt, and water and turn it into dough.”
Norris said the most important lesson students learned on that day is sharing.
“Nine- and 10-year-old students here at Schuster are able to have an impact on their community by baking a loaf of bread for someone in need,” she said. “All it takes is one person to make a difference, and we want to inspire our students to be that difference.”