Like most kids, my buddies love to cook. One of our favourite activities is working with dough, especially bread dough. I use a recipe that allows me to prepare the dough and keep it in the refrigerator until I want to use it. It's very versatile and we've used it to make buns, cinnamon buns and monkey bread.
Here's the recipe:
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups hot water
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup cooking oil
7 cups flour
Combine sugar, salt and water in a bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and cool till the mixture is lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it stand for 5 - 10 minutes. Stir, then add beaten egg, and mix well. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix well. Then add cooking oil. Add the rest of the flour gradually, kneading with your hands till the dough is no longer sticky. (This makes the dough easier for the kids to work with and makes the buns light, too.)
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. At this point, you can punch the dough down and shape it into buns or cover and refrigerate it. You can store it for 2 days in the fridge and use it as you like,but punch it down occasionally to keep it from rising too much. Once you have made your buns, place them on greased pans and let them rise for a couple of hours until double in size. Bake at 425 degrees F until golden brown.
After my buddies shape their dough I like to put them in the oven to rise. Turning the light on allows my buddies to see their dough rise and the light warms the oven a little to aid in the rising process.
They all enjoy eating the buns they have made.
As a variation, my 3 - 5 yr olds always enjoyed making monkey bread. We have made two different kinds. The sweet kind is much like a cinnamon bun. To make this kind of monkey bread, you need an angel food cake pan, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and some of your refrigerator dough.
Prepare your pan by greasing it and dropping about 3 tsps of butter on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a few tbsps of brown sugar on top of that. Melt about 1/4 to 1/3 cups of butter in a bowl in the microwave. In another bowl take about 3/4 cup of brown sugar and add about a tsp of cinnamon and mix.
Now, take your dough, and cut it into little bits, about the size of big marbles. Kids love rolling these balls, dipping them into the butter, then the sugar mix and dropping them in the pan. They don't have to be perfect, either and they will taste great! When the pan is about one third to one half full, pour any left over melted butter and sugar on the top. Then let rise until doubled in size. It takes a couple of hours. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. The top will be golden brown. Flip the pan over onto a plate and let the monkey bread release.
For a less sweet version of monkey bread, omit the cinnamon/sugar and just dip the balls in butter. You end up with a kind of buttery monkey bread that reminds me of croissants.
I'm sharing this with Tots and Me at Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen.