Let’s face it: there is nothing nicer than biting into a warm piece of bread slathered with butter or fruit jam. Many people are intimidated about making bread, but it is incredibly hard to mess up. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic way to teach your kids about science and nutrition. Yeast is a fungus that responds to warm water. It starts by eating the sugars in the dough and then (excuse the expression) “farts” – filling the dough with little air bubbles that cause the bread to rise. Yeast would be nothing without gluten, the glue-like protein that captures those bubbles and lets the bread rise. To drive this science lesson home, tie it in with the movie Up!, since bread rising is similar to a hot-air balloon; yeast is like the hot air and gluten is the balloon part.
Lessons aside, there are a couple of other great reasons to bake your own bread. Safety is one of them. A lot of store-bought bread in Beijing is made with tap water, which is laden with heavy metals, and many flours contain large amounts of pesticides and fungicides that will stay with your children for a lifetime. So yes, bread can be a little messy, but at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather have a messy kitchen full of memories instead of heavy metals and chemicals? So roll up your sleeves and get kneading!
1 kg (about 7 cups) bread flour (plus extra, for dusting) 面包粉1千克（约7杯多一点）
30g (2 tbsp) yeast 酵母30克（2茶匙）
600-650ml (about 2 cups) warm water 温水600-650毫升
1 tbsp sugar 糖1茶匙
1 tsp salt 盐1茶匙
Flavor combinations: Freshly-grated cheese and garlic, your favorite Italian herbs, or cinnamon and raisins 调味组合：碎芝士和蒜，你最喜欢的意大利调味香草，或
1. In a big bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix them thoroughly.
2. Slowly add water and seasoning, first stirring, then kneading until the dough is thick enough to stick to itself. Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface, and knead for five minutes.
3. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise in a dark, warm place until it doubles in size, and then punch it down.
4. Form the dough into the shape you want.
5. Let it rise until doubled, slash the top, and bake at 204°C (400°F). Breadsticks and cheese balls should take around ten to 15 minutes, and a loaf of bread will set you back 40 minutes. Tip: If you like a good crunch, pop open the oven every ten minutes and spray some water on the bottom. This will help it form a super-crunchy crust.