Bread and butter is such a common snack that it is easy to overlook how each food item is made. Last week many of the cooking class students said they eat bread and butter on a weekly basis. They even claimed that they make bread and butter themselves. However, cooking class would demonstrate that a lot more steps go into actually making bread and butter than simply toasting bread and spreading butter.

It was fun to introduce yeast to the students as an ingredient that is alive. We watched the yeast become active when we added it to hot water and witnessed it spread and foam across the top layer of water. Talking about yeast was incredibly tangible for the students. They now know why bread has so many holes in it!

Making butter continued to teach them about food products they frequently use. I asked the students what ingredients are used to make butter and many thought eggs and yogurt were in butter. While they were on the right track with dairy, the only ingredient we used to make butter was heavy whipping cream. I added the cream to student’s jar and instructed them to shake their jars for 10 minutes. My directions were met with faces of disbelief. The students knew that churning cream made butter, but were surprised to learn that shaking got the same job done. The shaking provided us with the perfect opportunity for a freeze dance party while we turned butter into cream! After several minutes the students noticed small clumps in their jars. After a few more minutes it was difficult to shake their jars since there was no liquid left to shake. The students were somewhat stunned when they learned that there were no more steps.

Many of the comments about the bread and butter were about how fresh everything tasted. Kids are used to hard butter rather than the much fluffier version we made. They also commented that the bread was much denser and flavorful than “normal” bread. Much to my delight, the students left class with a deeper appreciation for an everyday food as well as an appreciation for the distinctive flavors that accompany food when it is homemade.

post contributed by Julia, a Butter Beans after school cooking class teacher