Are your kids tired of regular play dough? Change things up with this homemade yeast dough kids can squish, pat, and sculpt to their heart's content. When they are all done playing, you can bake their creations in the oven to make a unique and delicious snack.
Start by making the basic yeast dough recipe:
1 package yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4-5 cups of flour, plus extra for dusting
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and stir. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve. Add the salt and sugar. Stir in four cups of flour and mix with an electric mixer or by hand until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Divide the dough into fist-sized pieces and show the kids how to knead their piece until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough sticks to the kids' hands, give them a little extra flour to dust their dough with.
When the dough is smooth and stretchy, it's time to sculpt. Encourage kids to shape their dough into simple figures, such as a favorite animal or the first letter of their name. Seasonal shapes, such as pumpkins or snowflakes, are always fun to do. You can also shape this dough into pretzel shapes. When the kids are done sculpting, transfer their creations to a greased or parchment-covered cookie sheet. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled. This will take about 45 minutes to one hour.
When the rising time is complete, brush the dough with a little beaten egg or melted butter. If you want salted bread, or if you've made pretzels, sprinkle a little coarse salt on the dough. Bake your dough sculptures in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until they are light golden brown. Cool the sculptures slightly before eating. These are best eaten warm, with a little butter and perhaps a drizzle of honey. We often make the sculptures in the morning and have them as a light lunch with cheese and fruit.