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Rest and Rise

Sourdough boules resting on gas range topHave you gotten in on the sourdough movement? Some of our team have, and report delicious results! If you haven't baked your own bread yet, we've put together this post to answer some questions, and hopefully encourage you to try! Most recipes involve a two-day process, with a lot of "rest and rise" time. It's not hard to do, if you can be patient during the breaks. What better way to pass the time between dough folds than with a story? We're sharing some suggestions in this post, but you can also download the full library listing and sort by time.

Why is Everyone Baking Bread?

Baking bread incorporates a lot of life and academic skills that will make every teacher happy, including the homeschool ones, who get to enjoy the tasty rewards! You'll be practicing math (measuring, combining ingredients, weighing, timing, percentages), learning history (people have been baking sourdough bread since ancient times!), doing chemistry (bread rises by a fermentation process), enhancing your language arts (reading a recipe is a life skill!), plus so much more. Above all, it's a great partner process that adults can do truly alongside children, and everyone can enjoy. If you're wondering, not all sourdough bread has a strong sour flavor. Instead, sourdough starter is really just a name for wild yeast that replaces the currently hard to find dry yeast.

Before You Start

Bag of flour on kitchen floor with dog in background

Gather your materials. You'll probably have most things, and for the things you don't have, you can get creative, or ask to borrow before ordering online. Sourdough bread recipes abound on the internet, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs and available materials.

First, you need some sourdough starter. This is that jar of wet flour people have been posting. You can 

google how to make it yourself, which will take about a week. OR you can ask around! This is a good opportunity to practice soft skills; asking for something you need, remembering manners. We've heard people asking and receiving sourdough starter on Freecycle, BuyNothing groups, NextDoor, BuildingLink, and school/classroom chat groups. [Bonus lesson: if you receive starter from someone, write a thank you note to mail them and learn about letter writing etiquette, snail mail, and addressing envelopes!].

Getting Started

Remember, this is a two-day process, so you'll start before bedtime and bake the bread in the morning. This helps to minimize impatience on the longest wait time (the bulk ferment), while still allowing children to be involved in the entire process. 

Tools Needed Ingredients Needed
  • Kitchen scale for more precise measuring (or measuring cups and spoons)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Dutch oven (or oven safe container with a lid)
  • A fork
  • Kitchen towel
  • Bench scraper or large, stiff spatula
  • Sourdough starter
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Flour
If you're having a tough time finding flour, try asking your favorite local restaurants (pizzerias and bakeries might still be able to get bulk flour). If you can get bread flour, there are many more recipes calling for strong flour.


Pick Your Stories

Your dough is going to need three 30 minute rests, and two hour long rests. So you can choose separate stories for each rest period or you can choose a longer story and set a timer. 

30 Minute Stories

  • Baking bread feels like an old timey activity. Listen to one of the Mr. President! recordings to really get the feeling of history.
  • Not sure what to listen to or read next? The Book Club for Kids podcast episodes feature real kids talking about the books they've read!

Long Stories 1

  • The American Girl series are classic stories of girls throughout America's history. Each girl represents a different period of time. Each story is just about the right amount of time for your hour long rises.
  • The Book of Dragons series will transport you to a fantasy land that might get you hooked so you can listen to a story for each loaf of bread you bake!

Long Stories2

  • The Great Mouse Detective series will keep you curious and wondering. Each story is about an hour and a half long, so you'll get to listen to a few stories for one loaf of bread/
  • Ellie's story is one in the series, A Dog's Purpose. Each story highlights a particular pup's tale and is long enough to get you through all the rises of a single loaf.

Making a special loaf to celebrate Mom? Why not choose a story about a mother for your rest and rise times:Magnificent Moms

Get Baking

3 Sourdough boules resting on a tableThis schedule is re-posted from The Clever Carrot. There are many, many recipes and schedules out there, so if this schedule doesn't work for you, there's sure to be another one out there that will. The Perfect Loaf has a same-day bake schedule, and King Arthur Flour has become a go-to for all kinds of sourdough information.

Day one:

  • 7:00 PM: Make the dough/ Rest for 30 minutes
  • 8:30 PM: 1st Stretch & Fold (optional)
  • 9:30 PM: 2nd Stretch & Fold (optional)
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise overnight, on the kitchen counter, for 10-12 hrs @ 68 F, or in the fridge if your home is warmer

Day Two:

  • 7:00 AM (or earlier): Check the dough. Give it more time to rise, if needed.
  • 7:05-ish AM: Preshape
  • 7:30 AM: Shape
  • 7:35 AM: Second Rise/ Preheat Oven
  • 8:05-ish AM: Bake

Finally, let the bread rest on the counter for an hour after taking it out of the oven. During that time, you can listen to the end of your story, do a morning yoga practice, or prepare your fancy breakfast to go with your fancy bread!

We'd love to see your sourdough stories! Tag us so we can re-post you! @Tales2go on Twitter and Instagram.

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