Baking Bread to Learn and Share

Elementary students learned to bake bread and made loaves for charity.
By: Todd Martin
With equal measures of math and science and a generous portion of community service mixed in, students in six Killeen ISD elementary schools learned about baking bread and then used their skills to assist service groups.
Baking presenter Pam Jensen of King Arthur Flour, a company that dates to 1790, visited the schools last week and left behind enough flour, recipe booklets and other supplies for every fourth- and fifth-grader to bake bread loaves to give away.
Cavazos Elementary School in Nolanville partnered with the First United Methodist Church in an effort that brought together a partnership of five churches in the small town.
School librarian Tasha Laboy, the coordinator of the effort at Cavazos, counted 120 loaves of bread and other baked items returned to school Monday for the churches to pick up.
“It was an opportunity for students to participate in an activity that involves math and science in a real-life project and included community engagement,” she said.
“Sometimes students think they can’t do anything to help, but there are always little things you can do.”
The coalition of churches in Nolanville will canvass neighborhoods, offering bread to those who want it, Patricia Warden of First Methodist Church explained. She and others from her church as well as volunteers from Faith Fellowship picked up the bread from the school.
The church members said they would go to mobile home parks and to the community food pantry to make sure the baked goods are consumed.
“What’s great about this is it’s churches and organizations working together with the school,” said Joel Lytle of Faith Fellowship.
During six presentations, Jensen directed students how to read a recipe from top to bottom and displayed the variety of measuring cups and spoons.
She held up a package of yeast and explained that the living single-cell organism makes bread rise.
“It’s alive,” she said, guiding students to understand that yeast needs food, water and warmth to do its job.
Working alongside two chosen students at each side, the baker guided fourth- and fifth-graders to mix and stir. They observed carbon dioxide forming bubbles and the dough thickening like a balloon.
Students learned about kneading the bread and how humidity levels affect the amount of flour required.
The King Arthur Flour representative visited Cavazos, Saegert, Reeces Creek, Douse, Timber Ridge and Fowler elementary schools.
“I love to see kids excited about baking,” Jensen said. “Parents tell us they love spending time baking with their children. They are successful and they’re trying new things.”
“We’re getting to help the community, especially those who don’t have a lot,” said Cavazos fifth-grader Kezara Gittens. “It makes me feel good.”
Several students said they enjoyed baking with family members and noticed the yeast didn’t smell good, but the rising bread did.
“Kids got to have quality time with family,” Laboy said. “I enjoyed hearing about the experiences they had with family.”