This year’s “back-to-school” season offers a fresh batch of new experiences with Canyon Bakehouse! Educational cooking is a great way for parents and kids to make discoveries, have some snacks, and meet objectives for hands-on learning. Here, we’ll experiment with two scientific processes that occur while cooking. With essential knowledge of emulsification and coagulation, kids can be more intuitive in the kitchen and confidently explore during future culinary adventures. Who knows, you might be cooking alongside the next generation’s best gluten-free chef!
Lesson #1: Homemade Butter in a Jar
Learn about emulsification to make homemade butter
Have you noticed that oil and water won’t mix? The oil floats on top of the water because it has less density – it’s lighter than water. Even when shaken or whisked, the liquids always separate. But, if you add another ingredient called an emulsifier, it forces them together and creates a stable mixture. This method is useful when making dressings, sauces, and spreads.
In this lesson, we’ll learn to turn an emulsion of high-fat milk into butter by creating a secondary emulsion. The emulsifier will be a protein called casein, which is naturally present in milk. By shaking the milk in a jar, we’ll separate larger fat molecules from the buttermilk and, with help from the casein, force them to stay together as a solid. The resulting butter can then be incorporated with other sweet or savory ingredients to make a tasty spread for toast. Yum!
- 1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
- ¼ tsp. Sea Salt (optional)
- 1 Pint Jar
- 6 Small Glass Marbles
- 1 Loaf Canyon Bakehouse 7 Grain Bread, toasted
- Freeze-dried Raspberries (cinnamon)
- 1 C. butter, 2/3 C. chopped FDR, or ½ C. fresh raspberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Freeze-dried Blueberries (lemon zest)
- 1 C. butter, 2/3 C. chopped FDB, or ½ C. fresh blueberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar
- Sundried Tomato (basil)
- 1 C. butter, 3 TBSP. Finely chopped SDT, 2 Tbsp. chopped basil, ½ tsp. fine sea salt
Follow these instructions below with help from a parent:
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into a pint-sized jar along with the sea salt (if using) and glass marbles.
- Secure the lid and, with intervals, shake the jar vertically with force, so the liquid and marbles can be felt as they hit the inside of the lid.
- Shake for 3:30 until whipped cream forms. The milk should be foamy with “stiff peaks.” Shake for 6:00 more until the buttermilk begins to separate from the larger fat molecules (this will be the butter). Shake for 1:10 more until the separation is complete.
- Place a strainer over a bowl. Pour the liquid and solid contents of the jar into the strainer, allowing the buttermilk to collect in the bowl. Save the buttermilk for use in future recipes.
- Press the butter with clean hands to form a ball. Rinse briefly and gently in cold water to cleanse the butter and remove any remaining buttermilk.
- While the butter is at room temperature, place it in a bowl and add mix-ins as desired.
- Form the butter mixture into a log and wrap it in parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to 1-3 months or freeze for up to 1 year.
Lesson #2: Poached Eggs on Toast with Bacon and Cheddar
Learn about coagulation with kids – poach eggs, then serve them over melted cheddar and thick-sliced bacon.
No matter how you like your eggs, you’ve probably seen them transformed from a liquid to a solid when cooked. This process is called coagulation. While still a liquid inside its shell, an egg is made up of tiny pieces called molecules stuck together. Once the shell is broken and heat is applied, the molecules get moving, and their connections break. The water around them releases, and they come back together in a delicious new way.
In this lesson, we’ll learn to cook eggs in boiling water. This method is called poaching. It’s often used to cook the surrounding egg whites until solid, even as the yolk in the center stays liquid. A poached egg is like a package with a surprise inside!
- 4 English Muffins, toasted
- 4 Slices Sharp Cheddar
- 8 Slices Thick Bacon, cooked crisp
- 4 Poached Eggs (see below)
- Paprika, for garnish (optional)
- 6 C. Water
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Tbsp. Distilled White Vinegar
- 1 tsp Salt
Follow these instructions below with Mom’s help:
- Bring the water to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Add the vinegar and salt.
- Working with one egg at a time, crack the eggs into a strainer over the sink or a bowl and allow the watery liquid around the white to drain off. This should only take a few seconds – be sure not to drain the white. Keep the white and the yolk of the egg intact.
- Drop each egg into the boiling water mixture, keeping space between. Cook them until the whites are set, 2-3 minutes.
- As they finish cooking, carefully lift the eggs from the saucepan and place them to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Place a slice of cheddar on the bottom half of each English muffin. If desired, place them under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt.
- Assemble the cheesy toast with crispy bacon and a poached egg.
- Garnish with paprika if using.
You might have expected the eggs to explode when they hit the hot water, or at least swirl around. Did you notice that the eggs stayed together? That’s because the vinegar you added helped the eggs cook in place. Vinegar increases the acid in the water, allowing the loose whites to coagulate faster before they have time to break apart. Meanwhile, the denser yolks stay liquid.
Now that you know how coagulation works when making poached eggs enjoy them on toasted English muffins with melted cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. There’s no need to question this combination of ingredients. The proof is in your sandwich!
Still hungry for knowledge? Download our Free Back-to-School guide!
Our colorful gluten-free guide, “Rise and Shine” has everything you need, including more delicious recipes, food-focused activities, and pro tips from gluten-free bloggers who know a thing or two about cooking with kids. Grab an apron and download your copy today!