This recipe is based on Jamie Oliver's basic bread recipe and can be used for making loaves of bread as well as sculptures. I use this recipe because it is very forgiving so don't be afraid, feel free to experiment with different flavours and textures, adding herbs, seeds and nuts or even grated vegetables such as carrot or beetroot (for fun pink bread)!
1kg strong bread flour
625ml tepid water
3×7g sachets of dried yeast
2 tablespoon sugar
1level table spoon salt
1.Place all of the dry ingredients above into a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Now bring together the mixture with a spoon and when it has nearly come together tip it out onto a floured surface.
2. Now you can start kneading. Kids love this bit pushing, folding, slapping, poking, rolling, squidging. 4-5 minutes should be enough but the longer the better. It is done when the dough is silky and elastic.
Most recipes recommend leaving the dough to prove, rise, at this stage but we have found that when working with impatient children this is not essential and it is fine to launch straight into creating your sculptures. If you would like to prove it, place the dough in a large bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm moist place until it has doubled in size. When is it has risen knock it back into an elastic dough by bashing and squashing it.
3. It is now ready to be sculpted.
Great tools for sculpting include:
Scissors – perfect for snipping the spikes on a hedgehog or the petals of a flower
Garlic press – difficult to clean but worth it for the fun you can have sculpting fancy hair styles
Forks and spoons – great for creating different textures. Spoons make lovely fish scales
Remember when sticking bits of dough together to use water as glue. Dab a little water on each bit of dough using the tip of your finger then gently press them together. Seeds and raisins make great decorations.
4. Carefully place your sculptures on an oiled oven proof tray and leave to rise, 30 mins – 1 hr, until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180º. Place your tray into the oven and cook for 20-30 mins, depending on the size of your sculptures, until golden brown. If they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom, they're done.