In last year’s End of Year Assessment (which I did not write about, but you can get a sense of it from the prior year’s) students asked for more curriculum surprises. One them related with obvious relish the tale of the (very random) occasion on which I placed my lunch of raw sugar snap peas on a table and said “help yourself”.  Working on these two pieces of feedback, food seemed like an obvious way to go.

More recently, during a start of lesson chat, I mentioned to my students that I hate most things about most schools (a common theme if you spend any time with me), but that I recently found a school that I love, and which ignited a real love of science and yeast:

This led to a discussion around brewing beer, making bread, the joys of yeast and getting your hands dirty…at the end of which the kids asked me to bake some bread for them. How could I say no?

So, this morning I got up at 4:30 to mix, knead and prove some dough, which I then baked into a large loaf. It was still warm when I met my students at 08:30…and it was all gone by 08:40. The kids seemed so happy with the simple pleasures of fresh, dense white bread and generously applied butter. Some even liked the Vegemite I stole from my wife. This led to an interesting insight that you don’t need lots of money to be happy: the simple things, made with love and shared with others can bring a lot of joy.

Here are a few photos of the process and the result.

As a starter recipe I’ve been using Jamie Oliver’s Basic Bread, which I’ve been tweaking to suit local conditions and tips from others. It is a joy to be learning something new each and every time I bake bread.