The kitchen is the absolute best place for hands-on homeschooling. So many lessons take place in the kitchen: math, chemistry, confidence and experimentation, following a process—not to mention those heart-to-heart talks that food and a warm oven inspire.
Because we live the “food allergy lifestyle,” the kitchen is an even more natural place for our homeschool. I’m always there.
Over the last few years, we have seen huge improvements both physically and mentally through diet changes and keeping a food journal, including significant improvement with ADHD and emotional/sensory issues. It’s been a long journey, and each family member (including my husband and myself) has slightly different needs, which creates quite a long list of eliminations for me. In addition to avoiding all artificial (petroleum-based) dyes and preservatives, we are also gluten, dairy, corn, and largely egg-free. That means I cook—ALL THE TIME. My allergy-friendly kitchen is constantly whirring. But I don’t do it all by myself. That’s nearly impossible. Instead, I’ve recruited some helpers to share the load. I’m teaching my oldest to make bake: bread, rolls, muffins, hamburger/hot dog buns, etc. That’s right. I’ve got a gluten/dairy/corn/egg-free allergy-friendly bread machine recipe that is simple enough my fifth grader can make it.
I’m not a gourmet chef, by a long shot. I’m an allergy-mom who’s just trying to keep food on the table. Much of this has been trial and error for me. The kids have watched me try, and they have graciously eaten my failures. I’d like to think that’s given them the courage to try cooking and baking without the pressure of everything turning out perfectly. (And if you are just starting on this path, keep your chin up. You’ll find your groove again. You’ll get comfortable with baking and cooking flops. And eventually, you’ll find something that works, too. There will be a new normal.)
I’ve loved sharing this recipe with my son and teaching him what I’ve been learning, the chemistry of baking and the logic behind substitutions. “What does the egg do in this recipe? What substitute will do that for us?” “Follow the recipe, sort of, but always keep an eye on your texture; that’s most important.” It’s been a great help and a fun bonding time. I think this summer, I may promote him to part-time cook.
Allergy-Friendly Bread Machine Recipe
- 3 cups gluten-free flour with xanthum gum included (I use Namaste, not totally corn-free, but it’s worked for us.)
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 package of Red Star active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt (I use sea salt.)
- 4 tsp. baking powder (I use Hains baking powder.)
- 2 tsp. lemon juice (Apple cider vinegar works, too, if you have a safe-for-you vinegar.)
- 3 tsp. arrowroot powder, mixed in about 1/4 cup of water (just enough to dissolve the powder)
- 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups warm water
Mix flour, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the salt and baking powder, then pour the lemon juice over the baking powder. Next, pour the arrowroot mixture over the baking powder. There should be a fair amount of bubbling and fizzing. Add the melted oil.
Mix the ingredients well. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Slowly add the warm water, mixing thoroughly before adding more. The amount of liquid needed will often vary. Mixture should be sticky and no longer dry, but be careful not to get the dough too wet or it will sink in the middle after it’s done baking.
Place mixture into the bread machine and follow bread machine settings for gluten free bread. Often this will mean a shorter rise time (My bread machine setting is 1 hr. 55 min. rapid rise setting).
*Some bread machines have a yeast dispenser, but I’ve personally never had success with that feature. I’ve also never had success with dumping ingredients in and letting my bread machine do the work; I’m assuming it’s all those substitute ingredients for an allergy friendly dough.*
**Disclaimer: As always, be sure to use safe-for-you ingredients to be sure that any recipe is truly safe for your allergies. **