Simple bread recipe for kids?
June 29, 2009 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have a good recipe for a safe, tasty, and digestible "first bread" for an infant?

I love making breads, and look forward to the day when my little boy can really start mowing down on a lot of tasty treats. However right now, he's a seven month old still working on getting those teeth to erupt. He's working through the solid food list, and is getting more and more curious about semi-solid foods that he can play with while eating. The soft inside of a fresh loaf of bread seems like a good option (small pieces that aren't a choking hazard, obviously)

Has anyone made bread for little kiddos, and could you share a recipe? Is a good plain white loaf acceptable, and at what age did you start giving things like whole wheat flour? Are there things we should be concerned with, or reasons to wait? We're not in any huge rush, but it would be fun to help him explore new treats.
posted by swrittenb to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When I was little, my mom made the bread we ate. It was a regular mostly-whole-wheat-with-some-white-flour kind of bread. I'm pretty sure I started eating this when I starting eating solid food, more or less, and I ate it for most of my childhood. It wasn't a special-for-kids bread or anything like that. Just bread. By the time I was old enough to stand on a chair at the counter, my mom would give me a little chunk of dough and I would knead and shape my own, kid-size loaf, which was pretty great.

Beyond the choking hazard of a big hunk of bread, I can't think what else there might be to be concerned about. Bread is a standard food in a huge portion of the world's population.
posted by rtha at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2009

Sorry I have no recipe as I'm not a DIY bread person, but we never gave our baby white bread and I don't see any reason why you should avoid whole wheat. We just gave our son the same 100% whole wheat bread that we eat. It was actually much later than one year that he ate regular bread - he just wasn't into it. But he loved toast around a year old.

For semi-solid foods that he can play with, I highly recommend mashed potatoes, rolled into tiny balls.
posted by peep at 11:53 AM on June 29, 2009

Response by poster: One of the breads that I make fairly frequently is a honey whole-wheat, which I'm assuming is out because of the honey content. Even cooked honey can be a problem, right? Are there ingredients that I should be watching out for in that sense? Salty breads can't be ideal as well? I'm going with the paranoid dad strategy on this one. :)
posted by swrittenb at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2009

Best answer: Wheat's a common allergen, so if your kid has a good chance of food allergies you might want to wait a bit. And yup, even cooked honey should be avoided until he's a year old.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:06 PM on June 29, 2009

My baby loved pita bread at that age. (Especially with hummus!) You can make it out of any flour you'd like. Many doctors recommend waiting on eggs until after 12 months, and pita doesn't typically call for eggs, so that's why I gave it to my baby.

Pancakes are also good with baby. Here is a great vegan pancake recipe.
You can use formula or breastmilk in place of the soymilk.

I wasn't as worried about the wheat thing as the egg so I didn't wait to introduce it. Just keep an eye on your baby.

Have fun!
posted by FergieBelle at 12:12 PM on June 29, 2009

In a quick two minute search I found a bunch of recipes for teething biscuits and zieback breads, but a lot of them have tons of sugar. Check out homemade baby food books.

Back in the dark ages, the seventies, when I had young children I just gave them whatever whole grain bread I ate. None of them ever developed allergies and all are healthy.
posted by mareli at 12:25 PM on June 29, 2009

Little llama started with pizza crusts and bagels around five, six months...nothing too crunchy, because it would break apart and she hadn't yet realized that food comes in non-liquid form, but she'd work on it with her gums and it would gradually get soft enough to swallow little pieces. We would give her big hunks of it, not little pieces. I would pick a bread with a sturdy, chewy crust that you like and make that (baby's not going to eat all of it, so you'll be eating the rest.) Also, something that is less on the crumb-y side, more for your sake, unless you have a helpful dog to clean up afterward.

FWIW, we didn't concern ourselves at all with allergens.

She also liked a nice frozen apple core, nice on the teeth, I guess.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:29 PM on June 29, 2009

recipe: water, oil, wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar (or other yeast fuel) - I like raw sugar.

I'd give my daughter as early as 5 months the crust to gum. It was tasty and soothing for her erupting teeth.

Your child has the same digestive capability as you do (at least that's what my daughter's pediatrician said). I'd avoid processed and bleached ingredients as much as possible.
posted by valentinepig at 12:53 PM on June 29, 2009

Best answer: My children's first bread has been this. Flour, water, yeast, salt. They love it. I'd actually give an 8-month-old a big piece of crust to gnaw on, like TerribleLlama suggested, and watch to make sure no big chunks detached. Or you could give little pieces of the soft insides to suck and swallow.

Yum, bread. But don't worry if your baby has little interest in solid foods for a while; mine haven't cared until almost a year. (I think breastfed babies might be especially uninterested, based on admittedly anecdotal observation.)
posted by palliser at 1:53 PM on June 29, 2009

Seconding the crust-y thoughts. You might think about making some crackers, actually; at this stage the baby may be more interested in grappling and gumming food than consuming it. Have fun!
posted by lakeroon at 2:47 PM on June 29, 2009

Lean toward whole grain flour, skip honey (I have heard conflicting information about whether cooked honey is safe for infants or not, might as well skip it just in case) in favor of raw sugar or agave syrup if you use a recipe that calls for sweetener. Go easy on anything that is a common allergen (yes, wheat itself is, but bread is usually how that gets introduced anyway--I'm talking about add-ins like nuts and seeds).

Otherwise, no real need to overthink it.

As noted above, the crust or heel of a baguette is God's Own Teething Ring. Also what our family calls "pizza bones"--the hard outer crust.
posted by padraigin at 4:52 PM on June 29, 2009

According to Nina Planck's book Real Food for Mother and Baby:
Grains are lousy sources of protein, iron, and zinc. They're difficult to digest, especially when they're not properly prepared. Gluten, the protein in wheat, is notably challenging to digest. The big starch-digesting enzymes don't kick in for one or two years. Until then, your baby depends on the amylase in your milk.
So maybe go for it, but I don't know how much nutritional value your son will be getting out of it just yet.

FWIW, my very favorite plain white bread recipe comes from my grandma's Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.
posted by alynnk at 9:14 AM on June 30, 2009

Response by poster: Great answers, and I laughed out loud at "pizza bones." :)

I've started making a very simple bread from 1/2 tsp yeast, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tbsp sugar, about 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and enough flour to form a slightly sticky ball (just under a cup and a half). Divide that into eight pieces, and form into breadsticks that are thick enough to prevent some young hooligan from shoving directly down their throat. They go in the oven on tin foil with some sunflower oil lining the bottom at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and last for only a few days since there's no fats in the bread itself. He loves to gnaw on the sticks, and we're finding them helpful now that his teeth are starting to erupt. Yikes!

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by swrittenb at 4:03 PM on July 6, 2009

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