Cook With Books: The Little Red Hen

Let your child bake some bread after reading the tasty tale of the Little Red Hen!

There are many versions of The Little Red Hen, but all of them tell the same basic story: The Hen does all the work to make the bread while everyone else plays, but when it comes time to eat the bread, everyone is suddenly willing to help!  We mixed up some super simple bread and then read several different versions while it baked!


We read Byron Barton’s The Little Red Hen many, many times when my kids were babies and toddlers!  The illustrations are very simple and engaging.


This version by Paul Galdone has more detailed traditional illustrations.


Margot Zemach’s The Little Red Hen: An Old Story is another one with more traditional illustrations.


Yes, The Little Red Hen is a story usually enjoyed by younger children, but even your older kids will enjoy this version with the photo collage illustrations.  What a fun spin on an old story!

When I was in elementary school we got to spend a morning making bread!  (This was way back in the olden days when we didn’t get to do things like that very often!)  It was so fun and one of my favorite memories!  Because no one wants to give 100 third graders each their own bowl and ingredients, we made our bread in a bag.  Everyone got to make their own and the mess was kept to a minimum.  I’ve only got my own two kids now, but I certainly appreciate low mess activities!


Aside from the easy clean up from this recipe, I also like that it just uses ingredients I always have on hand!


Start by putting the whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt in the gallon bag and give it all a little shake to mix it up.


Add the oil, honey, and water.


Mix it all together!  Once it’s all mixed, add more whole wheat flour and white flour and mix it up some more.  (The more air you squeeze from the bag, the easier it will be to mix.)


If you want, you can knead it with your hands–we save this part until it was almost all mixed together and we kept it in the bag to keep the mess down.


Let the dough rise to about twice the size.


Punch the dough down.


Take it from the bag and put it in a greased bread pan.

20160111_144910Let it rise to double again.


Bake it at 350 degrees for about half an hour…


…and you’ll have a tasty treat!

Here’s the full recipe:


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 3/4 – 1 cup whole wheat flour


  1. In a gallon ziplock bag, put 1 cup of whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt and shake to mix.
  2. Open the bag and add vegetable oil, honey, and water.  Squeeze out the air before closing the bag and then squeeze the bag to mix all the ingredients.
  3. Open the bag and add the white flour and the rest of the whole wheat flour.  (Start with 3/4 cup of the whole wheat flour and add a little more at a time if the dough is sticky.)
  4. Knead the bread in the closed bag until all ingredients are combined well.
  5. Put the dough (still in the closed bag) in a warm place and let it rise until doubled.
  6. Punch the dough down and remove it from the bag.  Put the dough in a greased bread pan and cover with a clean towel and let it rise to double again.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.


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