Early September the 25th, the San Saba County 4-H’ers filed into the San Saba Homemaking Building to begin 4-H Food Fun Day. As they signed in, the adult leaders prepped the learning stations and set up the day’s activities. The 4-H’ers would be learning how to make fresh pasta and homemade bread.
The first lesson the seventeen 4-H’ers began was baking their own homemade bread. The bread began with grinding of the grain to make flour. The importance of grinding your own whole-wheat kernels is to keep the nutritional vitamins and minerals that are normally removed during production process in store bought bread. The natural vitamins that are replaced with artificial ones in store bought bread are not as easily absorbed by the body as the ones in flour made at home, where the natural vitamins are not removed. After the dough was made the 4-H’ers were able to shape their loaves for baking. When the bread was placed in the oven, the 4-H’ers used a baking stone to provide an even amount of heat to the dough. Once the oven had completed reheating, and the dough had risen, the baking process began.
While the bread was baking the 4-H’ers started on their pasta project. The process began by placing two and a half cups of flour with two teaspoons of salt onto the table. The flour was shaped into a well where two cracked eggs were placed. Slowly the flour well was stirred into the eggs to create the pasta dough. Once the dough had been shaped into a ball, it was wrapped into Saran wrap to rest.
While the pasta dough was resting, the 4-H’ers worked on nutrition worksheets. Using the backs of various food packages, the nutritional value of each food was compared to others. From this information, the 4-H’ers determined which foods were okay to consume larger quantities of everyday and which were not.
As the pasta water began to boil, groups of 4-H’ers were assigned to make the meat sauce and salads. Once the water reached a boiling point, the pasta making began. The dough was rolled out using a pasta machine. A pasta machine is a hand-operated machine that flattens the dough gradually over six setting and then cut it into the desired pasta shape. Today the 4-H’ers made linguini. When all the dough is finished going through the pasta machine it is dropped into the boiling water to cook for five minutes.
Once all the pasta had been boiled, the bread finished baking, the meat sauce had been prepared, and the salad tossed the 4-H’ers feasted upon their Italian meal. A long day’s hard work had been paid off and it was time to reap the rewards. When everyone’s appetite had been satisfied, the kitchen was cleaned up and the 4-H’ers departed. The workday was a huge success and 4-H’ers are excited about competing in the San Saba County 4-H Food Show on Saturday, October 23rd.