If you have a budding baker or two at your house itching to learn more about breads and pastries, now they have a chance.
In April, started a new program designed for foodie children.
Involving 16 café locations in the area, the B.I.T. (Bakers In Training) Kids program brings children ages 5 to 12 behind the scenes, showing them how a bakery works and even letting them participate in kitchen activities.
Cooking up connections
Local marketing manager Kelli Nicholson said the idea behind the B.I.T. Kids classes is "to share our story and also build a deeper connection with our customers."
Nicholson described the program as a fun and family-friendly opportunity to teach "even our littlest bakers" the benefits of fresh ingredients.
Bakery-café managers teach the classes. During a typical class, Nicholson said, young bakers receive a baking hat, apron and coloring pages. They also get to score the dough of a mini French baguette, which the professionals at the café then bake. The kids tour the bakery-café, where they learn important information about safety and sanitation and see employees in action.
They also learn the importance of helping others, Nicholson said, as managers share information about the company's donations of leftover bakery items to nonprofit organizations.
Lessons to go
At the end of the class, students get to bring home their bread, hats and aprons, along with a recipe card to to use at home. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in the class, though it is mainly geared for the little ones.
"We have a lot of parents who ask questions during the class, and actually end up learning a lot as well," Nicholson said.
The classes require a minimum of 10 children to a group, ideal for scout groups, home school groups or just a gaggle of friends. The cost is $5 a child, making it, said Nicholson, "a great low-cost summer activity for kids and parents."
Classes will be offered year-round, with upcoming seasonal twists such as Halloween and Christmas cookie decorating. Call or visit the Panera Bread website to make a group reservation.