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Batter Up: Kids Learn to Bake at St. Louis Bread Co.

The bakery-café franchise offers a new program for kids at its Brentwood location and others in the St. Louis metro area.

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. While the Brentwood location won't be participating, several nearby locations are:

  • 2018 S. 7th Street (Soulard in St. Louis City)
  • 6607 Chippewa Street (Saint Louis Hills in St. Louis City)
  • 1008 Loughborough Ave. (St. Louis City)
  • 10312 Manchester Street (Greentree Center in Kirkwood)
  • 147 Westport Plaza (Maryland Heights)
  • 17132 Chesterfield Airport Road (Chesterfield)
  • 2375 N. Highway 67 (Florissant)
  • 5696 Telegraph Road (Oakville)
  • 1075 W. Gannon Drive (Festus)
  • 14560 Manchester Road (Winchester)
  • 880 Washington Corners (Washington, MO)
  • 2079 Zumbehl Road (Bogey Hills Plaza in St. Charles)
  • 6185 Mid Rivers Mall Drive (St. Peters)
  • 861 Robert Raymond Drive (Lake Saint Louis)
  • 5917 N. Illinois Street (Fairview Heights, IL)
  • 3120 Green Mount Crossing Road (Green Mount Crossing in O'Fallon, IL)

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. 

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