Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Play dough

Today we made play dough again. We have the best recipe in the world to make play dough :-) This dough is softer and better and nicer than the stuff you buy in the shop. My kids started out with the shop bought stuff, but then we ended up on a bit of a tough spot and needed to cut back on expenses, so I went on a search on the internet to look for play dough recipes. I found several that were non cooking and several that were cooking. I tried a couple and found that many do not turn out too well. So then I took the one that came out the best and played a bit with the recipe and then we ended up with the best dough ever. My kids, big and small, love it. Honestly, I do!

Here are the results of our efforts of today:

The picture on the right is the set that my oldest made for the fun of it as she loves cooking and kneading dough and such. She frequently uses play dough to train making flowers and such for cake decorating as she can use it over and over again.

The picture on the left is of my 3rd child, she loves play dough and kneading was not too bad, picking the colours were for her the best. 

The picture below on the left is the set my youngest made. She just loved making adding the colours and essential oils. She loves playing with play dough. It is her favourite game.

These picture are all of a little ball or pancakes stacked up. The amounts that we made were huge. One batch of the below recipe give you 1,5 kilograms of play dough. We usually divide it in 4 to 8 balls per batch and then add food colouring. I have a huge preference for Sugar Flair food colouring as it is a gel and not fluid so it will stay much better in the dough and it much more friendly for little hands to knead it in. Furthermore the colours are very bright and strong, you only need a little bit of colour. I usually just dip the back of a fork in the food colouring pot and add that to the dough ball and with that you get the colours you see above. 

I'm sure that by now you must be thinking, give me the recipe already, woman! Here it comes:

Origin: my kitchen :-)

Difficulty: easy peasy
Time: about half an hour for a batch
Serves: adults and kids alike :-)
Yield: 4 to 8 pieces 

* scale to measure ingredients, I find a scale much more accurate, so I get more consistent results
* measuring cups and spoons, if you prefer using those
* pan
* hob
* silicon mat, if possible

* 55 grams / 5 TBS oil. I used sunflower oil as it doesn't have a strong scent at all. But any other will do.
 * 625 ml / 625 grams / 2 1/5 cups water
* 380 grams / 1 1/4 cups salt, any white salt will do, it is to preserve
* 15 grams / 1 1,5 TBS cream of tartar
* 420 grams / 2 1/2 cups flour, any flour will do, as long as it is not strong flour
* food colour, I used sugar flair, because it is a gel and very strong colours
* essential oils, we used lavender for all this time, usually we use rose for red colours and others, today I was lazy, I had a blog post to write :-)

* Add the ingredients in order mentioned above, but leave out the food colouring and essential oils. Those come in at the end when the dough is done.
* It starts out as a wet lumpy batter that looks like it is never going to work out well. No worries about the lumps. They cook out of it in the end. Don't ask me why, it just works. Below you can see it in the pictures how it went for us today. So no worries, you can see the end results above, they look and feel very, very good. 
* Put your pan on the hob when it is still cold. Do not let your pan heat up first. This is a great thing for cooking food, not for cooking play dough. So pan cold, hob cold, ingredients in pan, stir well, turn on the hob. Do it on your lowest setting. I have a ceramic hob and put it on 1, that's it. It will make it take time, but prevent burning and prevent overcooking. The water will cook out and it will become a lovely dough. It just needs it's time to get ready. 
* Stir regularly. At some point this becomes really hard, but keep at it. 
* You will see that the dough starts sticking together and comes of the sides of the pan and with your spoon you can almost lift it out of your pan. It is really weird how all of a sudden it goes from a batter to a dough. To check for readiness you take a bit of it and then it isn't goo, it's ready. Keep at it until then. When you have made it a few times you will easily spot the point where it is ready.
* Tip out of your pan onto a silicon mat to prevent food colouring going everywhere. This will go easy when it is ready, when it doesn't come out easily, it isn't ready yet, you can then cook it a minute or so more, it will be done soon. There will be lumps of dough that will stick to the sides of the pan, no worries, it's fine.
* So now you have it on your silicon mat and you can start kneading it. It is nice and warm, not hot, just nice and once you have a totally smooth dough you can divide it into several balls, we sometimes do 4, sometimes 8, and knead in your food colouring and essential oils to reach your desired strength in colour. Remember you can always add, but not take away.

You can keep it in double zip bags, we use Ikea bags for this purpose and it will keep for months. Once it starts to dry out, just chuck it and make new.

 To the right you see the batter just before cooking. See how lumpy and awful it looks? 

To the left you see the dough just before it is ready to tip out of the pan. Completely different consistency and nicely sticking together.
To the left you see the dough on my silicon mat, just before kneading it.

To the right it is just after kneading, it feels so smooth and lovely!

And below you see the division in 4 balls that we do most frequently. If you'd like you could even add colour, or no colour for that matter, to the big ball and just make one big lump. It is lovely to play with. My kids love a variety of colour, so we always do that. At times the whole lot in the end ends up brown as too much has gotten mixed, no big deal, they don't like it any more and I just chuck it onto the compost heap and we make new. At the top you will see the results of today's event :-)

To the left and to the right you can see the things DD3 has made with the play dough today. 

To the left you can see the rose that DD1 made today. She is practising a cake decorating technique that she learned from YouTube. She can practise lots and lots with playdough.

And to the right you see the rose DD3 made after she saw what DD1 did. She just wanted to give it go as well, it turned out very nice!

I hope you will enjoy this recipe. We certainly do.

Please do leave a comment or ask a question if you have one. I'd love to hear from you and will do my best to answer questions you have.