The Science of Bread

, ,
I remember when I was in school often thinking things like, "Why do I need to know this?" or "When am I ever going to use this?" and being really annoyed at things I was made to learn that seemed to have no practical application whatsoever. I enjoyed most everything I learned, including science (the no math parts of it) but I hated math with a passion. Up until this last year even, I felt like I was literally incapable of learning mathematics above a 6th grade level. I knew that my kids could learn math using some fantastic online resources and from their dad, so I wasn't concerned about that as far as homeschooling went, but as we've gone through the year I've realized that if they can succeed at mathematics, maybe I can too? It still does not come easily for me but I'm trying. I signed myself up for Khan Academy and am very slowly starting to grasp basic concepts that I never fully understood.

I've tried hard not to pass on my hatred of math to my kids and I've hoped to encourage better attitudes in them towards the subject by showing them how often math is used every day and that it is used in creating so many things that they love to do (toys, video games, movies, etc.).

The same goes with science. I want them to understand the science behind some of the things we do to help make science more relatable. Since I think basic life skills are very important as well I've been trying to teach them the math and science involved in those things, whether it be building a box, proper hygiene habits or baking a loaf of bread. I don't just want to show them how to make bread or tell them only that we knead bread. I want them to know why we knead bread. So today I supervised them in making a basic loaf of white bread. Didn't they do a great job?

We followed this simple recipe and while the bread was on its first rise we watched the following videos:

The kids were wishing we could inflate our own blobs of gluten. I wonder if a bike pump would work?

Another great resource for the science of making bread is a book by Emily Beuhler. Please note that while I am not an amazon affiliate, the link below will take you to the Amazon Marketplace listing, where you can preview the book.

Bread Science: The Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread

Here is a simple experiment you can do to show the kids how yeast works in bread:

Yeast Experiment