Want to make a loaf of bread from scratch? Nowadays, it’s pretty easy. Just go the store to pick up some flour, and get some yeast in those teeny, easy to use packets!
But if you lived in colonial times, life wouldn’t have been this convenient. To make flour, for example, you would have needed to grow your own grains, harvest and grind them. And yeast, which came in dried blocks, was often hard to find and not always of good quality. That’s why colonial women turned to an ancient way to make bread rise: they made a yeast mixture called “sourdough,” which they could use again and again.
This Thanksgiving, engage your American History student with this sourdough baking project, which straddles social studies with science. This bread is pretty delicious, too, especially when it’s warm and covered with honey and butter.
What You Need:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup room temperature water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1-1/2 cups warm water (about 85°, young scientists, or you will kill the yeast!)
- 6-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (for a more “historical” mix, use some whole grain flour here)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, honey or molasses (to be faithful to history, go for the honey or molasses!)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- optional: 1 egg, 2 tablespoons butter