The Fungus Among Us
Bread is the “staple of life.” Most breads are made with yeast, which is a sturdy fungus that interacts with the grain and sugar to create carbon dioxide, which causes the bread dough to rise. The student can follow the process from the most basic process of causing dried yeast to come to life in a bowl of water, or see it through to edible bread.
Watch apparently dead “sand” come to life. Yeast causes flour to become the bread most of us know. In the simplest step, dry yeast is given water and sugar. It quickly shows that it is alive by foaming. Later, it feeds on the flour and causes the bread dough to rise.
- Packet of active yeast
- Cup of warm water
- Tablespoon of sugar to feed the yeast
- Pinch of ground ginger (optional)
- Medium cereal bowl
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Large mixing bowl
- Spoon (wooden preferred)
- Cloth towel (dampened)
- Cookie sheet
- Oil to coat lightly
- Small amount of flour for the kneading surface
- Gather the materials.
- Put a cup of warm water into a medium cereal bowl.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 packet of active yeast.
- Observe how the yeast comes to life and begins to foam.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients given above.
- Stir to blend.
- Add yeast water.
- Stir to blend.
- Add additional flour and mix until the dough is consistent and not sticky.
- Put on a lightly floured surface.
- Knead to make thoroughly consistent and smooth.
- Place in a lightly oiled large bowl.
- Cover with a dampened towel and set in a warm place.
- Observe how the dough more than doubles in size after 1-3 hours.
- “Punch down” (deflate) the dough.
- Place on a lightly floured surface.
- Knead to make thoroughly consistently.
- Lightly oil cookie sheet.
- Roll pieces of the dough into 3-4 inch balls and place evenly on the cookie sheet.
- Cover with dampened towel.
- Observe how the rolls double in size after 1-3 hours.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cookie sheet into oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow to cool.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.