Turns out asking your grandma how to make bread actually pays off. We were assigned this project in our honors biology class, and we immediately started to research. The project was to make bread, and to find out what ingredient makes the fluffiest, most risen bread.
You may think, how does this creative and hands on activity relate back to a high school biology class. Well if you keep reading you will soon find out.
Reflection On Day One:
Ours turned out to be one of the fastest growing ball of bread. We talked to the group with the second largest ball of bread, group , to find out their procedures. Our recipe was different from theirs in the way that they didn’t even add olive oil. Also they used ½ cup of flour while we only used a ¼ two times. I think the reason our bread was bigger than everyone else's, was that we used olive oil, and salt. I saw almost no other groups using olive oil.
So we had to follow our teachers basic ingredients, probably so no one made anything too disgusting. The basic ingredients were flour, sugar, yeast, and warm water. We did as we were told, but we were given the chance to add our own ingredients. We researched and found out that salt would add strength to our bread, and it would help our bread hold onto the carbon dioxide made when fermentation occurred.The more carbon dioxide meant the bigger the bread would get, so we new salt was a must. We also chose to use olive oil to add depth and flavor, it would also not let it dry out as fast, giving it the texture we were looking for.
Although our ball of bread was one of the largest in the class, it still had room for improvement. Our teacher gave us some advice in that our sugar ratio was a little off. This being our first day, there was room for error, but the next day we would have to step it up another notch. Having a correct sugar ratio could potentially mean even more risen bread. The bread yeast breaks down the starches and sugars, and a product of this breakdown would be carbon dioxide. Which is a gas that helps the bread rise.
Results Of Day One
0 Minutes: Small, round, doughy
5 Minutes: Darkening, somewhat larger
10 Minutes: Golden on edges, rising more, bigger
15 Minutes: Grew a lot more (largest as of now), darker
20 Minutes: Grew even larger
25 Minutes: Cracking/breaking apart at the top, much larger and widening out
30 Minutes: Risen very high, crisp on the top, air bubbles
Reflection Day Two:
Going into day two we wanted to do everything we did the following day, because the results were so good. The only thing we did differently today was add more sugar, by a whole teaspoon more. We did this to try and balance the sugar ratio, because more sugar means more risen bread. At the start of the heating process the bread didn’t seem to be rising as much as it did the previous day. But with time it seems to have expanded more.
Results Of Day Two
0 Minutes: Small, round, doughy
5 Minutes: Not much of a difference
10 Minutes: Golden on the edges, rising more and bigger
15 Minutes: Big difference, bread rose almost twice as much
20 Minutes: Larger than any bread at this point, grew a lot
25 Minutes: Even larger and crisping at the top
30 Minutes: Wouldn’t even fit in the pan
-pinch of salt
-¼ cup of flour (twice)
-¼ teaspoon of yeast
-4 tablespoons of warm water (120 degree F)
-dash of olive oil
-½ teaspoon of sugar (day two we did 1 ½ teaspoons)
Day One Steps:
-Step one get yourself a ziploc bag or bowl for
mixing all of your ingredients
-Step two add all dry ingredients. This was the simple, just make sure you don’t get confused between teaspoon and tablespoon, because that will play a major role in the product.
-Step three warm 4 tablespoons of water to 120 degrees, we put it in for 45 seconds in the microwave. The monkey cup is optional but does give it that extra umph, you know what I mean? We shortly found out that this was too long after checking the temperature, so we poured out some of the hot water and added a couple splashes of cold water, to bring the temperature down. You need to make sure your water is not hot, or above 120-130, because it can kill your yeast, and result with terrible bread. At this point we then added the dash of oil, we ended up adding more oil than we initially thought we would. We thought the mixture looked too dry, and we wanted a nice consistency.
-Step four mix until it looks like everything is combined enough, at this point in the process we were afraid we didn’t add enough water. But we just let it sit, and it turned out great. I would not recommend adding more water.
-Step five let sit for 10 minutes
-Step six, after letting your dough sit for 10 minutes you are going to add another ¼ cup of flour. Than you will mix this all together, but make sure not to over mix.
-Step six knead dough for 1 minute, we found if you cover your hands and the cooking area with a little flour, the dough will not stick to your hands as much, which will make this process easier in general.
-Step seven shape it into a ball and put under a lamp, and we checked every five minutes to see how much it rises under the heat. We also put our in the very center of the lamps, this may have helped ours get the most heat. Ours did turn out to be the biggest one at the end, I mean what can I say, we are just good like that.
Why is this happening?
So you may ask, How/why did the bread expand and what's the science behind it? And i have the answer. So the bread used aerobic respiration, more specifically alcohol fermentation. This means that the bread used cellular respiration rather than photosynthesis. This happened as a result of the bread taking in oxygen and sugar being added to the mixture (in this case glucose). The dough then produced carbon dioxide which made the dough rise and water was also produced.
Photosynthesis also played a role in this process. The flour comes from the plant, wheat, which had to go through photosynthesis. Wheat is then grounded up to make flour, and flour was a key ingredient in our recipe. The formula for Cellular Respiration is this, 6O2+C6H12O6=6H2O+6CO2+ATP.
Cellular respiration takes place in the mitochondria of the cell, and it is very important in the making of bread.
Making bread also affects the carbon cycle, because the sugar activates the yeast and the yeast produces carbon dioxide.
The Final Product
I guess it’s a good sign if your bread can’t even fit in the muffin tin with everyone else's bread.. Our bread turned out great, it grew more horizontal than vertical. We did tie for first place, so our recipe and plan worked out just as we planned it to. I wish it could have expanded up more, but looking at bread it usually grows both ways. When we got our bread back it was exploding out of the little muffin tin, and everyone else’s bread wasn’t. All of our group was in the room when the bread got out of the oven so we were able to test it while it was still hot. We noticed that it was golden brownish on the outside. It was cupcake like because it was so fluffy, also partly because it was cooked in a cupcake wrapper. It was a lot sweeter than we thought it would be, and it had a lot of little air bubbles inside of it, from the carbon dioxide.