Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bread Making - Four Subjects, One Lesson!

In history, we are studying Babylonia..."a rich land where there was no money". Thanks to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers creating rich soil, Babylonia was rich because many good food crops grew there. Historians believed that wheat was first grown there.

That was history.

Before we made the bread, we learned about yeast...what it is, what it's job is in bread dough, and how it works. We learned that yeast is a single-cell fungus that "comes to life" when it is put in warm water. We used a thermometer (that was math!) to be sure we had the perfect water temperature because if the water is too hot, the yeast will die. Like all living organisms, yeast needs food to survive. Yeast's food of choice is sugar. When the sugar is consumed, the yeast releases carbon dioxide bubbles, causing the bread to rise.

I wanted to give the children a visual of what, exactly, happens during the fermentation process. So before we started making the bread, we put some yeast, sugar and warm water in a bottle and placed a balloon over the top. As the yeast fermented and released carbon dioxide (which we learned is a gas), the balloon inflated. (My children made the observation that yeast, like people, burp and pass gas when they eat. What are you going to do?)

That was science.

And then it was time to make the bread. The children took turns sifting, measuring (math again!), mixing, kneading, punching and forming.

That was cooking class.

Thing 4 couldn't resist drawing in the flour.

I counted that as a bonus art class for her.

Finally, we had two beautiful, if imperfect, loaves of bread. One for us and one to share with friends.

Who needs a bread machine?


  1. I used to make bread all the time and share the 2nd loaf with a friend. Thank you for a gentle reminder of something that warms the heart and the tummy. You guys are doing great Mel; I enjoy reading about your adventures!



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