As part of our Maker Space Tool Thursday activities, and inspired by the amazing infographic created by Astrid Poot (below), we’ve designed activities that use nearly all of their recommended tools (with a few of our favorites added in for good measure). Each week, visitors can engage in a brand new activity focused on a new set of tools, and then sign their name on our giant tool board, earn an awesome sticker, and showcase what they’ve learned.

Infographic by Astrid Poot.

This week, the tool we’ve been focusing on is the incredible, edible, microorganism, yeast! And what better way to explore the incredible capabilities of yeast than making delicious bread dough. This simple recipe only requires four ingredients and can be easily done at home.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour.
  • 2⁄3 cup warm water.
  • 1 teaspoon dry, quick rise yeast.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.

Start by mixing all of your dry ingredients (flour, yeast, salt) in a large bowl. Next, add the warm water and stir the entire mixture together. Your dough will look a bit like a lumpy ball at first but don’t worry, it will smooth out as we continue to work with it.

Next, we’re going to use a process called kneading to further mix our dough and help give our bread some texture. To start kneading, sprinkle a bit of flour on a clean countertop or table, and some on your hands. This will help keep the dough from sticking to you or your work surface. Continue by taking your dough ball out of the bowl and placing it on your floured surface. To knead your dough, you will want to think about pushing the dough ball down and forward into the table, folding it in half, rotating it a quarter turn, then repeating. You will want to do this over and over again until your dough ball becomes smooth on the outside.

Adding a bit of food dye to the dough creates an awesome, individualized loaf.

Before you bake the dough, you are going to want to let the yeast work its magic and allow your bread to “proof” or rise. Put a little bit of vegetable oil in your original mixing bowl (just enough to keep your dough from sticking to the sides)

 

How does this all work though?

Yeast, though it generally comes dried in a packet, is actually a microscopic fungus that eats sugar. Yeast can be found in the air all around us and many types of bread, particular sourdoughs, are made using this naturally occurring yeast. This is what gives the bread its unique sour taste. When you mix yeast, flour, and water, the yeast begins Maker Space Making Breadeating up all the sugars in the flour and creating carbon dioxide gas bubbles and alcohol. As you knead the bread, you create long strands of flexible protein molecules that help give the bread structure and trap the carbon dioxide gas created by the hungry yeast. As the carbon dioxide builds up, the bubbles begin to lift the dough up, causing it to rise!

Breadmaking Instructions (English/Spanish)

Make sure to share pictures of your bread making process, and any delicious loaves you bake with us on social media by tagging @nysci.

Join us for our Tool Thursday activities every Thursday from 2 – 5 pm. Each week we explore a brand new set of tools and we hope to see you there!