Welcome to week 8 of Kitchen Classroom 2021, where America’s Test Kitchen Kids is sharing a weekly kid-tested and kid-approved recipe, hands-on experiment, or activity paired with a “Learning Moment” that brings learning to life in the kitchen.
In this week’s Kitchen Classroom, transform your kitchen into a Kitchen STEAM Lab! Kids will discover how temperature affects yeast in The Inflatable Science of Yeast, a bubbly hands-on experiment. They’ll practice making predictions, carrying out a scientific investigation, and analyzing their results. Then, to observe yeast at work in bread dough, kids can bake a loaf of Almost No-Knead Bread or try their hand at a yeasty scavenger hunt with our Take It Further activities.
Don’t forget to share what your family makes by tagging @testkitchenkids or using #ATKkids on Instagram, or by sending photos to email@example.com. Visit the America’s Test Kitchen Kids website for more culinary content designed especially for kids, plus all of the Kitchen Classroom content in one easy-to-scan location.
Here’s what’s cooking for the week of February 22nd through 28th, 2021.
Kitchen STEAM Lab: The Inflatable Science of Yeast
Ever wondered where the holes in a loaf of bread come from? Or how a ball of dough rises as it sits on the counter? It’s the work of yeast! Kids will investigate how active yeast is at different temperatures in this bubbly experiment. Be sure to use instant or rapid-rise yeast; don’t substitute active dry yeast, as it won’t work here.
[GET THE ACTIVITY]
What You’ll Need
1½ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1½ teaspoons sugar
Science and Engineering Practices (Planning and Carrying Out Investigations):
Before starting the activity, ask kids: Have you heard of yeast before, or used it in a recipe? What do you know about what it is, or how it works? When kids have explained their prior knowledge, read the headnote section of the activity page together to learn more about what yeast is and the role it plays in baking. Then, get started with the experiment.
In step 7, after transferring the filled bags to the baking sheet and setting it aside, discuss the predictions kids have made: At which temperature do they think the yeast will be the most active (make the most carbon dioxide gas)? Why do they think so? Encourage kids to share the rationale behind their thinking. If working in a group, does everyone have the same prediction, or are there differences in people’s thinking?
At the end of the experiment, kids will likely discover that the room-temperature bag totally inflated, while the cold bag slightly inflated, and the hot bag didn’t inflate at all. As they check out their bubbly bags, have kids read the “Food for Thought” section at the bottom of the experiment page to find out how temperature affects yeast and carbon dioxide production.
Take It Further
Science and Engineering Practices (Engaging in Argument from Evidence):
Translate what kids learned in the yeast experiment into something the whole family can dig into—Almost No-Knead Bread! In this simple bread recipe, kids can observe yeast at work in a dough made from flour, salt, yeast, room-temperature water, and distilled white vinegar. Ask kids to be on the lookout for the work of yeast throughout the recipe: When can they see evidence of yeast creating carbon dioxide gas and causing the loaf to rise? (Answers: At the end of step 2, when the dough expands and forms bubbles in the bowl; at the end of step 5, when the dough ball doubles in size)
Your young chef can also embark on a yeasty scavenger hunt! Have them gather any store-bought breads or baked goods from the pantry. Then, ask them to look at the nutritional labels and note which products have yeast listed as an ingredient. Are there any products they thought would contain yeast, but didn’t? How about the other way around? What evidence of yeast can they see in the products that contain yeast? (Holes in bread? Bubbly textures in crackers?) Kids can also conduct some internet research to discover other foods that contain yeast, such as croissants, sticky buns, pita bread, and doughnuts.