Monday, November 2, 2009

Science in the Kitchen - Bread Part 2 (Gluten)

Gluten. Not just a new allergy.

I've learned a lot about gluten during our Science in the Kitchen series. Let's hope Liam has also picked up a tidbit or two. So here's the low down.

Flours that are high in protein will produce more gluten in your dough. There are basically 2 proteins in dough, whose names I cannot remember, that combine during the kneading process to create strands of gluten. Think of gluten like a balloon. The gluten will hold the gas needed to make a dough rise. Therefore, you should use a flour high in protein for yeast breads. Flours low in protein are best for pastries and cookies.

For our experiment, we took four different kinds of flour; all purpose, whole wheat, pastry and semolina. We created 4 separate "doughs" by mixing the flour with water. After letting it sit for 15-20 minutes, we took each dough ball and ran them under water. We did this until most of the starch was washed away and we were left with only the gluten strands.

After looking at only the gluten strings in each ball, we could tell which dough ball had the most gluten and which had the least. I won't tell you our have to do the experiment on your own!!

Here's one of our gluten balls. I think this was the Whole Wheat.

Science in the Kitchen - Bread Part 1

Yeast. It's all yeast these days!

Liam and I are continuing our studies in the kitchen. We've exhausted our studies of the egg and we are moving on to bread! Look out hips, here comes another 5 pounds.

We started our studies by discussing leavening agents. We made some cookies and muffins using baking soda and baking powder. But everyone knows that the Mack-daddy of leavening agents is yeast. And yeast is so entertaining. First question of the day....."does yeast like sugar?"

We did a quick little experiment by using equal amounts of yeast and warm water in two separate bowls. In one bowl we also included a teaspoon of sugar. Can you guess which bowl had the sugar?

If you guessed the bowl on the left, then you are right. In the same amount of time, the bowl with sugar created huge amounts of yeast foam compared to the bowl without the sugar. So the next time you make a yummy bread, be sure to proof your yeast with sugar.

The Arts Castle - 2D

Simon and Liam took a 7 week art class at the Delaware Arts Castle this Fall. Simon seems to love these classes but Liam....not so much. I get this impression because he likes to comment "Mom, why do you sign me up for things without asking first?" My response is always "Liam, did they ask you if you wanted to go to art class in public school?? I don't think so!" Keep in mind that by the time I pick him up from class, he seems to be enjoying himself and the projects.

This session was all about two dimensional drawings. Here is Simon's glue picture (they drew the creature with glue and then filled in with pastels.) Not sure what this little guy is. I think Simon mentioned something about a hamster.

Here is Liam's creation. This one I know. A dog!!

My favorite part about Art class was the one-on-one time I got with Quinn! It was worth every penny. Sometimes we would go shopping or out to lunch. And then if I'm honest, we would sometimes go home so that Mom could take a nap all snuggled with Quinn watching a video on the couch.