Every kid should do at least several classic science experiments before they get too old to enjoy them. On the list today was the classic yeast science experiment. We decided to find out what type of sugar helped yeast grow best, or if sugar helps at all.
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We are on a small kick to explore foods that we eat at a Thanksgiving Feast and of course, bread is a very popular item. When the kids saw the dough rising in the bowl, they immediately had questions that they wanted answers to. That’s when I thought this would be the perfect way to explain the way yeast works.
Classic Yeast Science Experiment
What you’ll need for the yeast science experiment:
- 4 squeeze bottles
- 4 water balloons
- 2 yeast packets
- 3 types of sugar (we used brown sugar, white sugar, and honey)
I set everything up in advance of this project so the kids could jump right in. I measured 2 teaspoons of each type of sugar into four mini containers (we used film canisters) and laid everything out on the table for the kids to use.
The kids poured half a packet of yeast into each bottle, then added two teaspoons of warm water.
The kids next added one type of sugar to three bottles, but nothing to the last bottle. We labeled each bottle to keep track of what sugar was wear.
A little shake mixed up the bottles and we could already see the yeast starting to grow!
The kids screwed the caps back on the bottles and taped a water balloon to the top of each bottle spout (we had blown them up previously to stretch them out and make them easier to expand).
We set the bottles of yeast aside for 30 minutes, then came back to check our results.
Although it looked like the brown sugar activated the yeast the fastest, over the 30-minute period the white sugar outpaced it. The honey eventually blew up the balloon, but it took about an hour. The nothing jar never had enough air to blow up its balloon.
We were curious, so we put our yeast bottles into the bathtub and left it for several hours. That night, we looked at our bottles again. The white sugar bottle had enough pressure to pop the balloon off the top. The honey and brown sugar bottles had balloons almost completely filled with yeast. The no-sugar bottle was still sad and deflated.
The kids determined that if we wanted to make fluffy bread, we definitely should feed our yeast white sugar.
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