Sunday, January 29, 2012

Science Sunday ~ Yummy Fermentation

Dawson has been working on a fermentation experiment for the past 10 days. I have often received the ziplock bag from a neighbor with an alcohol-smelling concoction and a 10 day plan for turning it into Amish Friendship Bread. We usually save a cup of the start, giving the remainder away to friends (thus the FRIENDSHIP part of the bread), and keep it going for a couple of rounds. But then we either get tired of it or accidentally miss a day or two of the instructions, so end up throwing it away. And then later I will get a hankerin' for some Amish Friendship Bread, but no start to start it with.

Enter the Fermentation Experiment. We found a recipe for the Amish Friendship Bread Starter. The purpose of this recipe is to get the proper fermentation going to successfully bake the bread.

The "fermentation of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide by yeast ... is the fundamental step to making bread dough. Before most bread doughs get baked, they require time to rise. This is also the time when fermentation takes place."

"The fermentation process serves three primary purposes:
1. To produce carbon dioxide gas to create a light and airy texture in the bread;
2. To enhance the flavor of the bread;
3. To change the protein structure of the bread to prevent a chewy texture."

"Yeast requires a form of sugar or starch as food and a moist environment to grow in."

"The fermentation process is the time during which the yeast converts the sugar present in the flour and the dough into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Carbon dioxide is the compound that humans breathe out and plants consume. In bread, carbon dioxide provides the light, airy texture of bread by leaving gas pockets inside the bread dough. The alcohol, in addition to more complex compounds, produces the main taste in the finished bread."

Today was the end of the 10 day preparation time. After we saw my daughter off back to her home in Kansas City, Dawson headed to the kitchen to bake the Amish Friendship Bread. We sent one of the starts, with recipe, home with Kyndal's boyfriend to give to his mom. And we froze the other three starts for future use.

Before the bread was baked, we tasted the starter (well, I did and described it's taste to Dawson because he refused to do it). It had a strong alcohol taste. So, the fermentation definitely worked! The fragrance of the cinnamon and sugar bread then filled the air as it baked. And when it was done, baked to a fluffy golden brown, we slathered it with butter and had a treat.

** All quoted information was taken from the article "Fermentation of Sugar in Bread by Yeast" by The University of Arizona.

Linking up with Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom.


  1. We love Amish friendship bread! I have also gone through the process only to miss something and have to toss it! Great experiment, and the end result of bread looks seriously yummy!

  2. We love the Amish friendship bread too, but rarely remember about the bag and the squishing until it's more a lesson on penicillin than a bread starter.
    Last time I did manage to make a few loaves, finally, and they were a big hit!

  3. Yum, I've never successfully remembered to get it going all the way through all the parts........

    Thanks for linking up!


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