Table for Cooking
You can plan several math exercises to practice unit conversion
using bread recipes. Use any of these resources:
The Cooking Measures and Conversion Calculator
The Conversion Table for Cooking
You can ask students to adjust recipes to use different quantities
of flour so they can do some math exercises, working with fractions.
For example: convert a recipe that asks for 3/4 cups of flour to
use only 1/2 cup of flour.
While there are thousands of bread recipes, many of them do not
have scientific background. I have included here some recipes available
online that students can use to make their own bread.
Bread in a Bag by Laurie Lautt, Montana State University Extension
Observations on Bread Making
During bread-making, bakers want to develop dough so gluten can
retain the gases produced by yeast. Both kneading and leavening
contribute to dough development. Since your students' hand kneading
will not be as efficient as the work provided by mechanical mixers,
they should plan for a long fermentation stage and provide enough
sugar to the dough to be sure that yeast continue producing gas
after some hours of leavening, when molded and panned doughs finally
go to the oven. While they should observe a rise of the dough in
the oven, you should plan for a final fermentation time that provides
the panned dough as much rise as possible.
Bread Making Activities
- Students can monitor the rise
of the dough by putting a small ball of dough into a plastic graduated
laboratory cup and measure its height at different intervals during
leavening. With some practice they will know which is the correct
height for a dough to go to the oven. If they measure the time
between readings they will find at what height the dough slows
its leavening rate. They should plan then to put the panned doughs
into the oven when they reach a safer, smaller height.
- You can ask students to write
the height of the dough at the start of the experiment and then
ask them to find the time the dough needed to increase 1/3 volume
or reach a volume of 4/3 or 1+1/3 (or other appropriate fractions)
so they can do some math exercises working with fractions.
- Students can assess doughs that
have received different kneading, leavening or ingredients by
comparing the properties of 2 balls of dough during the final
fermentation. Doughs that have not been processed properly will
not rise or grow flat. This will result in a small or a flat loaf.
- The area and the height of a
slice of bread that has been cut from the center of the bread
are representative measurements of the quality of the bread. Students
can take photos of these slices to keep a record of their breads.
- Laboratories measure the volume
of breads by rapeseed displacement. I found that rice grains are
also suitable. Students can experiment measuring the volume of
- Just fill a suitable hard box
with appropriate dimensions for the bread with grain. Weigh the
grain needed to fill the box with and without the loaf. Students
can find the volume of the box by measuring the volume or the
weight of water it contains.
- Since they know the weight of
grain needed to fill the volume of the box, they can now easily
find the volume of the grains that are displaced by the bread,
by weighing the displaced grains. This volume of the displaced
grains equals the volume of your loaf. Cereal chemistry laboratories
attach much weight to the volume of loaves when they assess their
- Ask students to describe the
characteristics of their favorite bread. Using this description,
they can assess the characteristics of a bread they baked in the
classroom or from a bakery.
- If you choose to do some bread
making with your class, consider using the Kids' Bread Restaurant
activities available at
Using the Personal
Food Guide Planner, ask students to write their daily food
intake. At the end of the day they can see how they compare with
the Food Guide Pyramid. Extend the survey to other students in the
school. On average, Americans report eating only 3 servings of grain
foods per day. At the end of the day check how students compare
to this average.
Ask students to plan their meals to attain the recommended 6-11
Ways to Leave your Love Handles", is a list of 50 cereal
foods. They can choose some of these meals to reach the 6-11 daily
servings of grain foods.
They can also use the Shopping
in Fine Art
Ask students to search the internet for bread paintings. Ask them
to write a description of the painting they choose.
Students can read http://www.bakersfederation.org.uk/History_of_Bread.aspx
and make a timeline of the major developments in the history of
bread making. Ask them to search the internet for information on
other major technological and social developments.
and Other Cultures
provides information on different types of breads available around
the world. Ask students to search the internet to find a recipe
and geographical, historical, and ethnic information about the country
where the bread is produced.