Our whole-wheat bread is made from five simple ingredients – honey, whole wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. If you’ve ever seen a loaf of bread being made, you’ve probably noticed that it’s much smaller when it’s in its dough form, growing bigger through the time it’s fully baked.
This “bread rising” happens when the yeast and honey are mixed together, the yeast feeds on the honey and gives off a gas, called carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide gets trapped in the bread dough, causing the dough to rise and helping give our bread its wonderful taste! To find out how carbon dioxide is created, similar to what happens when a loaf of bread rises, try this simple experiment at home:
You will need:
- a glass bottle (12 ounces to 20 ounces in size will work)
- a balloon
- 5 ounces of luke-warm water
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- a package of dry yeast
- Fill the glass bottle with 5 ounces of luke-warm tap water.
- Add the honey, and swirl it around in the water until it dissolves.
- Open the packet of dry yeast and add it to the water and honey solution, and swirl the bottle a couple of times to distribute the yeast in the solution.
- Put the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Check back in roughly 30 minutes. What’s happened?
As the yeast ate the honey, carbon dioxide was formed which caused the balloon to partially inflate. When we add yeast to the honey in our bread dough, the same thing happens, causing our bread to rise. This process, the yeast eating the honey and creating carbon dioxide, is called fermentation.
Fermentation helps give our bread its great taste, and also causes our bread to rise from the time it’s in its dough form to the time it’s fully-baked.