Inspired by watching years of the boys’ experiments, Dancing Toes has requested to do chemistry this term. That’s a great choice by me; I’ve gone through the IGCSE syllabus twice with her brothers, and we’ve always had fun in earlier days working through our excellent homeschool curriculum.
So, this week’s experiment was to work through the Scientific method; asking a question, stating a hypothesis (or hypotamus as she calls it), carrying out an experiment to test it, observing and recording the results and drawing a conclusion from them.
The question was: which works better as a sweetener to raise bread…treacle or white sugar? We mixed a teaspoon of yeast with 200mls warm water in three identical bottles. One was the control and had only these two ingredients, to the second we added two tablespoons of white sugar and to the third, two tablespoons of treacle. We then attached a balloon to bottles two and three and measured it’s circumference at various time intervals. The yeast and sugar react to form carbon dioxide, which is what makes the bread rise.
The conclusion was that treacle produced the most gas, and therefore is the better raising agent in bread. After I did this with the boys, I used treacle in our bread for a while, but soon reverted to sugar as it’s a lot less messy!