Saturday, January 29, 2011

Homeschool Science: It's a Pizza Party!

Ah, pizza science. There's nothing better to take away the pre-lunch blues on yet another cold, slushy, grey winter day when nobody wants to leave the house but nobody particularly wants to be at home, either, than baking up a nice, warm, delicious pizza pie.

Especially if it's the four-year-old doing the baking.

While Will spent the morning immersed in a book (her current faves: The Incredible Journey, and yet another series about yet another family that is up to its ears finding homes for yet more foster animals), Syd got out the pizza party science kit that her Grandma Janie gave her for Christmas, and off we went.

First on the docket: yeast is gassy.

Syd measured out 1/4 cup of warm tap water (she even took its temperature, to make sure it was between 95 and 105 degrees), 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast, and stirred them together in a small clear bottle. I stretched a balloon out to cover the opening, so that it looked like this:
Then I hid the whole shebang away over in the corner over a heating vent. Just forget about it for now, okay?

Next, Syd and I mixed up a super-simple pizza dough recipe, and although I don't usually proof my yeast, I did this time, so that Syd could notice, if she wished, that we were putting the same stuff in the dough that we just put in the bottle.

She noticed. Yay.

I also generally use a no-knead bread dough for my daily baking, but I do love to watch little hands kneading bread dough:
 Syd set the yeast to rise and went off to play ponies, and in just a couple of hours the dough was twice its size and...remember the balloon?

The balloon looked like this:
It's this gas that also makes the bread dough rise--yeast eats starch and gives off carbon dioxide, expanding the gluten and yummifying the dough.

Once the dough was sufficiently yummified, Syd rolled it out, put it in a pan (Isn't that a good-sized pan for a personal pan pizza for a four-year-old? I'm now officially on the look-out at thrift stores and yard sales for some little patty pans for the girlies), and added her ingredients of choice--tomato sauce, cheese, and soysage crumbles:

 We baked it, tasted it--
And Chef Sydney declared her lunch to be absolutely perfect.


FairyLover said...

What a great way to learn about science. I'll bet my son will love this. Although I don't know about the waiting part.

Kathi Still trying to figure out science for my 3rd grader.

julie said...

It's def one of those projects that you do the first part of, then say, "Hey! Let's go to the park/swimming pool/library!" Don't come back for two hours.

Unknown said...

I love it and I wish I did your experiment this morning. It's so cold here today and pizza would have made a great lunch. Maybe tomorrow!