We're working our way through Betsy Ross during our winter "break" (we still do math and religion but the rest of the subjects are pretty well covered by using this book).
Early in the story, they described the sourdough starter that Betsy's mother had that was passed down through generations prior. The discussion of "what to do before there was yeast in an envelope/jar" ensued and we learned how sourdough starters work with the yeast that is in the air around us. Yes, this screams for a science/home ec experiment ;0)
|The "start" of the starter...|
It's really cold in this house so it took a few extra days but we made sure to feed our starter every day (extra flour and warm water) and eventually, by day 8, it was ready to bake! Having gone through a week with "no bread" while waiting, we better appreciate how serious it would be to lose your starter!
I will say that it wouldn't win any awards in a baking competition but, hey, it was edible and it had bubbles!!! Success! The yeast were alive and burping away ;0) (watch Good Eats if you haven't, great way to learn food science).
All thanks, of course, to God who created the universe in such a way that we can "capture" yeast to make bread out of the atmosphere. When I showed him the final product, DH said, "you made bread from nothing!!!" Not quite...only One person has been able to pull that off. Still, it's nice to know that the kids now see, first hand, what the pioneers dealt with and that, with some flour, water and time, they can produce sustenance for their family.
We are blessed!