What is baking bread if not one of the purest expressions of science at work? Think about it: A single-cell fungus—yeast—is inert, unable to act on its true physical form. That is, until, water enters the picture: Warm water allows the yeast to begin to grow, and the addition of flour feeds on yeast as it creates and releases carbon dioxide. And the science doesn’t stop there: Flour also adds proteins, which become gluten, which allows the dough to stretch, which allows gas bubbles to grow and grow to create an ever-expanding loaf of bread.
Fascinating stuff, right? And the results are delicious, no matter how you choose to make bread—the traditional method, no-knead options, even with a bread machine. The first requires that old-fashioned technique, kneading, but all of the dough that you create must have a warm space to rise. And there are several tools that can help you make a more perfect kitchen science experiment—homemade bread dough—with greater ease.
Use this graphic to learn more about the science and art behind making your own bread.