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A School That Bakes Together, Stays Together

Families found a silver lining during lockdown when they spent more time together at home baking. Eastchester High School teacher Erica Lockwood found an opportunity to incorporate a science lesson in this everyday activity.

“I offered students an authentic assessment of baking bread with their family to explore the science behind anaerobic fermentation,” said Lockwood. Last spring, she asked her students to bake bread with yeast. Yeast is a live organism and works with other ingredients in the dough to release carbon dioxide. Lockwood continued the tradition this year with her Honors Biology classes and asked the High School faculty and staff to participate.

 “I was floored with the response over the two years. Families made sandwich bread, bagels, focaccia, cheese bread, French brioche, flatbread, garlic knots, artisan bread and much more. Dr. Jerrod Blair even made pizza,” explained Lockwood.

Students attached pictures of themselves baking and their final product and linked their recipe to a Google slides presentation. They discussed their experiences in class.

One student thought he did not use enough salt. Lockwood responded, “Salt helps with the rising process by tightening the gluten structure and allowing the bread volume to increase.” 

Freshman Joseph D’Adamo baked Italian bread. “It was really cool to see the whole process,” He noted how in the past he saw his grandmother take bread out of the oven and now he has a new appreciation, “to see the steps, not just learn about it,” said Joseph.

Ava Battista, a sophomore, enjoyed seeing science in action. “We have been learning about reactions; seeing how it works was cool, actually to experience it.”

Lockwood is grateful to her colleagues and all the Eastchester families. “Enjoy the carbohydrates and time spent with family!”