July 13, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Your first-time beginner can help scientists

Actor, late-night host admit to joining this bread trend
Whether we succeed in making bread is not important. Beginner sourdough can now advance microbiological studies.


Many years before this pandemic, the General Science Laboratory began Global Residents Project, a citizen science initiative that studies how various types of flour and the environment affect the microbes that inhabit the starter.

But what happened in the beginning of the sourdough still confused scientists.

Bread makes a sourdough starter – a simple mixture of flour and water – for incoming bacteria. Somehow, they leavened bread after a week of incubation – no yeast needed, unlike other breads.

But why do certain microbes live at a certain start, and how do they do what they do? Amateur bakers cannot answer these questions with the naked eye, but for the Public Science Laboratory, their observations are a positive start.

How to participate

The recipe provided by the laboratory provided requires decorinated flour and water (finished, filtered water). Amateur bakers throw 2 tablespoons of each into a jar and mix. And then start waiting.

After you leave your bottle, covered with paper towels and rubber bands, in the sun for 24 hours, you have to “feed” and “refresh” every day. This means you take a portion of the starter every day and add more flour and water. It feeds hungry microbes.

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You must feed and refresh a total of 15 times to complete their observations, so that you will leave your starter for more than two weeks.

Before you bake with your starter, the lab wants you to make a few observations, such as what your starter smells and how high it rises.

After completion, you will send observations via online form. Who would have thought you could contribute to science by making and clicking.

No big deal if the bread doesn’t change – scientists can also learn from your failures. Although, fresh bread will certainly be a plus.

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