Fun experiment 1 to do with kids: Make Wild Sourdough

Discover magazine suggests a science activity with kids-going beyond the trivial and incorporating real-world scientific research.

Around the world, millions of kids are headed back to school in a totally different way. Classes are online. Teachers talk to students in virtual classrooms. And parents are often left looking for new, hands-on science learning opportunities. 

We’ve got your back. Here is the first of eight fun and easy science experiments that you can do at home with kids of all ages. What’s more, each of these science projects ties into real-life research efforts through citizen science, where volunteers help experts collect and analyze data. 

It seems like the whole world is baking homemade sourdough bread right now. Sourdough took on broad appeal when the baker’s yeast disappeared from store shelves. Unlike other baking projects, sourdough doesn’t need store bought yeast. Instead, it’s made with sourdough starter. 

If you have flour, you can easily experiment with making your own sourdough starter. Wild sourdough starters tap into the abundant yeast in our homes and puts them to work making delicious bread. When it comes to science experiments you can do at home, few could be more delicious and rewarding than this one. You’ll also be helping scientists out along the way.

The Wild Sourdough Project is a global science experiment that hopes to discover how sourdough starter communities form over time. The team behind the effort is hoping to unravel how factors like geography and different kinds of flour affect the yeast communities. Best of all, the effort has a step-by-step guide that lets you learn how to make your own sourdough starter. 

GOALLearn how microbes affect the rise and flavor of bread!TASKCreate a sourdough starter from scratch.WHEREGlobal, anywhere on the planetDESCRIPTION

This project can be completed at home or in the classroom.
Humans have baked bread for over 14,000 years. All over the world, different cultures bake their own unique breads – and have for centuries. Yet we know almost nothing about the microbes that make bread rise and taste delicious. In this project, you can create your own sourdough starter from scratch,  just by mixing flour and water. Over the course of 14 days, you can take a series of simple measurements to track the growth of your own “microbial garden”. Your measurements will help solve the mystery of bread, by comparing the growth of microbes in different types of flour – and how those microbes contribute to the taste and texture of bread.


Good news! This is a SciStarter Affiliate project. You can earn credit in your SciStarter Dashboard for your participation.

Sign up or Log in to SciStarter. Your free account, while not required, enables your participation to be credited on your SciStarter Dashboard.

Click the Get started/Visit Project’s Website button on this page. You will be directed to the project’s website or app and invited to create a project account there. Use the same email address (case sensitive!) you used to create your SciStarter account to join this project.

After completing the activity, submit your data here:

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