Monday, March 5, 2012

Science Fair: Waiter, My Muffins Taste Weird!

Waiter, My Muffins Taste Weird!
by GamerBoy, age 10
Figure 1: Ingredients


[Ed note: This is the real science fair report of a fifth grader. It is posted here as a sample experiment and report for an elementary school science fair.]

The Table of Contents
1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Experiment
4. Data
5. Conclusion
6. Sources
7. Acknowledgments

1. Abstract

The purpose of this experiment is to find out whether muffins increase or decrease in size and change in taste if extra/less baking powder is added to them.  I did this by adding extra/less baking powder to the muffins then baking them.

Then I measured all the muffins and weighed them. I ate them next. My family ate them too.  The measurements/taste testing confirmed my hypothesis and muffins do change in taste and grow bigger with more or less baking powder.

2. Introduction

Muffins are tasty and use baking powder, and also are generally are the same if they have the same amount of baking powder, so why not test to see if varying the amount changes the size and taste? That was the question I asked myself to get the topic of this report.

While researching this topic, I learned that baking powder is used as weaker and quicker yeast for bread. It reacts as soon as it touches liquid. You have to be fast or it does its work and you have uncookable uncooked muffins.

Also, when researching this topic, I learned that muffins, pancakes, and other things that use baking powder are called fast breads because they don’t take as long to make as with yeast. However, it does not work as hard as yeast, and so breads made by this are not as fluffy or as big as buns and other things baked with yeast.

If my other idea made it, then I would be doing this with pancakes. The reason it was muffins was because my mom said, “Pancakes don’t cook as equally as muffins.” So I changed the bread I used to muffins.

3. Experiment

    Purpose
To find out what happens if I add more/less baking powder to muffins.
 
Materials
   All purpose flour
   Cornmeal
   Sugar
   Baking Powder
   Eggs
   Milk
   Butter
   Mixing Bowl
   Measuring Cups/Spoons
   Spatulas
   Muffin Pan
   Oven

Experiment
  Muffin recipe:
   ½ cup all-purpose flour
   ½ cup cornmeal
   1 tablespoon sugar
   1 egg, slightly beaten
   ½ cup milk
   1/8 cup butter, melted
   2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in the mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and the beaten eggs, the milk, and the melted butter. Stir to a smooth batter. Fill well-buttered (or paper-lined) muffin pans about two-thirds full. Bake at 425°F for 15–20 minutes, or until nicely browned and baked through.

Make one half batch following the recipe above, and then three additional half batches, substituting the following amounts of baking powder:
no baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 3 (or even 4) teaspoons baking powder.

Measure the mass and height of each muffin. Measure the diameter of the base of a muffin. Make observations. 

4. Data

DATA
No Powder
Muffin
1
2
3
4
5
6
Average
Height (cm)
2
1
1 1/2
1
1
2
1.4
Weight (g)
48
46
43
43
39
61
46.7
Volume cm3:
27.8
1 Teaspoon
Muffin
1
2
3
4
5
6
Average
Height (cm)
3
3
2
4
4 1/4
3
3.2
Weight (g)
37
41
28
48
52
39
40.8
Volume cm3:
63.0
2 Teaspoons
Muffin
1
2
3
4
5
6
Average
Height (cm)
4
2
3
5
4
4
3.7
Weight (g)
47
36
36
55
51
52
46.2
Volume cm3:
72.0
4 Teaspoons
Muffin
1
2
3
4
5
6
Average
Height (cm)
3 1/3
3
4
4
3 1/2
4
3.6
Weight (g)
48
48
50
58
43
53
50.0
Volume cm3:
71.4

all muffins had same diameter, 5 cm
assumed volume of a cylinder, V=πhr2

Tasting Data

No Powder:  Like a scone, flavorless, small, smooth, squishy, dense, tastes doughy, sweet, not crumbly
1 Teaspoon: Spongy, kind of bitter, crunchy, dry, tastes bad
2 Teaspoon: Bouncy, light, fluffy, salty, mostly tasteless
4 Teaspoon: Very crumbly, bitter, soft, crusty, grainy, needs butter

5. Conclusion

My hypothesis was “Varying the amount of baking powder will make the bread change by shrinking with not enough powder, and doing the opposite if you do the opposite.” I discovered that the more baking powder you add, the bigger the muffin you get in the end. Baking powder also adds a bit of flavor, but too much and it probably won’t make it to your mouth. The data supported my hypothesis. 

6.  Sources
   Where I got my information
 My mom

7.  Acknowledgements

Thanks to my mom and dad for the idea and helping me with the experiment, and thanks to my teacher for not giving us 1 week to do this. Without them I wouldn’t have a project at all. I’ve had fun doing this, and again, thanks to my mom, dad, and teacher.

Supplemental Information:

 

Figure 2: All bowls of batter. Batch 1 (indicated by 1 finger) no baking powder, batch 2 (indicated by 2 fingers) 2 tsp of baking powder, batch b (indicated by b hand-shape) 1 tsp baking powder, batch c (indicated by c hand-shape) is 4 tsp baking powder.

 


Figure 3: The batches of muffins in the tin before cooking. From left to right (per 6 muffins): no powder, 2 tsp, 1 tsp, and 4 tsp baking powder.

 

Figure 4: The batches of muffins in the tin after baking. From left to right (per 6 muffins): no powder, 2 tsp, 1 tsp, and 4 tsp baking powder.

[Ed note: The science fair also required a board. Here is a photo of the presentation board. The name has been grayed out.]


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