March, 2017. The month you got to name a new creature.

March 2017: The month you named a yeast.

As humans, we give significance to something by giving it a unique name: whether this is our pets, our boats, our children, or our sourdough starters. It is how we distinguish the specific from the general. It is not just “a child,” it is our child, “Adrianne.” It is not “a boat”, it is the working fishing boat off the cold Maine coast, “Harvester of Sorrows.” As scientists we give names as well. We give highly specific names to species such as “Homo sapiens” and “Canis lupus” to distinguish humans and wolves, respectively. […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

#NewYeastName Activity

Educators: We’d love to have your students help us name our new yeasts. Here’s some information to start the discussion with your students so that they can learn about the science of yeast.

Introduction to Yeast

Yeast are single celled organisms that are microscopic. They are actually fungi (like all mushrooms). They are a group of microorganisms that include about 1000 unique species.

Interactive visual of how small a yeast cell is in comparison to dust mites, red blood cells, and viruses

Baker’s yeast (one species of yeast) under a microscope

 

How do yeast grow?

Yeast make more […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

Getting Sourdough on the Map

A quick update on the Sourdough Project! We are currently up to 300 samples (and counting) and we’ve got a fantastic team of undergraduates working on processing and characterizing our samples:  Kinsey Drake, Nick Kamkari, and Shravya Sakunala.

Kinsey has made a map of our where the starters we currently have (red) and those we are awaiting (blue) based on participants who have filled out the questionnaire.

Tufts undergraduate Kinsey Drake wearing a while lab coat and purple gloves working at the bench in the Wolfe lab. […]

By | February 20th, 2017|Behind the Scenes, Sourdough|15 Comments

What’s your flour type?

Nick Kamkari, Tufts undergraduate, plates out different commercial flours in the Wolfe Lab.

The Wolfe lab has been working to pinpoint just what makes sourdough starters so magical. It turns out that each flour has its own microbial “signature.” Tufts undergraduate Nick Kamkari has been plating out and characterizing different brands of-off-the shelf flours to learn more about what we should expect to find in each starter fed by that flour, to better be able to pinpoint what are the extra (delicious) microbes that make the starters successful. Above is a visual of what […]

By | February 20th, 2017|Behind the Scenes, Sourdough|1 Comment

Sourdough Stories: Patty Ellis

We will begin a series of sourdough stories wherein we highlight the oral history that accompanies many different sourdough starters. For many, this starter becomes a part of the family. It requires a place to go and be fed when its humans are away; be it a family member, house sitter or a sourdough hotel. Some feel a connection to past generations through the taste, method and baking; breaking bread that was passed down generations, traveled across countries and tested through time. 


When Patty Ellis happened upon her mother’s old bread bowl in the cupboard, she was reminded […]

By | October 3rd, 2016|Sourdough|4 Comments