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Obsessive raccoons, gluten-free communion and bread mould advice

Loaf of bread on a wooden table in a bakery

This time around we’re focusing on news about the weird and wonderful side of bread. And there’s plenty of it to feature. What a remarkable couple of weeks it has been!

Raccoons reveal a passion for bread

One woman in Toronto recently bit off more than she could chew when she discovered three naughty raccoons had broken into her house, and were busy raiding the kitchen. She had to ‘fight off’ the animals, who were steadily munching their way through her entire stock of bread.

She eventually managed to chase two of them away thanks to a broom and plenty of yelling, but the third raccoon refused to leave until he’d finished. He was so determined that he actually grabbed the end of the broom and yanked it out of her hands.

Unable to find someone to help, she eventually had to wait for the stubborn raccoon to fill up and leave, but all three animals hung around for hours afterwards, scratching at the door and trying to break back in.

The Vatican disapproves of gluten-free communion wafers

More and more Catholic churches are offering gluten-free bread for Holy Communion. But the Vatican is not amused. While several churches in South Carolina have started offering gluten-free wafers, the Vatican insists gluten is actually a vital element of the ritual.

The debate rumbles on, and people who suffer from gluten intolerance are hoping it gets resolved soon. Those who couldn’t take part in Communion now can, but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops agrees with the Vatican’s stance. In their opinion, “For bread to be valid matter for the Eucharist, it must be made solely of wheat, contain enough gluten to effect the confection of bread, be free of foreign materials, and unaffected by any preparation or baking methods which would alter its nature.”

Low-gluten wafers, on the other hand, are deemed acceptable. They’re widely available, and one brand has been hand-made by the US-based Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration since 2004.

Is a little bit of bread mould actually harmful?

Food waste is hot news, and plenty of us are eating food that’s way past its ‘best by’ date simply because there’s actually nothing wrong with it. It’s perfectly safe. But the trend begs an important question – if your loaf is a little bit mouldy, can you just nip the mould off and eat it anyway?

The experts say no. Apparently once bread goes mouldy, the visible mould is only the tip of a nasty iceberg. Because mould is a fungus it has masses of teeny, tiny invisible roots called hyphae that spread through the entire loaf. And mould spores spread just like the spores from mushrooms and toadstools. While you can’t necessarily see them with the naked eye, the entire loaf will be absolutely infested.

Some moulds are harmless. Others are even beneficial. But you don’t know which type of mould has landed on your bread, so you can’t make a sensible decision. Mouldy food can contain mycotoxins, fungal poisons that cause food poisoning, cramps, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. Some can even cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Sad but true… if your bread is mouldy, you should chuck it away.

The world’s silliest supermarket substitution

Roll back time to the early days of online supermarket shopping and substitutions were a joke. You’d request butter and they’d send you tea bags instead. Or order washing up liquid and get socks. Years down the line, it’s strange to see it still going on. As reported in The Sun recently, when the journalist and writer Sathnam Sanghera ordered a loaf of rye bread from Tesco, the last thing he expected to receive was a size 16 ladies swimsuit. But that’s what happened. Maybe the artificial intelligence that drives online shopping software isn’t quite as intelligent as the scaremongers are telling us!

Hollywood starlet fixes her hair with a bread stick

The American actress Madelaine Petsch has caused a stir in celebrity land for her quirky use of a breadstick hair accessory. If you run out of hairspray, she recommends you use a breadstick to twirl long hair up into a messy bun or pony tail. Who knew bread would turn out to be such a widely-publicised beauty tip? Apparently the caption on the Instagram photo said, “Can’t find a hair tie? Use a breadstick.” Radical.

We’ll see you next time for more fun and games from the world of bread. In the meantime, if you fancy a box of free artisan bread samples, fresh from the fair hands of our talented bakery team, give us a bell or send us an email and we’ll spring into action.