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Ancient sourdough starter, buttie wars, stale bread for Ukraine

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This week the world’s bread news is awash with tips for keeping bread longer, stopping it from going stale, and creative ways to use up old bread. It’s a sign people across the globe – and here at home – are tightening their belts and taking action to waste less food. At the same time one woman has been described as ‘crazy’ for cutting her butty up in a non-standard way. That’s social media for you. Here’s the news from us, fresh from our popular artisan bakery.  

The search for the planet’s oldest sourdough starter

As a wholesale bread supplier we’re always interested in the history of our wares. So it was good to know there’s an international search taking place to pin down the oldest ever sourdough starter.

Sourdough bread is made with a sourdough starter, which helps the bread rise. Blending water and flour then letting natural yeasts and bacteria in the air join the party makes a ‘starter’, which quickly ferments. The yeast consumes the carbohydrates in the flour and converts them to CO2, which in turn creates the legendary bubbles in tasty sourdough bread.

Historians and archaeologists say starters first took off 5000-6000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphics of farmers collecting wheat and baking loaves appear on many tombs and temples. But if you want proof you have to reel time forwards to ancient Rome where, in about 77CE, Pliny the Elder recorded how bread was leavened with a starter. Read the fascinating full story here.

Russian humanitarian aid to Mariupol – Mouldy bread and shovels 

The Ukrainian city of Mariupol, still home to 100,000 people, is struggling to survive. There’s no reliable power, water, or gas. Around 22,000 civilians have been killed and over fifty thousand deported to either Russia or the Donetsk region. Ecological disaster is on the cards and infectious diseases are breaking out.

Russia’s humanitarian response has been to send a load of mouldy bread and a stack of shovels, prompting the city’s mayor to call the act as “a new low of Russian assistance”.

Novak Djokovic’s ‘strange’ gluten intolerance diagnosis 

Tennis genius Novak Djokovic is just as well known for his eccentric views and conspiracy theories as he is for his sporting skills. Bread is a good example. Once, when struggling with his performance on the tennis court, he self-diagnosed as having a wheat intolerance using a ‘strange’ test. Did he see a GP, medical expert, or dietician? No. Instead, he decided to see how he felt when white bread was placed ‘near his body’.

Enter Dr Igor Cetojevic, a ‘specialist in energetic medicine’ from Croatia. He apparently asked the tennis star to stretch his left arm out while pushing white bread against his stomach. Djokovic said his arm felt ‘noticeably weaker’ when it got near the gluten-containing bread. So he banned gluten from his diet. Ah well, it takes all sorts.

Inspired, we’re about to test ourselves for peanut intolerance by waving half a peanut three feet away from our left big toe. We will let you know how we get on.

Reduced waste company adopts home compostable bread bags

The Process and Control Today website reports on an eco-friendly bread bag that has proved the perfect solution for Earth & Wheat, a sustainable e-commerce store dedicated to reducing food waste by connecting directly to UK bakeries. The home-compostable bag comes from KM Packaging.

Earth & Wheat rescues fresh unwanted surplus and oddly-shaped bread that would otherwise be thrown away. They also want to reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions to the lowest possible levels. The home-compostable bags they’re using can be printed, and they work fine with the brand’s automatic bagging machines. The material looks and feels just like ordinary plastic and comes in a variety of formats including shrink wrap, stretch wrap, cling film, and sticky tape.

Buttie wars on Reddit

One woman has sparked outrage and horror by cutting her sandwich in a way people on the social network Reddit describe as ‘madness’. She does not cut her buttie into two halves, either across or diagonally. Instead she cuts them off-centre, resulting in six small, oddly-shaped sandwiches. It has divided opinion online, with some people asking whether the heatwave had sent her ‘crazy’.

One Reddit user called the woman out, asking “What is this chaotic neutral monstrosity?”, while another was a little bit more forgiving, claiming “To be fair, I could see this working if it was to accompany soup. Other than that, madness.”

Some said the middle elements of the radical sandwich cut seemed far too ‘flappy’ to hold together, another claimed, darkly, that the “ratios and angles look dangerous, to me.”

Millenial food waste scandal

A recent study by Currys reveals all manner of food quirks. It looks like millennials waste more food than any other generation, with 25% of them chucking leftover food in the bin. In contrast Baby Boomers store the most food and high earners waste the least. But the oddest finding of all? 23% of Brits can’t figure out whether bread belongs in the fridge or on a shelf, and 63% of us keep our mayonnaise in the cupboard.

Join us in our lovely wholesale artisan bread world

As a dedicated frozen bakery supplier, we’re always chuffed when someone asks us for samples to taste. Ask us and they will arrive magically on your doorstep, freshly frozen and ready to delight your taste buds.