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Scientists Develop Sixty Day Bread 440

Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that scientists have developed a technique that can make bread stay mold-free for 60 days that could also be used with a wide range of foods including fresh turkey and many fruits and vegetables. At its laboratory on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Don Stull of Microzap showed off the long, metallic microwave device that resembles an industrial production line. Originally designed to kill bacteria such as MRSA and salmonella, the researchers discovered it could kill the mold spores in bread in around 10 seconds. 'We treated a slice of bread in the device, we then checked the mold that was in that bread over time against a control,' says Stull. 'And at 60 days it had the same mold content as it had when it came out of the oven.' Food waste is a massive problem in most developed countries. In the US, figures released this year suggest that the average American family throws away 40% of the food they purchase — which adds up to $165 Billion annually. There is some concern that consumers might not take to bread that lasts for so long and Stull acknowledges it might be difficult to convince some people of the benefits. 'We'll have to get some consumer acceptance of that. Most people do it by feel and if you still have that quality feel they probably will accept it.'"
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Scientists Develop Sixty Day Bread

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...you have to come back tomorrow.

  • Just put the bread out in the hot sun .. it will dry out. Then 60 days later SLOWLY steam use a moderate steam setting for a 2 hours (not longer) .. it'll be like new.

    OK I haven't tried it and just came up with the idea, but it sounds like it would work. F it.

    • If you're going to put all that effort into steaming it, why not just bake fresh bread in 60 days instead?

      • by g00ey ( 1494205 )
        Or store it in the freezer. Just defrost the slices you want to consume in the microwave and they will be just as fresh as newly baked bread.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Just defrost the slices you want to consume in the microwave and they will be just as fresh as newly baked bread.

          This raises the question: have you ever eaten freshly made bread?

          Or, it raises the question: have you ever eaten defrosted bread?

  • I remember when several bread makers quit using preservatives over some FUD or other. It benefited the entire bread supply chain since the bread would spoil faster. I think most have started using them again.

    I'd like to know if that destroys C. botulinum spores. (botulism)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001624/ [nih.gov]

    I'm starting to grow and can food again due to cost. If that could help reduce or maintain food costs it would be welcome.

    • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:43AM (#42166747)
      Botulinum bacteria are obligate anaerobic, they can't survive in oxygen atmosphere. So you're safe with bread. And C. botulinum _spores_ are ubiquitous, so there's no sense in trying to prevent those.
      • So, you're saying if I'm ever thrown out of a spaceship airlock I'll be attacked by flesh eating bacteria long before I can get picked up by an impossibility drive? Bummer! Would it help if I was turned into a penguin?
      • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:27AM (#42167593)

        C. botulinum _spores_ are ubiquitous, so there's no sense in trying to prevent those.

        Err, you missed the crucial "can food" component of his post. I also can food. Not so much because of cost (I think your time has to be worth less than 50 cents/hr to break even) but because I apparently have weird taste in food. For example I love canned brandied apples, peach -n- rum sauce, bourbon cherries... hmm I detect a pattern there. Interesting how tasty food canned with booze is, and how you absolutely cannot buy it retail in the USA. Also for awhile I was making my own mustard for the technical challenge (the exact timing of the reaction is important to the heat level, and balancing/working around the bitterness is also pretty interesting). I enjoy the chemistry of the whole canning activity. Acidity, sugar levels, salt levels, pressure canning is 10x cooler than water bath canning, etc. Aside from novelty and taste, canning also saves time when done right. For example the immense prep, measurement, tasting and fine tuning, and especially cleanup time for my homemade peach barbecue sauce is nearly the same for one piece of chicken or 24 canned halfpints so I'm far better off making 24 times what I currently need and canning the rest for near instant use. In CS notation the overall system of food making scales WAY less than linear with volume.

        Anyway the "ball book of canning" and/or the stuff from the USDA will save your life (literally) WRT canning. Granny recipes and stuff you read on the internet will just get you food poisoning or worse (yes, there is worse).

        • Not so much because of cost (I think your time has to be worth less than 50 cents/hr to break even) but because I apparently have weird taste in food.

          Uh.... I can food to save time... lots and lots of time... like, hundreds of hours a month. Do you have any clue how long it would take me to make oxtail stew if I had to do it from scratch every single time? I make at least 14 pints at once.

  • So when are they going to build it into the fridge?

    • I would tend to argue against building a microwave into a refrigerator because of difficult-to-anticipate interactions between the EM and the packaging. More likely we'll see this in the form factor of a typical microwave oven, or even as an alternative setting thereon. The article notes that they implemented a system whereby the radiation is evenly distributed through the chamber, too, which I'm sure would be a welcome addition to present home microwaves.
  • Sounds just like how the UV Sterilizer Lights kill surrounding bacteria. Depending on how much this costs I could see it becoming a standard issue item in most households.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:22AM (#42166663) Journal

    Twinkies are back!

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:25AM (#42166671)
    The problem is over time nutrician in food declines. We're so obsessed with keeping food forever it may all end up with the nutricianal value of card board. On the bright side it may reduce waste but it would tend to be abused. Bakeries may decide they can run just one day a week and take their sweet time getting to you or better yet centralize so there are a couple of mega bakeries in the country that take their time shipping all over the country. Their idea of fresh bread may be a month old. It may not form mold but it could all taste like crap but if it saves corporations money get used to it. Remember tomatoes taste like rubber because they are picked green to make them easier to transport. Corporations only care about profit.
    • by F'Nok ( 226987 ) * on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:34AM (#42166695)

      Really? Because most places here have options on the source of the tomatos, or bread.

      You want bread baked today, you buy the one that says "baked today".
      If people are willing to buy 30 day old bread, it's not really the fault of corporations, there are plenty of independent bakeries that could cater to your needs.

      See the organic food supply for the same effect in action. Or a local farmers market. etc

      • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:07AM (#42167039) Homepage

        Really? Because most places here have options on the source of the tomatos, or bread.

        I live in London and I am concerned about what happens to food quality when large supermarkets use certain food products as "loss leaders" until there are no alternatives in the region other than gourmet/specialty items that I really can't afford.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:27AM (#42169085) Homepage Journal

        If people are willing to buy 30 day old bread, it's not really the fault of corporations, there are plenty of independent bakeries that could cater to your needs.

        This is a load of poppycock. It is the fault of corporations, and here's why. Food used to be grown in a more distributed fashion. Megacorporations have used a variety of techniques both fair and foul to drive small farmers out of business. They buy up their farms and then they use them to produce (now-)GMO bulk crops that are used to produce the processed foods which are the only thing sold in supermarkets, i.e. by corporations. And supermarkets have used means both foul and fair to drive small independent markets which carried superior foodstuffs out of business. Now the landscape is littered with Fauxganic outlets like Whole Foods (aka "Whole Paycheck") and there is no quality local food available to most people. Because of economies of scale, you can buy a loaf of zero-nutrtitional-value "wheat" bread for a dollar, but a loaf of local handmade bread will typically cost you around five, and it doesn't make as many slices either.

        See the organic food supply for the same effect in action. Or a local farmers market. etc

        It's funny that you mention farmer's markets, because they used to be much more prevalent before the rise of the corporate grocery chain. I've actually bought produce grown in my place of residence, first Santa Cruz and now Lake county, which was shipped out of the county, packed, sent to a Safeway shipping plant, and brought back to my local Safeway store. And since the food growers get bought up by megacorporations, they refuse to sell locally. So in fact, it really is the fault of corporations who have dismantled our ability to purchase quality food at a fair price, and they did it deliberately to force us to buy from them.

        The best way to fight back is to make more of your own food. Don't buy the bread from Safeway or your local baker. Bake it yourself. It doesn't take very long. Do this for enough of what you eat, and you'll save enough money to wind up keeping the same amount of money while working less hours, so you have more time to enjoy your food.

        I also shop at Grocery Outlet often. It's a bit touch-and-go, but the way it works is that they sell mostly pullbacks from other stores. Our only salvation, if you can call it that, is that supermarkets drove their competition out of business by having larger selection and "lower prices" (though on inferior goods, the customer is typically not well-educated about food) but retail stores have to fill all their space or they look empty, and cause negative perception. This becomes a limiting factor when food items become too expensive for the majority to purchase, which has been happening more and more of late. The result for me is high quality food items with a relatively short expiration date, much of which has never actually proceeded past the point of cold storage before it was resold to grocery outlet due to another limiting factor of large, corporate retail outlets: inflexibility in stock.

    • If that day ever comes, I'll make lots and lots of money by selling authentic fresh bread for twice or thrice the price of standard bread.
    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      This isn't for fresh bread, this is for packaged bread. Sliced bread. There's no nutrition degradation and the plastic will keep it from going stale and losing any volatile flavors. I don't think your tomato comparison is really apt, I don't see how it relates to packaged bread.
    • nutricianal => nutritional

      /crikey! i've become a spelling nazi ... [*sigh ...*]

      • by cffrost ( 885375 )

        nutricianal => nutritional

        /crikey! i've become a spelling nazi ... [*sigh ...*]

        Well, that's better than becoming an Illinois Naz, Neo-Nazi, Soup Nai, or Original Flavor Nazi.

    • by Twinbee ( 767046 )
      Wouldn't the market allow for an expensive tomato that more wealthy and/or more picky customers would choose to want? If the demand is there, then surely we should be able to have these nice tomatoes?
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Mass produced white bread has what nutritional value to degrade?
    • Here in the UK, bread already is made centrally using the ghastly Chorleywood Process [wikipedia.org]. As a consequence our bread is almost universally tasteless and unpleasant - even many of the 'artisan' bakeries have no idea how to make decent bread. Its depressing to see how good bread can be when I take trips to see family/work in continental Europe.

  • It can still technically be considered organic. Finally a solution to buying certified organic sandwich bread and having it go bad after 2 days.

  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:34AM (#42166699) Homepage
    Okay, it resists mould, but does the bread resist going stale and hard?
  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @04:50AM (#42166773)
    ... 60-day old bread sounds worse than the usual pre-sliced white (Wonder) bread that you guys usually eat :(
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:25AM (#42166907)

      I miss BrÃtchen. Particularly with a Rindswurst and slathered in mustard.

      Or with Nutella and coffee for breakfast.

    • by macraig ( 621737 )

      You make it sound as if possessing fresh mass-produced bread suddenly makes it any less insipid. It doesn't. Tasteless bread is still tasteless bread regardless how fresh it is. I never liked bread until the first time I baked my own. Even the fresh bread from supermarket bakeries is terrible. The attention to detail is absent and the ingredients and process are inferior to reduce expenses. Mass production of food just never ends well in general. The vegetables I eat now neither taste as good as thos

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      For the moment at least, the only Americans still eating Wonder Bread are those who had the foresight to stock up and freeze it [wikipedia.org].

  • Figure out a way to make one of those fumigation tents into a microwave blocker, and blast the inside of houses with it.
  • Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jampola ( 1994582 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:03AM (#42166821)
    Purchase 40% less food. Duh!
  • I like my bread freshly baked either from my local baker (first choice) or from my trusty bread machine. I have no interest in old, crappy preservative riddled, chemical crap in my food thank you very much. Maybe useful for astronauts or arctic explorers etc. but this is exactly the sort of thing that is simply not needed.

    Not to mention the fact that a bit of bread mould is good for you !

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:51AM (#42166985) Homepage

    I buy 1/2 sized loaves and freeze them, these loaves are sold in a breathable wrapping. I take them out a few hours before I need them (or pop in the microwave if I am in a rush). I don't buy bread that is wrapped up in a plastic bag - such bread is generally tasteless mush.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:52AM (#42166987)

    What's the big deal here?

    McDonalds has figured out how to make an entire hamburger, including the bun, last for 20 years [youtube.com] without molding.

    • by Zouden ( 232738 )

      Why would they do that when the burgers are prepared frozen and cooked on the spot?

      • They don't. McDonalds never successfully developed any method to make their cooked products imperishable. The reason the McDonalds standard burger can "last" for so long is, first, the dehydration due to the frying process and, second, the huge amount of salt they use. If you read reports on this subject you will notice it's always the basic 1 dollar burger, not the moister double cheese burgers, BigMacs, quarter pounders, etc..(Dammit I got hungry). Also just because it's not visible rotten, it doesn't me
  • Bread actually can be frozen and taken out slice by slice when required. It remains quite fresh if it's wrapped and sealed. An amazing piece of technology called a "Freezer" can do this for you at minimal expense.

    Now, if it says fresh after sixty days - then you have a breakthrough. Bread without mould after sixty days could be re-used as quite an effective mallet for woodwork.

  • If you store bread sensibly it goes stale long before it spoils?

  • Considering that nearly all commercially mass-produced bread is insipid uninviting junk made with homogenous inferior ingredients and yet consumers still buy it by the truckload, I don't think "quality feel" will be an issue at all. People who aren't super-tasters won't even notice the difference, if they're willing to eat the junk that is mass-produced now.

  • If the process kills all mold spores and this is repeated again and again, doesn't that imply that if this becomes widespread practice that nature will develop super mold that can survive this process?

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.