One man who is head-over-heels in love with baking is Seamus Blackley, a scientist who used 4,500-year-old yeast to bake a loaf of bread. That’s as cool as it looks delicious! It seems like doing this project was one of the happiest moments in the scientist’s entire life. Fun fact: Blackley is known far and wide as the father of the Xbox. From baking to consoles, talk about the 21st century’s Leonardo da Vinci.
Blackley posted on Twitter how he, together with a pair of scientists (an Egyptologist and a microbiologist), collected yeast from 4,500-year-old Egyptian pottery. They took samples from containers they suspected were used for bread-making and beer-brewing in Ancient Egypt. Blackley kept a single sample of the antique yeast and used milled barley, as well as Einkorn flour to ‘awaken’ the yeast. After a week’s worth of patient waiting, the scientist was ready to start baking!
The father of the Xbox tried to use the same ingredients that Ancient Egyptians would have used for bread-baking and described the smell of the 4,500-year-old yeast, and the bread as something different from what we’re used to: “The crumb is light and airy, especially for a 100% ancient grain loaf. The aroma and flavor are incredible. I’m emotional. It’s really different, and you can easily tell even if you’re not a bread nerd. This is incredibly exciting, and I’m so amazed that it worked.”
Blackley’s gastronomic excitement is understandable. Scientists have been experimenting with ancient food cultures for quite some time now. For example, in May 2019, scientists from Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem brewed beer from 5,000-year-old yeast, found on pottery shards that were used as beer jugs in times barely-remembered.
It’s no surprise that Blackley used yeast cultures found in Ancient Egyptian pottery — it was their MVP. Egyptians loved bread, and made it their staple: people of all classes and creeds would eat bread at every meal. Would you be willing to try Blackley’s antique bread recipe? How different do you think bread with Ancient Egyptian yeast is likely to be from store-bought loaves? Let us know in the comments below, while I go get myself a baguette and some cheese.
Blackley was extremely happy his project was a success — his bread looked absolutely ravishing!