Crumb-free 'space bread' in the offing

Crumb-free 'space bread' in the offing

Crumb-free 'space bread' in the offing
Scientists are developing a new process of baking crumb-free bread in space that will allow astronauts to enjoy fresh sandwiches aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Bread, although a staple food on Earth, can be life threatening in space as the crumbs fly in the microgravity and could get into the eyes of the astronauts or into the electrical panels, where they can start a fire.

Researchers including those from German Aerospace Centre are trying to develop a dough mixture and baking process that produces a crumb-free bread. The hardest part is coming up with the right texture, they said. Bread that is tough and chewy would not produce crumbs but it is also unpalatable.

Researchers are trying to adapt a convection oven to the constraints of the ISS.

Since electricity is limited, the oven must work on just 250 watts – a tenth of the power used by a standard oven on Earth - and exterior surfaces cannot exceed 45 degree Celsius, 'Newscientist' reported.
Researchers will test various approaches on board the ISS during the European Space Agency's Horizon mission in April next year.

The team plans to control the entire baking process from the ground via video feeds from inside the oven. To see how microgravity affects a finished loaf, initial batches will also use dough pre-baked on Earth. They also plan to experiment with sourdough, creating starters – fermented batter-like dough for sourdough bread – in space.

"The comforts of home, like the smell of fresh baked bread, could energise astronauts physically and psychologically," said Jennifer Levasseur from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the US.

"As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch," said Sebastian Marcu, founder of Bake In Space, the German company behind the project.
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