Go read about how the original Xbox creator baked ancient Egyptian-style bread with 4,000-year-old yeast

With more people at home facing endless hours due to self-quarantine and social distance, there has been a wave of show-and-tell home baking on the internet in recent days. But it is safe to say that no one has baked bread like Seamus Blackley, who has finally reached his goal of recreating ancient Egyptian bread with yeast grown from samples more than 4,000 years old and traditional tools and techniques that date time period.

The thread is actually a culmination of Blackley’s years of effort to bake bread with yeast grown from samples obtained from ancient pottery, as their porous structures have helped preserve some of the original microorganisms. (Blackley is better known as one of the makers of the original Xbox and the man behind the infamous “Duke” controller when he’s not trying to recreate old breads.)

As Blackley explains on Twitter, during the most recent development in the project, the team saw a custom conical clay pot called a “bedja” to bake the bread outside in a series of fire pits, resulting in what is probably the most authentic ancient Egyptian bread has been baked in thousands of years. An extra thread from Serena Love, the Egyptologist working with Blackley on the project, explains why the experiment is so important and how archaeologists even found out how ancient Egyptians baked in the first place.

The whole journey is worth reading, starting with Blackley’s original thread from last July In which he describes the process in which he, Love, and Richard Bowman (the microbiologist who also worked on the project) have worked together to taste and bring the yeast to life. A subsequent thread in August will indicate when Blackley baked with it For the first time.

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