Ancient Yeast From 4,500 Years Ago Used by Local Scientist to Make Bread
BOSTON – Seamus Blackley is a well-known physicist who did his learnings at Tufts University in Medford. After his education, Blackley's made an about-face and turned his talents toward the creation of the device we now call the Xbox. Those who run in video game circles will know Blackley as the man who pioneered a monumental change in the course of video game history, as the Xbox was a seminal creation.
But Blackley definitely seems to be a Renaissance man, with interests varied enough to lead him down rabbit holes of Xbox development and, now, the use of 4,500-year-old yeast to make sourdough bread that is actually edible.
Let me back up. It all began when Blackley traveled to Boston and Cambridge, MA to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology from Harvard University. From there, he worked with Australian Egyptologist Dr. Serena Love and microbiologist Richard Bowman to collect artifacts of pottery from ancient Egypt. By extracting elements from this pottery, Blackley retrieved a good amount of yeast that clocked in at 4,500 years old. Talk about moldy bread.
But then, Blackley got out his baker's cap. He decided to use this 4,500 year old yeast to bake a loaf of sourdough bread. And eat it! The entire Twitter thread gives you Blackley's whole story and line of thinking as he engaged in this process.
He wanted to try baking bread from ancient yeast because, according to his studies, modern yeast is bio-engineered and has deviated from what yeast and bread are supposed to taste like. Upon actually baking this loaf, Blackley tried it, willingly sampling the aged yeasty bread. And he said the aroma and taste was incredibly sweet, compared to modern versions of yeast-turned-bread. He also charmingly stamped a hieroglyph that resembles a loaf of bread into his concoction.
It is a very unique creation, but when you help develop the Xbox, I guess you should be known for thinking 'outside the box'.