With Bake in Space – an experiment that aims to create crumb-free bread for astronauts – the German company hopes their unique recipe and oven will create a mess-free version of the goodness that everyone can enjoy without the fear of imminent death. As anything on the International Space Station, this won’t be your regular bread.
The two might have had some laughs, but when they got back home no one was laughing.
The experiment called Bake In Space is led by a group of scientists and engineers from Germany, among them former shuttle astronaut Gerhard Thiele. The scientist who’s in charge of designing the oven, Matthias Boehme, is exploring vacuum baking, which would allow the bread to rise at lower temperatures.
“The first thing we need for a sandwich is a piece of bread”.
In Houston, Texas, the space giant NASA has publicized its team of 12 astronauts to the world, who will train for the next deep space missions and into Earth orbit.
What’s more risky in space than, say, a weapon-wielding alien?
Breadcrumbs can be problematic and even start fires in a micro-gravity environment.
NASA’s early solution – after Mercury and Gemini crews smuggled deli sandwiches to space – was to pre-cut their bread into bite-size cubes and coat each in gelatin to keep any crumbs contained.
It may sound normal, but bread comes with crumbs, which may float around the space station, infiltrating the expensive and not to forget, crucial space equipment, which could be concerning. Later, during the space shuttle era and continuing to today on the space station, tortillas have taken the place of loaves as the bread-product of choice. “According to our baking experts, the process would also make bread rolls more fluffy”. The hope is the fresh bread will not only offer sustenance but psychological comfort too.
As the team explains online, “besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness. It is a symbol of recreational time and procedure down on earth”.