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Scientists trying to create space bread

Scientists are working on a crumb-free bread that can be eaten in space.

The team at Bake In Space have been perfecting a dough, which can be cooked in space to give astronauts a chance to eat freshly made bread, as a traditional bread just turns into crumbs when there is no gravity.

Explaining their mission, they said on their website: "In order to improve astronauts' well being on long-duration missions such as on a Moon base or on Mars, food plays an essential key role. Besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor. It is a symbol of recreational time and procedure down on Earth.

"The goal of our experiment is to produce freshly made bread aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in micro-gravity. The specimen will be the typical weekend German bread roll. We are working to produce a bread machine that will be capable of baking bread rolls and a dough mixture that will be suitable for the space environment."

Whilst Sebastian Marcu, founder of Bake In Space, added: "As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch."

The team at Bake In Space are working with those at the German Aerospace Centre and a number of food scientists to create a mixture which will not crumb when cooked and equally not be too chewy.

Florian Stukenborg at ttz Bremerhaven in Germany, who is in charge of creating the dough, shared: "This is the biggest challenge."

Marcu and his team are also working with OHB System AG to create an oven that could cook the bread but still only run on 250 watts, the maximum allowed in the International Space Station. There is also the constraints of the exterior surfaces of the oven, which cannot be more than 45°C.

OHB System AG's Matthias Boehme said: "The solution is an oven with a small volume that retains heat well."

They are also exploring the possibility of vacuum baking, which works by sealing pressure inside an oven and lowering it, helping it to bake the bread.

Boehme added to the New Scientist: "According to our baking experts, the process would also make bread rolls more fluffy."

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