If you found 4,500 year old yeast in some dank Egyptian pottery, what would your first thought be? Apparently, the correct answer is, “I want to put this in my mouth and eat it. My body is a temple. I enjoy being cursed.”
That’s exactly what physicist Seamus Blackley did last week, cooking and eating this deeply horrifying bread before declaring it, “delicious”.
This perplexing yeast was scraped from the insides of ancient ceramic pottery that resided in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with the aim of tasting them ancient Egyptian goods.
The team of Blackley, Egyptologist Serena Love and microbiologist Richard Bowman wanted to send a definitive message to everyone — to get that bread.
Blackley chose to retain one of the samples for the opportunity of a lifetime — to bake the forbidden bread and become as unto god.
Using careful technique, UV sterilizers, autoclaved tools and containers, and sterilized, freshly milled Barley and Einkorn flour, I awoke and fed the sample organisms. Although this sample surely contains contaminants, it also likely contains actual ancient yeast strains. pic.twitter.com/hJQ8M2U2yS— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) August 5, 2019
These “actual ancient yeast strains” were nurtured and fed like a needy child for a week before Blackley went about mixing his accursed brew.
The dough formed was meant to use identical (or as close to identical as possible) ingredients, and upon beginning his ill-fated task, the ingredients formed an aroma described as “unlike anything [he’d] ever experienced.” Which is definitely something you want to say right before you put a 4,500 year old, strange-smelling substance into your body.
And here is the result. The scoring is the Hieroglyph representing the “T” sound (Gardiner X1) which is a loaf of bread. The aroma is AMAZING and NEW. It’s much sweeter and more rich than the sourdough we are used to. It’s a big difference. After this cools we will taste! pic.twitter.com/sYCJ8uP1oj— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) August 5, 2019
Once baked, he’d unleashed the full force of ancient Egyptian godly wrath in loaf form. The bread was new, it was amazing and the world was immediately doomed as it emerged. Gaze upon it and despair.
The world-ending bread, it turned out, was light and airy, with an incredible aroma and flavour. Bread nerds around the world rejoiced at the emergence of their new overlord. But at what cost?
Days after the bread lord manifested on Earth, Blackley tweeted this worrying update:
Update: My wife is decimating the Egyptian bread. I believe she is actually Sekhmet. pic.twitter.com/aGqjKuTjrb— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) August 7, 2019
Could it be that the bread, once imbibed, enables the souls of Egyptian warrior goddesses to possess the bodies of mere mortals?
I’m no expert, but I’m fairly certain this is the exact plot of 2017 rendition of The Mummy, a film I watched as a joke, but thoroughly enjoyed.
Seamus, I have one piece of advice. If you see Tom Cruise approaching you at speed — run.