9 Strange Breads

Weird Breads

1. Forget frappuccinos because this Houston bakery is making unicorn sweet bread

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The Unicorn Frappuccino, with its swirl of purple, blue and pink, is now a thing of the past. But Houston's El Bolillo Bakery is putting its own sweet spin on the craze.

The popular panaderia, which includes locations on S. Wayside and Airline, has introduced pink, blue and purple pan dulce -- or sweet bread -- to its already impressive array of confections. And they can barely keep it on the shelves.

Photos of the frap-inspired baked goods popped up on El Bolillo's Instagram and Facebook pages Tuesday night and quickly racked up thousands of likes and shares. A few simple videos earned more than 250,000 views in a matter of hours.

"It was going crazy. And they weren't out the oven yet. Customers were calling, 'When are they ready?' They started coming in and lining up," says Brian Alvarado, manager at the S. Wayside store.

"This is one of the biggest projects that we've ever done, and we've just had as much fun as possible. It's also going up against the tradition of having the same thing for 20 years. It changes it up a little bit."

Alvarado says they've been in nonstop production on uniconchas, unicuernos, or horns and unicorn tres leches cakes. He estimates they've gone through 500 pounds of flour since Tuesday.

The sweet treats are made with individually colored sugar crusted on marbled dough or by placing the colored sugar on by hand before baking. Each color has its own flavor, including raspberry, strawberry, piña colada and bubblegum.

So every bite is its own surprise.

"They do take a lot more time. We have to be more careful and make sure the colors don't mix too much or else it turns into a dark brown or a black. We don't wanna do that," Alvarado says.

The conchas and cuernitos are 60-cents each. The cakes go for $30. And they're considering other unicorn goodies, too.

El Bolillo has been getting large orders for 20, 40, even 60 conchas at a time. The S. Wayside store was bustling with people Thursday evening. And almost every self-serve platter included several uniconchas.

"If it stays popular long enough, we'll definitely keep it coming," Alvarado says. "If the customer asks for it, we have nothing else to do but to make it."

A new El Bolillo Bakery is scheduled to open in May at Southmore and Pasadena Boulevard.


2. Is this the world's most expensive bread? Glittering loaf goes on sale at family bakery in Spain ... made with 250mg of GOLD dust


A Spanish bakery is selling what it claims to be the world's most expensive bread at £93 a loaf.

Each 400g (14oz) bread made at the Pan Piña bakery contains wholewheat flour, spelt and dehydrated honey.

But what makes this otherwise ordinary loaf extra special? It is also given a 250mg sprinkling of one key extra ingredient: gold dust.

The gold leaf bread costs €117 (£93) and is exported to buyers around the world.

It is especially popular in the Costa del Sol region, Russia and Middle Eastern countries, says Juan Manuel Moreno, 41, baker and co-owner at Pan Piña.

Moreno's family has been running the bakery in the small village of Algatocin, Malaga Province, Andalusia, for 70 years.

Today, Moreno produces more than 50 types of bread in his shop.

The gold loaf is his most expensive and incorporates edible gold both inside and outside of the bread.

The gold in each loaf has a value of £79, he says, and while he confesses the glitz adds no extra flavour, it does leave buyers with a taste of 'exclusivity' and 'glamour'.

Speaking at the Malaga bread fair food festival, Moreno explained: 'The gold itself has no real taste. It just adds a certain sparkle, a lustre to each loaf.

'The rest of the ingredients are organic and super healthy. People believe small amounts of gold are good for the digestion.'

He added: 'We have a lot of wealthy visitors from Russia and China here and they are always looking for something new to show how rich they are.'

Moreno told Spain's ABC newspaper he came up with the idea after seeing the 'world's most expensive coffee' on sale at another business in the region.

He says Arab, Russian and Chinese buyers based on the Costa de Sol have shown the most interest in the bread.

However, a national supermarket chain is set to start selling the product while a restaurant in Ronda has expressed an interest.


3. Make Rey’s bread from The Force Awakens for your afternoon snack

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In under five minutes you too can make the weird, greenish, cupcake thing and feel like a starving scavenger on the desolate desert planet of Jakku —€” no begging or bartering required! The recipe comes from Jenn Fujikawa at StarWars.

Who doesn't want to eat like their new favorite Jedi? Kirsten, The Verge's esteemed social video reporter, raves "it wasn't awesome" and "it smelled really good, but it was not my favorite thing I ever put in my mouth."

The bread from the movie wasn't CGI, it was a practical effect. The visual effects artists who worked on the film told MTV that it took three months to figure out the mechanics of the bread. The crew used vacuums to remove the water and puff up the bread simultaneously, but also spent countless hours designing its unique aesthetic. We, on the other hand, entertained ourselves by driving BB-8 off a table a couple of times while we cooked the bread in the microwave for 15 seconds.

If you're chill with eating a sad cupcake, this might be the closest you'll find yourself to Jakku, and you don't even have to collect old empire space junk or master the art of special effects to get it.


4. Body Part Bread – Sold at a bakery in Thailand

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Artist Kittiwat Unarrom‘s father owns a bakery in Ratchaburi. To attract attention for the business he creates some of the world’s more unusual breads! All of Kittiwat’s creations are of human parts of the body in various stages of, shall we say, disrepair! The results are unnervingly realistic with eyes, lips and other details constructed out of cashews, raisins and the like. A lack of hair and blood-like glazes make the work all the more creepy.

Sold at his family’s bakery, Thailand, he displays the parts wrapped like food in plastic and hung from meat hooks. Apparently, the art is in fact edible and tastes like regular bread.

Kittiwat says that the bread heads are not designed for human consumption, but mainly to place in the window of the bakery to attract attention. The shop is in a small town in Thailand about 65 miles east of Bangcock.
It’s not just head. You can buy a wide assortment of parts to, we suppose, temporarily decorate your home.


5. Bread in a can is totally weird, but you should definitely try it

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Everyone has a weird food from their childhood they just can't let go of. For some, it's a novelty cereal (Rice Krispies Treats cereal 4eva!). For others, it's processed American cheese slices (Velveeta nachos, anyone?). But me? I'll take brown bread in a can any day — with or without raisins, because I'm wild like that.

It's known as Boston brown bread, though the only kind I ever ate was made by B & M Baked Beans in Maine, and we always called it "bread in a can." It's a super-dense, dark brown bread made with wheat and rye flour. It's lightly spiced, moist thanks to buttermilk and sweetened with rich, dark molasses. Sometimes it has raisins, always it's marked with rings from the can, like that love-it-or-hate-it cranberry sauce.

Bread in a can is similar to an English pudding in that it's steamed instead of baked like a traditional bread. Apparently the tradition comes from the Pilgrims, who made baked beans and steamed brown bread in brick ovens on Saturdays. The food would be left in the oven overnight, still warm enough to enjoy on Sunday mornings after church, when cooking was prohibited.

Whatever its history, the childhood food I dream about most (aside from my mom's kale soup, of course) is a thick slice of buttered brown bread from a can.

Never mind that I'm a food writer who's supposed to be on the cutting edge of the latest culinary trends — there's something about this old-timey, shelf-stable brown bread that I just can't shake despite all the negative connotations that come with cans.

Got canned? You're fired. On the can? Taking a dump. Canned humor? Tired, rote. Canned meat? Just wrong (no matter what the Spam ad I've recently been served approximately 1,000 times a day on Hulu tries to tell me).

But canned bread is different. Imagine being a kid on a snowy January day in New England. You play all afternoon, building snow forts and sucking on icicles, then come inside when the sun has set, your fingers pink and numb from the cold. On the table? A humble but hearty classic New England meal: hot dogs, maple and brown sugar baked beans and two perfectly round slices of B & M brown bread. Lightly toasted, spread with sweet cream butter and steaming hot, canned brown bread was enough to erase all thoughts of hot chocolate from my mind... for a little while, anyway.

Best of all, the next morning there was sure to be a few slices left over, the perfect breakfast to warm me up for another day of snowball fights or, in the summer, the fuel I needed to successfully bound and crash into the waves at the local beach without actually drowning.

These days I live in California, and canned brown bread is hard to find. And even though I make almost everything from scratch, including regular sandwich bread, I've never tried making bread in a can at home. Maybe I'm afraid it won't live up to the real thing — or afraid that the real thing isn't all it's made out to be in my memories. But either way, when I'm feeling nostalgic and missing home, brown bread in a can is never far from my mind.


6. Preserved loaf of bread discovered at Pompeii

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This is the ultimate piece of toast: a loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud.

I can’t get over how well it maintained its shape and texture, through both the volcano eruption and the ravages of time. It’s a very unsettling tribute to the normalcy of day-to-day life leading up to the catastrophic event: a (sort of) edible memento mori.


7. Edible bugs and insects: Are these high protein critters the future of food?

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Think eating bugs is gross? Think again. A new generation of chefs, farmers, sustainability experts, and adventure eaters is embracing entomophagy (insect-eating). Fitness enthusiasts might be the next group to jump on the buggy bandwagon. Krista Scott-Dixon explores why.


8. Italy Reconsiders Activated Charcoal–Colored “Black Bread”

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Activated charcoal continues to gain popularity for its ability to turn just about any food jet-black while also boasting purported health benefits, such as drawing toxins out of the body, quelling gastrointestinal distress and alleviating a hangover. A popular culinary additive in Korea, Taiwan and Japan, it can even be baked into “black velvet” cake and serves as a blackening agent in Burger King Japan’s Kuro Burger (the cheese and ketchup also sport a jet-black hue, thanks to charcoal).

Unfortunately for bakers in Europe looking to cash in on the fad, activated charcoal counts as food coloring — in this case, E153 Carbon Black — the addition of which is banned in baked goods under EU law. The European Food Safety Authority doesn’t buy charcoal’s alleged bloating-reducing properties, and the Italian Ministry of Health is cracking down on bakeries selling charcoal-infused bread marketed as tummy friendly (our words, not theirs). That’s right, amici, until good, solid science backs the benefits of the black stuff, don’t try using it to sell more ciabatta. If it contains activated charcoal, it’s not real bread.


9. Weirdest collaboration ever? Convenience store + menstruation website = pink bread

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Japanese marketers love a good crossover product. We recently covered the very strange Mountain Dew-corn chip mashup, a Pizza Hut-Evangelion pairing, and any number of Hello Kitty crosses. But even weirdness-loving Japanese may be put off by news of the latest crossover collaboration between Circle K-Sunkus convenience stores and menstruation-tracking website Luna Luna: a pink steamed bun.

The bun, which will retail at 116 yen (about US$1.10), is called the Luna Luna Strawberry Cream Milk Bun and will be on sale from the January 14. The pink dough is stamped with the Luna Luna rabbit mascot and filled with strawberry and soy-milk cream.

Maybe it’s just me, as the last thing I want to be reminded of when putting something warm and pink in my mouth is my period, but marketers apparently thought this item would be popular among women…

The bun additionally comes wrapped in paper with bits of female wisdom collected from Luna Luna users. These include pearls like, “When your friend’s boyfriend isn’t that attractive, say he looks really kind” and “Don’t say ‘Let’s grab a bite sometime’ unless you really mean it.”

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering why you would need a service such as Luna Luna, tracking your individual cycle can help you know the best times to get pregnant.

In the interest of gender balance, perhaps I can suggest a crossover product for men: sperm-count-boosting yogurt drinks! Call me, Circle K.


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