Atlas Obscura just added an interesting new section on strange and wondrous foods, like salt-rising bread leavened with bacteria that cause gas gangene.
Gregory Juckett led researchers who figured out the active ingredients in this traditional Appalachian bread made much like a sourdough bread starter:
The "rising agent" has been identified as Clostridium perfringens, not salt, and is presumably derived from the environment. Although no cases of illness have been attributed to SRB, C. perfringens type A is a common cause of food poisoning from meats and gravies. Other C. perfringens isolates may cause enteritis necroticans (pig-bel disease) and gas gangrene. Past research documents that pathogenic strains derived from wounds may be used to produce bread and that bacteria isolated from this bread retain their pathogenicity. SRB starter samples were cultured at the University of Pittsburgh and abundant C. perfringens, type A grew out of all samples.
• Salt-rising bread (Gastro Obscura)
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