Scientists at Imperial College London have revealed a breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize the bakery industry: they have successfully produced in vivo loaves of bread with the help of a cow.
Bread, along with muffins, bagels and so on, is normally produced by baking dough at high temperatures, made from the ground kernels of wheat, rye or other grains – a process that destroys the plant and requires little animal suffering beyond chewing up mice too stupid to get out of a combine harvester’s way. This new method involves coaxing the muscles of a cow to produce a scaffold of carbohydrates with air bubbles instead of muscle fibres, resulting in completely non-functional but stodgy and filling muscles that can be sliced and filled with the meat from an unmodified cow.
The harvested ‘flesh’ is ready to eat from slaughter: doing away with the necessity for bakery ovens, as well as streamlining the production of different food groups: a cow can be modified to grow bread on its rump but real muscle elsewhere. Beyond its practical applications, the market is enormous: following the recent consumption of a burger made from stem cells, a survey showed that up to 20% of Brits wanted a burger where more of its components required killing several large animals. Other potential target markets include vegans whose reasoning has become so convoluted to wanting to eliminate the suffering of plants, and those on keto diets, who will welcome the loophole in carb abstention that it offers. One such dieter commented in a questionnaire: ‘I literally want to have my cake and eat it.’
Despite the massive strides, the research leader is humble about their achievements: “So far, we’ve only gotten the cows to make bread, but we are hoping to crack pastry in five years and differentiated production within the muscle in ten, so we can realise our dream of an animal-sized Beef Wellington.”