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Bread in Cans

Yes, it's true, you can get canned bread, bread in tins. Or at least you could! This special bread in cans is gluten-free, made for coeliacs, but it's edible by folks in general. As well as the obvious advantage of being gluten-free and so being edible for those on a special gluten-free diet, bread in cans has another very notable advantage: It has a very good shelf-life.

Whereas normal wheaty bread from a baker's shop or bought in plastic from a supermarket ("plastic bread"), will keep a few days and then go stale, dry, or even mouldy,Bread in a Can canned bread will keep for years. It may have an official best-before date of a couple of years hence, but in practice I have found that bread sealed in its tins is still good even eight years past the best before date has expired.

The exceptionally long shelf life of bread in tins has a survivalist aspect to it. You could stockpile it and survive with edible bread even though bread is normally a very transient and perishable commodity.

Admittedly gluten-free bread of any type is an acquired taste, and some people can't abide it. It's quite different to the air-filled blown-up wheaty stuff which has that smell which attracts customers for a considerable distance around. Canned bread has a particularly spongy feel to it, almost like cake, and has a distinct smell.

When you open a can of bread, with a can-opener, you should microwave the bread for a minute or so to revitalise it. Otherwise it's a dried up item which isn't particularly good. After having revitalised the bread, it's possible to toast it, or to use it in a variety of ways as with usual bread.

Gluten-free bread is always more expensive than normal bread. Having it in a can makes it slightly more expensive, but this isn't the major cost it might seem. Remember, economy supermarket baked beans also comes in cans, and that's on sale for remarkably cheap prices, and as that must include the cost of making the can, then it's a fact that canning isn't expensive!

So, what's happened to gluten-free canned bread? Why can't you get cans of gluten-free bread anymore? I have asked about this, and apparently the answer is... "because it's thought to be old-fashioned". That has to be one of the weakest of excuses around. It sounds like one of those silly marketing agency things where they redesign the logo and charge the company a fortune and claim it's going to do a lot of good. Sometimes the excuse is expressed in a proxy form, for example "it's because our customers think it's old-fashioned". Well, I could say "I thought the customers had more sense!", but really, I don't think it's got anything to do with what the customers really think. It's got more to do with the way some snazzy marketing agency has asked the questions. For example, if a survey was done where people were asked "do you think the company ought to have a more modern go-ahead image?", and "would you rather eat fresh food than having to go to the trouble of opening a tin can?", then the answers would be predictably how they might be expected. Hence, statistical results of the form "8 out of 10 cats" etc!

Another theory for the loss of bread in cans could be that the manufacturers have had a change of emphasis to make gluten-free bread "more like normal bread". Now that's all very fine and dandy, but it's worth considering the fact that "roast en flavoured crisps" originally didn't taste much like roast chicken, and when the technology advanced so that crisps could be made to taste like actual roast chicken they were not a success! Folks preferred the taste of "roast chicken flavoured crisps" which is distinct from roast chicken. Also, gluten-free bread is actually a higher quality product than normal bread, so it shouldn't aim to mimic its cheap relation.

Well I think that canned bread should be brought back! Not just for coeliacs, but for people who have a "siege mentality". Canned bread is a good product, and it would be nice if it was available, regardless of whether it's "old fashioned"! Regarding personal taste, canned bread is something worth trying to see if you like it. If enough of us like it, manufacturers might be persuaded to start mass-producing it again.

Incidentally, from an environmental perspective, TIN CANS are made of recyclable steel, and that's always been recyclable. In contrast, plastic wrappers are more of a problem.