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  #1  
Old 03-09-2012, 01:52 PM
Stelios Stelios is offline
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Is It Safe To Eat Mouldy Bread?

Hi all, I've just eaten a slice of bread and, when I looked at the rest of the slices in the loaf, I saw that each one had a little mouldy spot right in the middle. Presumably, the one I ate had one too, I just didn't notice it. Can eating a little bit of bread mould make me sick? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:04 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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It's not healthy because of the Aflatoxins causing cancer, but from one slice you probably won't keel over dead.
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:06 PM
Hippy Hollow Hippy Hollow is offline
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I don't think so, because I've done this way too many times to mention. I'll have a bag of onion rolls, fix me a sarnie, and as I'm finishing, look over at the bag and realize that every single one in the bag has fuzzy mold all over.

I think you'll notice if it's so widespread that it's inedible - it won't taste right. But I do what you describe at least once or twice a month. I have no idea why some bread we buy goes moldy in a few days, while other kinds can hang around for weeks no worse for wear.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:08 PM
NorthernBiker NorthernBiker is offline
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I've done it plenty of times. Cut off the moldy part and go to town. Your body is re markedly resilient. I swear most modern day humans could not survive even 100 years ago.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:12 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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Yeah, I've done that before too. I'm still here, and never got sick from it.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:19 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Health-wise, you'll be fine. But you may want to see someone about the heebie-jeebies you catch from eating mouldy bread. Just be glad they're not screaming.
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  #7  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:40 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
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Obviously, you're all talking about bread that was just barely moldy and was accidentally ingested. But what would happen if someone ate bread that was completely moldy throughout? Would they get sick?
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:49 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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What you call the moldy part is just what you can see; the actual fungus spreads much farther. That's why doctors and health professional always say that you cut it out in dry food (like hard cheese) very generously, but in soft food like US bread or marmalade, you need to throw it all away because it's spoiled beyond the visible fuzz.

Eating a slice of bread that's fully moldy would be hard to do because it tastes terrible. (That's why I'm surprised at those who claim to do it regularly - don't you notice the fugly taste after the first bite?)
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2012, 02:51 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Here's Wikipedia about aflatoxins:

Quote:
High-level aflatoxin exposure produces an acute hepatic necrosis, resulting later in cirrhosis, and/or carcinoma of the liver. Acute hepatic failure is made manifest by hemorrhage, edema, alteration in digestion, changes to the absorption and/or metabolism of nutrients, and mental changes and/or coma.[citation needed]

No animal species is immune to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins including humans; however, adult humans have a high tolerance for aflatoxin exposure and rarely succumb to acute aflatoxicosis.[3]

Chronic, subclinical exposure does not lead to symptoms as dramatic as acute aflatoxicosis. Children, however, are particularly affected by aflatoxin exposure, which leads to stunted growth and delayed development.[4] Chronic exposure also leads to a high risk of developing liver cancer, as aflatoxin metabolite can intercalate into DNA and alkylate the bases through its epoxide moiety. This is thought to cause mutations in the p53 gene, an important gene in preventing cell cycle progression when there are DNA mutations, or signaling apoptosis. These mutations seem to affect some base pair locations more than others — for example, the third base of codon 249 of the p53 gene appears to be more susceptible to aflatoxin-mediated mutations than nearby bases.[5]

Medical research indicates that a regular diet including apiaceous vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, celery and parsley, reduces the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxin.[6]
So a high enough dosis, if you can manage to get it down, could be acutely harmful.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthernBiker View Post
I've done it plenty of times. Cut off the moldy part and go to town. Your body is re markedly resilient. I swear most modern day humans could not survive even 100 years ago.
I think the part that is moldy is not only the surface, that is just the easiest part to see. The fungus actually goes through the whole thing.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:58 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Hippy Hollow View Post
I have no idea why some bread we buy goes moldy in a few days, while other kinds can hang around for weeks no worse for wear.
Did you look at the ingredients? Does the longer-lasting bread contain "Anti-fungus" stuff?
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2012, 03:02 PM
Si Amigo Si Amigo is offline
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Of course the people who ate moldy bread and died aren't posting . . .
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2012, 03:30 PM
NorthernBiker NorthernBiker is offline
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Originally Posted by aaaa View Post
I think the part that is moldy is not only the surface, that is just the easiest part to see. The fungus actually goes through the whole thing.
You could very well be right. I doubt most people are eating a bread that is covered in mold. I have personally cut off corners of mold etc and been fine. Perhaps I've gotten lucky, or that bread is in a state of continuous mold and it's only harmful at a certain point.
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  #14  
Old 03-09-2012, 03:52 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
Here's Wikipedia about aflatoxins:



So a high enough dosis, if you can manage to get it down, could be acutely harmful.
But that's only relevant if bread mould makes aflatoxins. I never heard of bread mould producing any mycotoxin or being harmful by ingestion.
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  #15  
Old 03-09-2012, 04:25 PM
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
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Chances R

You did not notice the mold on the slice you ate. Chances are you did not have any mold. I've picked through bread and found good slices and bad ones. You found a good one. Chances are also good that we consume lots of mold that has not reached the visible state to alert us.
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  #16  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:17 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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Oh, yeah, we get lots of mold and worse from EVERYTHING.

But upthread, someone mentioned that by the time the visible mold is present, the entire loaf is contaminated. Not appetizing.

If you are allergic to penicillin, though, bread mold could cause a reaction.

And of course, it is the mold of rye bread that contains the precursor of LSD.


~VOW
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  #17  
Old 03-10-2012, 05:50 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Originally Posted by VOW View Post
If you are allergic to penicillin, though, bread mold could cause a reaction.
Bread mould doesn't make penicillin.
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  #18  
Old 03-10-2012, 07:44 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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In general, if you can see it or smell it, it probably won't make you sick. That's just basic evolution: an organism that needs to reproduce in your body won't warn you away, and one that can't get by your gastric juices will in order to keep from being destroyed.
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  #19  
Old 03-10-2012, 10:35 PM
Cheshire Human Cheshire Human is offline
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
Bread mould doesn't make penicillin.
Penicillin was first isolated from a mold grown on bread. Reproducing that is a standard middle school science project. I did it in school.
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  #20  
Old 03-11-2012, 01:48 PM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Human View Post
Penicillin was first isolated from a mold grown on bread. Reproducing that is a standard middle school science project. I did it in school.
Penicillin was first mold on a cheese sandwich. Penicillin likes cheese (which is why cheese is often Pasteurized). Pasteurized bread would be.... gooey.
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  #21  
Old 03-11-2012, 02:03 PM
Cheshire Human Cheshire Human is offline
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Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Penicillin was first mold on a cheese sandwich. Penicillin likes cheese (which is why cheese is often Pasteurized). Pasteurized bread would be.... gooey.
It still grows on bread. Bread is what we grew it on in jr. high.
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  #22  
Old 03-11-2012, 02:12 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by VOW View Post
...

And of course, it is the mold of rye bread that contains the precursor of LSD.

~VOW
And the essential addition of "sourness" to Polish white borscht and Romanion ciorba.

Mold. Yummy!
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  #23  
Old 03-11-2012, 06:28 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Human View Post
Penicillin was first isolated from a mold grown on bread. Reproducing that is a standard middle school science project. I did it in school.
I'm not arguing or disagreeing with you, just curious:
Can you give more details about the middle school experiment? I mean, you grew penicillium mold on bread, and then what?


About the allergy thing: we eat penicillium mold all the time, in cheese. Is this a problem for people who have a penicillin allergy? I thought penicillin came from a particular species of penicillium, but I could be wrong.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:57 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
I'm not arguing or disagreeing with you, just curious:
Can you give more details about the middle school experiment? I mean, you grew penicillium mold on bread, and then what?

About the allergy thing: we eat penicillium mold all the time, in cheese. Is this a problem for people who have a penicillin allergy? I thought penicillin came from a particular species of penicillium, but I could be wrong.
I'll let Cheshire answer for his class, but the version of the experiment I'm familiar with involves:
1) Growing mold on the bread and grinding it up.
2) Culturing bacteria on two (or more) petri dishes. One has just the bacterial culture added. The other has pieces of bread added.
3) Observing bacterial growth, which shows up as reduced or nonexistent in the culture with the mold additive.

The actual dose of penicillin is extremely low if you're eating cheese or bread normally. There's a reason that we take pills instead of a DIY cure... but I know that allergies can be very sensitive so you should check with a doctor.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:43 PM
Cheshire Human Cheshire Human is offline
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I'll let Cheshire answer for his class, but the version of the experiment I'm familiar with involves:
1) Growing mold on the bread and grinding it up.
2) Culturing bacteria on two (or more) petri dishes. One has just the bacterial culture added. The other has pieces of bread added.
3) Observing bacterial growth, which shows up as reduced or nonexistent in the culture with the mold additive.
Pretty close, except there was one more step 1a) Don't grind up the bread. Identify the penicillin mold on the bread, draw a sharp knife through it, then lightly slice the skin of an unpeeled orange with it. The mold then grows in the orange skin, without other species interfering, and liquid oozes out of the cut after a couple of days. The liquid is much richer in penicillin than the original bread. Proceed with step two using that.

Last edited by Cheshire Human; 03-11-2012 at 07:44 PM..
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  #26  
Old 03-12-2012, 03:30 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
In general, if you can see it or smell it, it probably won't make you sick. That's just basic evolution: an organism that needs to reproduce in your body won't warn you away, and one that can't get by your gastric juices will in order to keep from being destroyed.
Only that evolution doesn't work that way at all: Mould doesn't need humans as host, so it doesn't care what happens to them; gastric juices are geared against small amounts of bacteria, not the poision from mold; and people with sense enough don't eat mould because of the taste and sight.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:38 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
About the allergy thing: we eat penicillium mold all the time, in cheese. Is this a problem for people who have a penicillin allergy? I thought penicillin came from a particular species of penicillium, but I could be wrong.
We don't eat any penicillium mold on cheese. We eat a very specific brand that's introduced on purpose. And the producers have to make damn sure that no other mold comes along and contaminates the cheese, because then the customers get sick and can even die. Cecil explains the differences in this blue cheese column.
Quote:
The name Penicillium roqueforti sounds like penicillin because it's related to the common and useful antibiotic mold. This relation is more than just skin-deep, as blue ripened cheeses do seem to inhibit the growth of harmful (and other) bacteria, such as Clostridium and Staphylococcus.
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  #28  
Old 03-12-2012, 03:42 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
But that's only relevant if bread mould makes aflatoxins. I never heard of bread mould producing any mycotoxin or being harmful by ingestion.
"Mould" is a group name for ten thousands of different mold species. Some are beneficial like the strains used for blue cheese. Some are used to produce penicillin. Many are harmful because the produce aflatoxins.

Unless you have the equipment and willingness to do a test, you don't know if the green stuff growing on your bread is of the harmless or harmful, poisionous variety. Therefore, the recommendation of health professionals to be better safe than sorry and cut it out (hard bread) or throw it away (soft bread).

It's like bacteria: not all bacteria are harmful, but for the sake of your health you generally treat spoiled food as being dangerous, because it's not worth the effort to test it.
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  #29  
Old 03-12-2012, 06:27 AM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
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Originally Posted by VOW View Post
... it is the mold of rye bread that contains the precursor of LSD.
IPS it's rye infected with ergot that's been made into bread that contains the precursor of LSD.
IAPS no matter how moldy rye bread (that's made from grain with no ergot infection) gets, there's no amount that will induce ergotism.

CMC fnord!
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:16 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
I'm not arguing or disagreeing with you, just curious:
Can you give more details about the middle school experiment? I mean, you grew penicillium mold on bread, and then what?


About the allergy thing: we eat penicillium mold all the time, in cheese. Is this a problem for people who have a penicillin allergy? I thought penicillin came from a particular species of penicillium, but I could be wrong.

Anecdotal evidence, but my cousin, who has an allergy to penicillin, had an allergic reaction to blue cheese dressing. A google search seems to indicate that it's rare, but it does happen.
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  #31  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:24 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
And the essential addition of "sourness" to Polish white borscht and Romanion ciorba.

Mold. Yummy!
Mold is not desirable in Polish white borscht. Your rye bread shouldn't get moldy when you're doing it (and, for that matter, you don't need any rye bread at all, although it helps the fermentation along.) A little bit of mold is okay if it's white mold in making white borsht, but that's not the source of the sourness. It's lactic acid bacteria. Basically, when you make white borscht, you're making a very liquid sourdough starter. Just rye flour, oats, and water will work well. Rye bread crusts are not needed, although a lot of traditional Polish recipes use them. I don't.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:59 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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IAPS no matter how moldy rye bread (that's made from grain with no ergot infection) gets, there's no amount that will induce ergotism.

CMC fnord!
Ergot is a fungus, mold is a fungus.

Granted, ergot is a SPECIFIC fungus, but then, penicillin is also a specific fungus.

If you don't have the means to analyze the fuzzy stuff growing on your fruit, your cheese, or your bread, my rule of thumb is don't eat it!

I'd say there is a better chance the mold on the rye bread is ergot as opposed to penicillin, but I wouldn't guarantee it.

And neither would I eat it.


~VOW
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  #33  
Old 03-13-2012, 01:15 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Mold is not desirable in Polish white borscht. Your rye bread shouldn't get moldy when you're doing it (and, for that matter, you don't need any rye bread at all, although it helps the fermentation along.) A little bit of mold is okay if it's white mold in making white borsht, but that's not the source of the sourness. It's lactic acid bacteria. Basically, when you make white borscht, you're making a very liquid sourdough starter. Just rye flour, oats, and water will work well. Rye bread crusts are not needed, although a lot of traditional Polish recipes use them. I don't.
Huh. Thanks.

I've wondered: some recipes call for wheat flour fermentation, some for rye flour.

What are the differences in end result (and in application)?
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:24 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Huh. Thanks.

I've wondered: some recipes call for wheat flour fermentation, some for rye flour.

What are the differences in end result (and in application)?
Rye flour ferments easier. I'm not sure exactly what it is about rye flour, but my conjecture is that it either has more of the microorganisms on it that help spontaneous fermentation along and/or it is better "food" for these beasties. The whole idea that you're "catching the wild yeasts in the air" is a bit overstated. Most of your fermentation is due to what is already in the flour.

You can read my method to Polish sour soup here. (My name is "Binko" on that board.) As I state in there: "My father claims that żurek is always made on rye flour, while biały barszcz is made on whole wheat flour. The Polish Wikipedia page on the soup agrees that a segment of the Polish population uses this naming convention, but others say that żurek is a soured Lenten/Easter soup that's served with potatoes and eggs, while biały barszcz is sour soup that's cooked with bacon and sausage. For all practical purposes, these two names are interchangeable, and there are countless variations on the soured rye base."

ETA: I should add, that in that recipe I did use a little bit of a healthy sourdough starter to get things moving a little more quickly. You don't need to do that, and you don't need to use the rye bread, either, although it may take a little bit longer without it.

Last edited by pulykamell; 03-13-2012 at 01:27 PM..
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  #35  
Old 03-13-2012, 02:02 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Of course the people who ate moldy bread and died aren't posting . . .
Heh. How true...
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  #36  
Old 03-13-2012, 04:48 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Human View Post
Pretty close, except there was one more step 1a) Don't grind up the bread. Identify the penicillin mold on the bread, draw a sharp knife through it, then lightly slice the skin of an unpeeled orange with it. The mold then grows in the orange skin, without other species interfering, and liquid oozes out of the cut after a couple of days. The liquid is much richer in penicillin than the original bread. Proceed with step two using that.
That sounds like a poorly controlled experiment. There's no way to know whether it's the orange oil or the mould that inhibits the bacterial growth.

But it's good that you did actual experiments in science class, rather than just reading about experiments, which is mostly what we did.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:55 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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We don't eat any penicillium mold on cheese. We eat a very specific brand that's introduced on purpose. And the producers have to make damn sure that no other mold comes along and contaminates the cheese, because then the customers get sick and can even die. Cecil explains the differences in this blue cheese column.
We do eat penicillium mould on cheese (both blue-veined cheese and the fleur on cheeses like brie and camembert).

At least where I live, the typical blue-white mould that grows on bread, fruit and cheese is penicillium species. As far as I know, it is completely harmless. Not that I deliberately eat mouldy bread, fruit or cheese, but I would not be in the least concerned if I accidentally did.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:03 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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In general, if you can see it or smell it, it probably won't make you sick. That's just basic evolution: an organism that needs to reproduce in your body won't warn you away, and one that can't get by your gastric juices will in order to keep from being destroyed.
This seems like a rather odd interpretation of how evolution works. Not every substance comes with a visual warning against all possible dangerous encounters.
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  #39  
Old 03-13-2012, 08:45 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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Of course the people who ate moldy bread and died aren't posting . . .
We just need to wait a few years and bring this thread back as a zombie..then they can post.

-D/a
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:39 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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At least where I live, the typical blue-white mould that grows on bread, fruit and cheese is penicillium species. As far as I know, it is completely harmless.
I repeat the comment I made upthread: If you are ALLERGIC to penicillin, you could have a reaction if you eat mold, specifically, the penicillium mold.


~VOW
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:31 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
We don't eat any penicillium mold on cheese. We eat a very specific brand that's introduced on purpose.
I'm confused what you mean by this. Of course we eat penicillium in blue cheese, specifically P. roqueforti (among others), as your link says. Did you mean to say we don't eat "penicillin,"or penicillium molds that produce penicillin like P. chrysogenum?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:41 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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I repeat the comment I made upthread: If you are ALLERGIC to penicillin, you could have a reaction if you eat mold, specifically, the penicillium mold.


~VOW
I'd be suprised if there were enough penicillin in slightly moldy bread to produce any serious allergic reaction in even severely allergic people, but I've been wrong before. Can you demonstrate that this happens? I think eating slightly moldy bread is fairly common, so I don't think these cases should be rare.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:52 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I'd be suprised if there were enough penicillin in slightly moldy bread to produce any serious allergic reaction in even severely allergic people, but I've been wrong before. Can you demonstrate that this happens? I think eating slightly moldy bread is fairly common, so I don't think these cases should be rare.
This isn't a medical citation, so take it with a grain of salt, but this person thinks he had an anaphylactic reaction to bread mold.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:16 PM
WarmNPrickly WarmNPrickly is offline
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If what he says is true, then he certainly severely allergic. I doubt that it is the first time he's eaten moldy bread, but that's how allergies sometimes work. Clearly he is no stranger to allergies, since he had an epi pen. If the mold is genuinely what he reacted to, then mold is dangerous to severely allergic people.

I think eating slightly moldy bread is a lot more common though. As has been pointed out, by the time it actually looks moldy, there is mold all over. I don't think most people throw out bread that quickly.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:30 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
...Most of your fermentation is due to what is already in the flour.

You can read my method to Polish sour soup here. (My name is "Binko" on that board.) As I state in there: "My father claims that żurek is always made on rye flour, while biały barszcz is made on whole wheat flour.

ETA: I should add, that in that recipe I did use a little bit of a healthy sourdough starter to get things moving a little bit longer . ..
I live in a Polish neighborhood, and a deli/store sells bottled zhur.

How the hell do they stop the fermenting? I believe w/ wine they zap it with alcohol at a certain time...
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:46 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I live in a Polish neighborhood, and a deli/store sells bottled zhur.

How the hell do they stop the fermenting? I believe w/ wine they zap it with alcohol at a certain time...
Well, eventually the microorganisms run out of food, so their fermentation stops naturally.

With stuff like beer and wine, you usually just let it ferment until there's no longer any sugars left to ferment. You don't have to do anything special, and you can buy certain beers that still have live yeast in them (like many Belgian beers and some domestic ones like Sierra Nevada.) If you want to add sweetness, you usually first have to "stabilize" the wine with potassium sorbate to kill the yeast, and then you add sugar. Or you can filter out the yeast.

I'm not sure what they do for commercial żur. I would just assume either that it's pasteurized (treated with heat to kill the microorganisms) or just fermented to the point that it can't ferment any more. I just checked the ingredients on a bottle of żur I have in the fridge, and it's only rye flour, garlic, and water, so it doesn't appear to be chemically stabilized.
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  #47  
Old 03-14-2012, 10:52 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshire Human View Post
Pretty close, except there was one more step 1a) Don't grind up the bread. Identify the penicillin mold on the bread, draw a sharp knife through it, then lightly slice the skin of an unpeeled orange with it. The mold then grows in the orange skin, without other species interfering, and liquid oozes out of the cut after a couple of days. The liquid is much richer in penicillin than the original bread. Proceed with step two using that.
As has been mentioned in passing upthread, orange oil (derived from the peel) is hella anti-microbial. You can buy expensive little bottles of it to dilute as a cleaner and as a gardening aid. I'd think the oil would both kill the mold AND be the source of the oozing.

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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
In general, if you can see it or smell it, it probably won't make you sick. That's just basic evolution: an organism that needs to reproduce in your body won't warn you away, and one that can't get by your gastric juices will in order to keep from being destroyed.
OK. I'll leave this gorgeous fresh ribeye steak out on the counter for a couple of days. Once it smells horrific, you can eat it. Same with this here glass of milk, and that tuna salad sandwich. I mean, sure, they stink to high heaven and are covered with all manner of colorful growths. So, by your logic, they're fine! Enjoy!
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  #48  
Old 03-14-2012, 11:49 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
In general, if you can see it or smell it, it probably won't make you sick. That's just basic evolution: an organism that needs to reproduce in your body won't warn you away, and one that can't get by your gastric juices will in order to keep from being destroyed.
What's also basic evolution is that your sense of taste causes you to be revolted by things that are not good to eat, otherwise there would be no reason for you to evolve a sense of taste.
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