* Prices may differ from that shown
*Another one just for you, Dooyooers. Don't think for one second that I'm not tallulahbang, though, because I am.*
If asked what the greatest tragedies of recent times are, I'm pretty sure your top five would encompass the calamity that is fresh bread going stale a mere day or so after purchase. Sure, you might mention Tiananmen Square or the various massacres and genocides for which the 20th century will be remembered, but I think we've all personally experienced the heartbreak that only musty baked goods can bring. Imagine: you buy a tiger loaf; you get it home, hands shaking with excitement about the prospect of eating bread made from Panthera tigris, and you gobble a slice (with lemon curd on top, preferably). Then you have another slice. Then another. Then you start to feel slightly uncomfortable and your tummy gurgles in protest. You realise that you're not going to be able to trough the entire loaf in one go. So you wrap it in the perforated plastic it came in and set it aside for the next day. Time passes and a new day dawns. Full of the anticipation of baked pleasures, you skip to the kitchen. And what are you greeted with? The bread equivalent of a brick, that's what. You've just paid a whole 80 pee for your three slices of bread. Now, you're probably not poor or anything, but that's not very much bread for your brass.
And here is where Lakeland steps in. Lakeland feels your bread-based pain and wants to help. And the gadgety thing they offer really does work.
~*~What is it?~*~
I'll tell you, shall I? It's a bag that you put bread in. Lakeland, with that cunning marketing nous for which they have become renowned, have called it 'the bread bag'.
~*~What's it made of?~*~
Magic. And a plastic liner surrounded by a white cotton bag, also. On the front of the bag is emblazoned the legend: 'Fresh Bread Keeper: the home for fresh bread' and the bag is closed by means of a drawstring.
~*~How does it work?~*~
It comes in two sizes: little enough to hold a small loaf and big enough to hold two medium sized loaves with room for a couple of bread rolls. You put your bread in and then close the bag with the drawstring. The combination of the outer cloth bag and the plastic inner bag somehow conspire to keep your bread fresh.
~*~Will the crust stay nice and crispy?~*~
Um, no. It's magic, but it's not *that* magic. The bread will stay squashy and taste lovely, but the crust will also become soft. If crunchiness is an important factor for you, though, it can always be restored by removing the bread from the bag and popping it in the oven at a low heat for a few minutes.
~*~How long will the bread stay fresh?~*~
Between 5 -10 days, depending on the ambient temperature and how tightly you've tied the drawstring. As good as the bag is, you do not create a spore-defying vacuum once you close it, so bread will go blue-mouldy eventually. This is the one thing that lets an otherwise great idea down: the drawstring simply doesn't create an effective seal. Thus, if you haven't pulled it completely tight, air will circulate in the bag and mould will form. Once the mould spores are in the bag it will need to be put through the wash before you put a fresh loaf in there.
~*~Is it washable?~*~
Yes. It'll quite happily go through a normal machine was at 40 degrees or less. Don't tumble dry it, though: the plastic inner bag won't withstand the high temperature.
~*~Can it be used to put other stuff in?~*~
Depends what you've got in mind, I s'pose. If, for example, you're thinking that it's the optimum way to transport a transplant organ, then I rather feel I've lost you somewhere during the course of the review. If, though, you're giving serious consideration to using it as a rather fetching handbag, well, you'll look like you're out on day release, but by all means crack on.
Probably best, on balance, to stick to bread. If you do yearn for alternative storage options for your cheese, mushrooms, onions or potatoes, Lakeland sell bags for all of those, too.
~*~Is it worth buying?~*~
If you live on your own/don't eat a lot of bread but like the taste of a fresh-baked loaf then this could be ideal. The drawstring does let the product down rather, but it's still the best thing I've found for stopping bread from going stale.
~*~How does the prospective purchaser acquire one?~*~
Go to Lakeland and exchange ten of your pounds for one. They'll give you two pounds and one penny change. Everyone's a winner.