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Hobo Bread Fumes

March 22, 2000

The 1973 recipe for Hobo Bread (Culinary SOS, Feb. 23) baked in a coffee can was quite a hit, but there is a potentially serious problem. In 1973, coffee cans had removable paper labels. Today's cans have painted labels. I preheated my empty coffee cans at 350 degrees for an hour to see what would happen to the paint. After being outside most of that time, I about choked when I came back inside. I don't know whether the fumes are toxic, but I turned the oven off, the exhaust fan on, and went back outside. Whether anything toxic could be absorbed by the bread, if it is toxic, would have to be left up to the experts. Instead of cans with painted labels, I would suggest other cans with removable labels.

JACK WALSMAN

Manhattan Beach

Editor's note: While many coffee brands come in painted cans, the Times Test Kitchen used a can from Gavin~a coffee, which has a removable paper label, as does Melitta coffee.

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